Here at Beatrice Humane Society we love every animal entering our shelter with our whole hearts, even if they come in with less adoptable traits. From missing eyes, to missing legs, from boring colors to less desirable breeds we love them all. We especially love it when adopters come in willing to look past an animal’s less than perfect exterior to see their more than perfect hearts and personality.
Working in a shelter we quickly become the champions of the overlooked and less adoptable animals, and who could blame us. We spend hours nursing them back to health, then more hours helping them overcome their fears and finally even more animals searching for the perfect home for them. We know that underneath the exterior of the old dog with masses dangling from her body is a young dog at heart, who is particularly fond of belly rubs and chin scritches. We know that underneath the exterior of the 3 legged black cat is a 4 legged, graceful house panther poised and ready to take on the challenges of defending his future home form paper balls, fuzzy mice and horrible window treatments that need removed by climbing. We know that with just a little time, many of the bad behavior that we see at the shelter melt away with the stress of shelter life. We know that the love from their new adopters heals wounds we always wanted to heal but could never even reach. Getting updates days, weeks or even years later makes all the hard work, long shifts and stressful times just a little more worth it!
As a no time limit shelter we are committed to helping every animal make it to adoption and that means that sometimes we have more “Less Adoptable Animals” than other shelters, but we refuse to euthanize an animal because it isn’t perfect- that’s just not a part of our no-kill mission. One of our No-Kill Rescue Partners that we work closely with posted a photo of a cat who came into their shelter matted. They did exactly what we would do, they sedated the kitty to decrease stress and shaved off the mats. While animal shelter employees wear many hats, groomer and pet hair stylist is rarely one of them, and this kitty’s hair cut probably would have been more even if it had been the 80’s and your mom was using a bowl to measure the length to cut off. Nonetheless, the kitty was better off and able to move for the first time in days. When they posted his adoption photo the comments ran the gamut from lightly poking fun at the kitty bad hair cut to berating staff for posting such “awful photos of a clearly unwell cat”. But the most amazing part of this story was the single person, who saw that photo, and looked into that cat’s eyes and knew, just knew, that it was meant to be. While his hair coat did not look great, this adopter fell in love with his spirit and tenacity to overcome even the worst hair cut. Less than one hour after posting his photo, they were able to adopt out this sweet cat and in time, we know he will thrive and be beautiful again, but in the meantime that adopter loved him on his worst of days and we should all strive to have that kind of love in our lives.
First published by Beatrice Daily Sun: https://beatricedailysun.com/opinion/columnists/adopt-a-less-adoptable-pet-week/article_0a201c08-ade6-576b-87c4-891d5f04664b.html