Visitors at the Monongalia County Canine Adoption Center often pass by Juggy and head straight for the puppies, but they’re missing a great dog.
Juggy, a white-and-tan hound, just a tad overweight at 45 pounds, has a sweet personality, but one major flaw: he’s 4 years old.
Animal shelters everywhere struggle to find homes for older and less-attractive animals. Because of this, on the week of April 16, PetFinder.com supports shelters by announcing Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet-Week.
“I understand how people come in here looking for young animals, but it is the older ones who really need the care,” said Dana Johnson, MCCAC supervisor.
Nevertheless, potential adopters have their reasons for wanting younger animals.
“I am looking for a puppy because I want to train it myself,” Matt Vogrin, a potential owner said during his third shelter visit.
Last week, MCCAC volunteers wrote enticing personality descriptions on cards they positioned on the older animals’ cages, and they placed bright-colored blankets with the dark-furred animals to enhance the area and catch the eye of a potential adopter.
Petfinder.com launched the first Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet-Week in 2009. The campaign helped to bring attention to the animals that are normally ignored online because of appearance, age or a condition.
Morgan, an adoptable large adult Labrador is a victim of “black dog syndrome” at MCCAC. The loving and well-trained lab is ignored because of a prejudice against his color.
“We have a good bit of animals that come in here a week, and it is sad knowing that black dogs are usually the last to be adopted,” Johnson said.
A number of less favored animals are waiting for homes and someone to love.
MCCAC is a no-kill shelter. In other shelters, however, the overpopulation problem leads to euthanasia.
According to the National Council on Pet Population, only 25 percent of dogs entering a shelter are adopted and 3 to 4 million dogs are euthanized each year.
“I have worked here for 12 years and there is nothing better than seeing one of these animals find a home,” Johnson said.