I know people who aren’t comfortable with adopting pets from shelters. They have good reasons, such as being uncertain about the animal’s background. Some of them even had specific negative experiences, encountering severe behavioral problems that sometimes come with shelter pets. After all, animals sometimes end up in shelters after leaving neglectful or abusive homes, and that leaves a mental mark.
I try to reassure my friends in these situations, tell them that honestly as long as they don’t buy from pet stores or puppy mills, that reputable breeders are always a positive source for pets. But I try to encourage them to reconsider rescues.
I tell them to find a shelter with a physical location so they can go and interact with the animal first. I urge them to consider a pet that’s been in foster care, so they can speak with the fosters to learn of any potential issues. Shelters want to find the perfect forever homes for their animals, so they’re not going to hide any problems; they know that’ll just result in a return, if not worse.
Still many prospective pet owners feel unsure about adopting what they view as riskier pets. That’s what prompted one Illinois rescue to introduce an unusual event: speed dating. The Chicago Tribune has the story.
Officials at the Decatur and Macon County Animal Shelter Foundation in Decatur, Illinois, wanted to find a new way to show their community just how sweet their animals could be. “Frequently, we get people in here who want a pet but are unsure what would work best for them,” Shirley Stanley, president of the foundation, said to the Chicago Tribune. “The idea is to come in here and spend some time with animals that could be their possible love matches.”
It might seem strange to some (at least it did to me) that it would require a special “speed dating” event to get interested members of the public to interact with multiple pets at a shelter. I know when I go I want to look around. But I love animals and always want to bring more into my home, and I’m not hesitant about playing with any pet that will have me. That’s not true for anyone, so a creative event like this is the perfect way to get more people in through the doors and interacting with the animals.
I know my ears certainly pricked when I heard the phrase “pet speed dating.” My first thoughts were of a dating event for animal lovers, possibly with a small entry fee to support a local rescue. You want to make sure you find a partner who will love your furry (or fishy or feathery or scaly) friend as much as you do? A pet-loving-themed speed dating event is the perfect place to do so.
However, a “speed dating” evening or afternoon to find a pet, to interact with multiple animals at a shelter and find that one with whom you just click, is wonderful. Kudos to the creative team at the D&M County Animal Shelter Foundation, this is a brilliant way to spread the word and get the public interested in your pets.
I still might have to hang on to my human animal-lovers speed dating event idea, though. Who knows, maybe it could actually work as a fun fundraiser for a rescue.