Are Shelter Animals “Broken”?

It’s been nearly two and a half years since I began volunteering at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), and almost a year for the Great Dog Rescue of New England (GDRNE). The idea of animal shelters had flitted across my mind growing up. I often thought that volunteering at a shelter meant nothing more than cleaning kennels and occasionally cuddling a puppy. Goodness knows, I didn’t even consider how many cats are in shelters. Small animals never even crossed my mind. Part of it was that I didn’t have any animals growing up that didn’t live in tanks, and those came from a local pet shop or from our garden. One friend had a dog that was a “buy at the side of the road” type of puppy from someone whose dog had had a litter. Another neighbor ended up adopting a dog that was super shy—at the very least “quirky.” Not exactly a great shelter example. Only one of my parents’ friends had “normal” rescue dogs (and it turns out, were fostered for GDRNE), and that seemed to be because he was an excellent dog trainer. So I understand the stigma against shelter animals, because as much as I champion for them now, I never knew what to expect growing up. Continue reading “Are Shelter Animals “Broken”?”