December 2nd is National Mutt Day, so we'd like to share some information about mixed breed dogs and the value of adopting! Around 70% of dogs in shelters are descendants of more than one breed. Mixed breed dogs make wonderful companions and pets, so if you're looking to add a canine to your family, it's a great idea to include mutts in your search.
Best Friends Animal Society includes the opportunity to adopt a mixed breed dog among the benefits of adopting rather than purchasing a dog. Mixed breed dogs are generally considered healthier and have a lower rate of genetic diseases typically found in particular breeds or found within closely related breeds. Dogs whose genetic background includes multiple breeds also tend to live longer. That can mean less money spent on vet bills and more time spent with your beloved dog.
Breeds and Personality
Purchasing or adopting a purebred dog doesn't guarantee that particular pet's temperament, as the personalities of individual dogs vary widely. A 2019 article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the most influential genetic area associated with behavior could account for around 15% of a dog's temperament. Individual aspects of a dog's genetic makeup come together in complex ways and, along with environment and training, have a moderate impact on behavior.
The Impact of a Dog's Training and Environment
A 2020 article published in the journal Frontiers of Veterinary Science found that breed had a smaller impact on behavior than the dog's training. A dog's previous and future owners can also have a substantial effect on their personality development. Over time, dogs' personalities change to become more similar to that of their owner, as a 2019 study published in the Journal of Research in Personality found.
Ultimately, every dog has a unique temperament, which potential adopters should consider when deciding which dog to bring home. Fortunately, shelter staff, volunteers, and fosters devote a considerable amount of time getting to know each animal. For pets who have lived in a foster home, the shelter or rescue can provide detailed information on how they behave in a home environment.
The Value of Adopting
Shelters and rescues provide a high value for adopters by administering preventative veterinary services for all animals in their care. At the time of the adoption, the shelter has invested in immunizations, deworming, and often, spay or neuter surgery. As Best Friends Animal Society pointed out, a shelter provides much more support and guidance than a pet store or backyard breeder will.
Dogs purchased from a pet store that sources from puppy mills, just like those bought from backyard breeders, are often in a state of poor health and may have parasitic infections due to the breeder or facility's failure to give them needed preventative veterinary care.
Also, if you would prefer to adopt a particular breed, shelters and rescues have plenty of purebred dogs. Many pet rescue organizations even specialize in specific breeds. Anyone aiming to adopt a purebred dog from LCHS or a similar open-admission shelter should regularly monitor the shelter's website to check for new adoptable animals, as purebred dogs tend to be adopted quickly.
Ultimately, adopting is meaningful because of each adoption's enormous impact, both on the adopted animal's future and the shelter or rescue's ability to help more pets in need. The adoption fee goes toward the care that each animal receives during its time at the shelter and enables the shelter to help more animals.
On the other hand, purchasing a dog from backyard breeders or pet stores, which overwhelmingly source from puppy mills, supports both puppies and their parents' poor treatment and contributes to pet overpopulation.
How to Adopt From LCHS
If you're interested in adopting a cat or dog, we're open on an appointment-only basis at this time. The first step of the adoption process is to fill out an adoption application at leecountyhumane.org/adopt.
After completing the application, it may take 1 to 2 days for us to approve your application, after which we will notify you of your application's status via email. You may then call us to set up an appointment to meet pets that you're interested in. If you're looking to adopt a dog, we strongly recommend that you bring in any other canine family members for the meet-and-greet just so that we can make sure that their personalities are compatible.
We also have several adoption events coming up. On December 5th, we will be at PetSmart from 11 to 4, along with several other shelters and rescue groups, for a Paws Unite Christmas event.
Ways to Get Involved
However, even if you can't adopt at this time, there are several other ways to help. Along with many shelters and nonprofit organizations worldwide, LCHS is in particularly great need of donations this year due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. With major in-person fundraisers canceled due to the pandemic, nonprofits like LCHS rely on donations more than ever so that we can continue to provide for homeless pets and match them with adopting individuals and families, for the benefit of both the animals and people.
On Giving Tuesday, which takes place on December 1st, we will kick off our No More Wasted Lives giving campaign, which aims to help us prepare for the higher rate of intakes we experience during and after the holiday season. During this time, we also hope to raise awareness of adoption to help our animals find forever homes before the holidays.
We need donations of cat and large dog toys for this year's Christmas stockings, which will go home with our animals when they're adopted. We're also seeking donations of wrapping paper, tape, gift bags, boxes, and gift bags for our upcoming gift wrapping fundraisers.
Together, we can save lives and provide happy futures for homeless pets in our local communities while also bringing joy to the adoptive families whose lives are enriched by their new canine or feline companion.