As an animal lover and shelter pet enthusiast, there's really nothing more heart warming than the story of a successful adoption.
Reading the story of Duchess, a Maine Coon Persian mix cat that waited 8 years in a shelter is downright heartbreaking.
Maybe it was the fact that she only had one eye. Maybe in the later years, it was because of her age.
Or maybe, as her length of stay increased, it was the fact that she had been there so long that people overlooked her, since no one else seemed to want her.
Length of stay among shelter pets can have a profound impact on their adoptability. Similar in some ways to human institutionalization, the longer an animal remains in a shelter, the greater the chance it will impact that animal's sociability and personality.
Some cats just never take to the environment. Others eventually become withdrawn, antisocial, and depressed. And while community cat rooms help it really depends on the individual animal.
For dogs, it's worse.
You know that feeling of sitting in your office chair, staring out the window, staring at your watch, staring. and going stir crazy?
Now imagine that feeling compounded over days.
Dogs require a lot of stimulation as well as companionship and despite the best efforts of animal welfare professionals and volunteers (and trust me, these people work their butts off) after time, even the most stalwart canines can feel the strain.
So if you're considering adopting a pet, consider talking to your adoption coordinator about those pets that have been hanging out a little longer than the others. Sure, there might be underlying issues such as special needs or behavioral preferences that might make those pets unsuitable for you-and that's okay. Your adoption coordinator will want what's best for both of you!
But if you didn't know better, you might discover that the dog who's been waiting for months or the cat who's been waiting for years is just the pet you were looking for.
As for Duchess? After all that waiting, she's finally gone home.