Katherine Schwarzenegger: It’s not true ‘that rescue animals are damaged’

I’m a little late on this but I wanted to cover it, because the story is still relevant. April 30 was Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. If you did not adopt a shelter pet on that day, you still can because every day is a good day to adopt a pet from a shelter. Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt is mom to rescue dog Maverick (and human daughters Lyla and Eloise). She teamed up with Bounty and Best Friends Animal Society for National Pet Month to cover the cost of adoption for their new pets. You know I’m a sucker for a celeb helping any kind of pets. But I appreciate Katherine’s comments on shelter pets, especially dogs, as well. She said that one of the biggest obstacles in getting them adopted is perception. People see animals in shelters as “damaged” and give up on them before they even give them the chance. But almost anyone who’s met a rescue knows, there are few things in this world more appreciative than an animal looking for a second chance.

Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt is reminding people of the amazing possibilities that come when you rescue a pet from a shelter.

“I think the biggest misconception is that rescue animals are damaged beyond repair and they are in shelters for a good reason,” Katherine, who is expecting her second child with Chris Pratt, exclusively shared with E! News. “There are so many animals that are in shelters simply because of bad luck or irresponsible pet owners, and so many of these animals, when given a second chance and the proper love and attention, they become beautiful additions to families.”

In honor of National Pet Month this May, Katherine is teaming up with Bounty and the Best Friends Animal Society to surprise new pet owners by covering their animal adoption fees.

Katherine, who rescued her dog Maverick from the streets of Santa Monica, Calif., hopes this opportunity allows families to consider helping an animal in need.

“There are always animals who have challenges, some are in shelters and others are from other places, but we should never lump them together or generalize an animal based on the life or journey they were born into,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine my life without Maverick and we can’t let these misconceptions prevent good people from adopting great dogs—dogs who have the potential to change their person’s life for the better!”

[From E!]

Katherine touches on some important points here and I’m glad she brought them up. Many people assume pets are in shelters or county services because there’s something wrong with them. However, in a number of cases, the issue is lack of patience on the former owner’s part. Giving the dog up was easier than hiring the trainer or following through with the training needed. Or the pet was simply old. In some cases, the owner couldn’t afford the pet, or had to move to an establishment that wouldn’t allow for pets. Maybe an allergy developed, especially with a new baby. And sometimes the pet was born on the street or lost. As Katherine said, some pets will have challenges, possibly some latent trauma, but almost anything can be worked out with the right direction. And there are so many fantastic trainers out there. Start at your local pet store for recommendations. They don’t have to be a celebrity to be good. If you are adopting through a rescuer, listen to the vetter during the interview. Hear what they’re asking or telling you. Remember that the organization is trying to find the best match for both you and the pet. Same with county shelters. Ask the attendants about the animals. People who work with animals want to put them in the right home for both of you.

Now, I hope to Christ Katherine has had this same discussion about giving animals a second chance with her husband.

FYI, it’s kitten season, folks. Every rescue organization and county shelter near you is filling up so if you ever considered adding a cat to your life, now is a great time to do so. I adopted Calypso last year from Harbor Center and she completed our home.

But if it’s a pup you’re looking for, we have two gorgeous girls who would love to meet you! Mila is a statuesque six-month old beauty who loves pets, playtime and looking sensational in selfies:

Her sister Ruby is a regular girl-about-town with flowing ears and legs for days… which she’s still trying to negotiate as she struts with a her own brand of joie de vivre:

Both pups are sweet, gentle and get along with other dogs.

If you’re not looking to adopt but would consider fostering, these ladies have the opportunity to fly to LA in July if they have a place to stay.

Photo credit: Instagram

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43 Responses to “Katherine Schwarzenegger: It’s not true ‘that rescue animals are damaged’”

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  1. Fuzzy Crocodile says:

    Our dog was found after being dumped along a country road by people for whatever reason. (I think he was a failed hunting dog – he runs away from loud noises). We luckily ended up with him and he is such a sweet soul that enriches our lives.

    I feel like the challenge can be that some people expect something from dogs without wanting to put in the work. They take training. And time. And attention.

    • Abby’s Mom says:

      I foster failed my baby girl, Abby, who was dumped in NC with her two babies. She was also pregnant again. she’s the love of my life and the sweetest soul I’ve ever known. I don’t think I truly understood how horrible humans are until I started following rescues.

      Also, Mila! 😍😍😍

    • harpervalleypta says:

      I foster with a beagle rescue in Florida, and we pick up beagles from throughout the southeast and find them homes here. There are a LOT of beagles in shelters in the SE because many hunter breeders don’t fix their pets. Luckily there’s a demand for beagles in Florida, so we find them homes here.

      But yeah, most of our dogs are just suffering from a sense of “what the hell is going on?” and not any kind of longterm emotional or physical damage. The fosters remind them about house training (“we do that outside!”) and see how they are around other dogs/cats/kids/people, and then find homes accordingly. Some beagles just want to be couch potatoes, while others want to have a buddy and run around the yard all day.

      And while puppies are great to play with, gimme an older dog any day.

      • pottymouth pup says:

        “throw away hounds” (mostly Coonhounds, Foxhounds & Plotthounds, but other scent hounds too) are as plentiful in southern shelters as the bull breeds. The coonies & foxhounds are basically used for a season by hunters & then let loose at the end of season because the hunters don’t want to pay to feed or provide any care to the dogs. To make matters worse, the hunters who do that will intentionally make sure that the dog is not socialized with humans so we end up getting a lot of extremely timid dogs that need to be placed w/families that have at least 1 well-socialized dog & that really understand the patience & time needed to allow the dog to open up to trust them in their own time (those families also need to understand that they should not, under any circumstances, believe or attempt any techniques recommended by Cesar Milan)

      • LizzyB says:

        This is how we ended up with our two coonhounds. They are the sweetest, most gentle dogs I’ve ever had. Amazing with kids and generally couch potatoes. But stubborn. If you want to adopt, please talk to your rescue group. Not all dogs are for all people/families. They generally know the dogs and the breeds well and can direct you toward a good fit.

    • SomeKindaWay says:

      I adopted my mountain cur / Plott hound mix about 9 years ago. The shelter thought he probably had been used as a bait puppy and thrown out. He had some issues when I got him (severe separation anxiety, fear of objects, fear of being handled), and I won’t lie- it was a lot of hard work at first. I’m glad I stuck with it, because now he is a sweet, loving cuddle bug who has never met a stranger and howls along to firetrucks.

  2. Linabear says:

    A lot of people don’t realize how poor breeding practices have led to many purebred dogs being born with physical and behavioral issues. You’re not necessarily signing up for a harder dog with a rescue.

    • Oceanic says:

      In our consumer society, we are wired to buy buy buy. Look at Lady Gaga w three of the most cruelly bred dogs, the French bulldog. It’s a status symbol, tho why smart ppl fall for this, I’ll never understand

  3. GirlOne says:

    I’ve adopted a blind rescue mutt from Russia and he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I would never consider buying a dog from a breeder. There are so many pups in shelters looking for a home.

    (I do understand that there are some circumstances where getting a puppy from a breeder is the best option for a family.)

    • Anna says:

      I have ats, not dogs, but I totally support adopting animals whenever possible. My kitties have been over 7 years with us and everyday I see how much they enjoy a warm home, they always want to be close to us and are so wonderful to our little human.

    • HelloDolly! says:

      Yes, I never would consider a breeder. Quite frankly, breeder dogs can be as maladjusted as any other animal, and I really hate these backyard breeders who commit malpractice and abuse. Our dachshund-terrier rescue dog’s manners and attitude, for example, puts our friend’s breeder dog to shame. My friend’s dog from a breeder is anxious, unstable, etc. I told my husband from the beginning that the dog has issues and honestly seems overbred–and this was before our friend had a chance to work with the dog, which doesn’t seem to be working.

  4. Ines says:

    I have a rescued racing Greyhound and she is an untroubled, happy, assertive young lady. My previous rescue, also a former racer, was pretty traumatized… a very gentle, shy soul. Greyhounds are a great bread. Really low maintenance dogs, with an incredibly soft coat, who are happy with two short walks and will spend most of the day happily sleeping. They don’t require any grooming and they never bark.

    • GirlOne says:

      Interesting, Ines. Now that you’ve said it, I have indeed never heard a greyhound bark.

    • Turtledove says:

      I had a rescue greyhound growing up. He was very timid, but eventually warmed up to us and was the sweetest dog. Devoted to my mom, followed her room to room. Super calm and low key. He *did* bark..eventually. But it was only a few times, and it happened when we were playing and got them extremely excited. That was 2.5 years into having him. And it’s not like he barked for the first time and then kept doing it. We probably heard him bark like 3 times in the decade we had him, all when he was super excited. The first time we were SHOCKED.

    • Abby's Mom says:

      My dog Abby is OBSESSED with greyhounds. I don’t know what it is, but she goes (happy) nuts when she sees a greyhound. Instant zoomies. There were two in my old neighborhood, Gordon and Gibson and she was madly in love with them both. They are great dogs.

  5. Elsa says:

    My daughter rescued our Pyrador off the highway and love her so much. Great Pyrenees are challenging dogs so they often end up in shelters or dumped.

    • HelloDolly! says:

      Yes, we rescued our Dachshund-Terrier Lily a few years ago! We love her so much that I am honestly afraid of how devastated my mom will be if something happened to her. Lily was first in a hoarder house, then in a high kill shelter, and then was scooped up by a local rescue. Lily is black and was marked as sensitive/challenging by the rescue, so she sat with the rescue for months until I saw her and applied! She has been great with us after some discipline and comfort. She has even been super safe and loving with my now toddler son–she would lay her head on my pregnant belly and now plays with him.

  6. Norman Bates' Mother says:

    I adopted a middle-aged dog and she is my world but also damaged beyond repair even according to multiple trainers. Some dogs went through so many bad things from “humans” that the only way to take care of them is to be patient and love them even when it’s hard and when there’s no progress in trying to fix them. It’s also important to make it known because if someone less patient than me, less prepared that a dog can be damaged, had adopted her, they would give her back and she would not survive it. I tried training her with a lot of professional help and strong anti-anxiety medications and many things have worked but after 3 years, she still hasn’t progressed in contact with other humans. She pees herself when she sees a stranger, she doesn’t allow anyone to visit us, she hates being anywhere but home with me and my partner – so no guests, no travel, constant fear that we will meet neighbors when trying to walk her and she will pee in the hallway which will make them mad etc.

  7. Blujfly says:

    There’s plenty of extremely well known rescues, especially those that rely on volunteers, that run around the world scooping up dogs that they have no knowledge about, take that dog from the only world they’ve known, fly them across the world, and proceed to lie about bite history, take their time turning over vaccine records, advertise and promote the dogs as great family pets based on nothing, then blame the families and spend weeks dragging their feet taking the dog somewhere else when the family cries uncle. The flight in and of itself is traumatizing. Many of these rescues also have a bought and paid for “behaviorist” with almost no credentials or experience, where every dog is “adoptable” unless the rescue itself wants to put it down, at which case the dog is unsalvagable. And the rescues, the biggest most well known owns of which are Paying their heads a couple hundred thousand a year, don’t provide the families with behavioral support or medication after the family adopts them – even though the rescues still demand you turn the dog back over to them if you can’t care for it. And almost every no kill shelter I see lies about breeds. A reputable breeder is 100% times more responsible than unfortunately the majority of “rescues” and shelters.

    • N0b0dy says:

      Thank you. I came here to say this and you said it much more eloquently than I ever could.
      Rescuing is not for everyone.
      There’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting a dog from an ethical breeder but the shame there is out of control.

      • SomeChick says:

        there are breed specific rescues.

        buying from a breeder when there are living pets who need homes languishing in shelters is ethically dodgy at best. (and even moreso depending on the breed.) if you feel shamed for it, that’s probably why.

    • Leigh says:

      While it’s absolutely true that there are bad rescues (because it’s an almost entirely unregulated industry, any inexperienced, unfunded, even unwell—ie hoarders—person can set up shop as a “rescue”) and I agree flying animals around the world is ethically concerning due to the trauma it causes, but no breeder is “reputable”. It’s all about making money off the selling of living beings, and every animal bought from a breeder is the direct death of an animal in a shelter. So yeah, people should feel guilty buying from breeders!

  8. Jessica says:

    We adopted our dog in November 2020, and he is the absolute sweetest thing. He had been adopted a few weeks before we went to the shelter by a family, but was picked up again 10 days later on the street and the family never came back for him. I know he had at least one other family before that too, because his chip had last been updated in 2019. He was completely house trained and even though we needed to do a little reactivity training, it hasn’t been bad. I know a lot of people are wary of pibbles in shelters, but he just has the best, most joyous personality. He loves people and everyone he meets says how sweet he is. It breaks my heart to think two families threw him away, all he wants is to be loved. But I guess it worked out because we absolutely adore him and he’s spoiled af.

  9. Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

    We need to talk about the increasingly ridiculous requirements and hoops these rescues make willing pet owners jump through. A house inspection? Reference letters? Just interview me and give me time with the dogs or cats to judge personality and fit. Why do you need to enter my house? Why do I need to change my gate? Why do I need to provide an individual who will watch the dog when I am away when It will be my preference to put the dog in a daycare? It’s becoming outrageous considering these are animals not humans at the end of the day.

    • likethedirection says:

      This right here!!! Every time I hear “adopt don’t shop” I think “great in theory, but have you ever tried it??” At least here in SoCal it’s absolutely insane, we tried for months and never heard back from a single application. Good luck if you’re a first-time pet owner without a fenced-in yard!!

      • Dani says:

        It’s because anyone can set up a 503 c organization and call it a “Rescue”.
        Some rescues do great work but many many of them are crazy animal hoarders who have completely lost the forest for the trees. And now, it’s all about the instagram attention to raise money. And fyi, all my pets have been directly from the animal shelter bc rescues wouldn’t even return my calls/emails. I have no shade for people who do their homework and purchase a dog from a reputable breeder.

    • Traveller says:

      I have rescued for many years. The way animals are regularly treated and regarded I believe each and every measure to protect them is more than warranted. They are neglected, abandoned, abused, used as children’s playthings, and “gotten rid of” when it becomes inconvenient.
      Nothing is perfect but I support rescue agencies doing their best to adopt out with as much care as possible to people who value them as important members of the family.

    • TBH says:

      The only family I knew who was rejected from an application—they really weren’t great Dog parents.

      • Christine says:

        This right here. I worked for a non-profit, no-kill shelter in my early 30s, as their accountant, but still, I’ve seen how it works for the reputable ones, and people are turned away for a reason.

        No rescue family should be turned away, so long as they can provide a safe home, food, and love.

        Rescues may ask to visit your home, they only want to make sure you don’t have giant holes in your fencing that could make an escape artist dog’s day, you don’t have obvious pet hoarding tendencies, and you aren’t getting an animal just to leave it outside. Also, that your existing pets and kids get along with the new addition.

    • Leigh says:

      Yeah, no. These are living beings and animals get dumped and abandoned constantly by people who were not equipped to care for them and these measures are designed to protect the animal, who like children are entirely reliant on their adoptive family for their care and welfare. If you’re unwilling to do a home check or incapable of providing references perhaps you need to think about whether you’re actually fit to have an animal companion.

  10. Chicken says:

    Amen to the kitten season plug. I picked up three stray kittens during a busy kitten season eight years ago, and they are the loves of my life. One is currently sitting on my feet.

  11. Jack says:

    We adopted a Great Pyrenees from the SPCA during Covid. He barks constantly and wants all of the attention instead of my other dog and cat. He’s a challenge on walks so only I walk him. But we love him and work with him and have no intention of giving him up.

    I also just picked up a stray cat a few weeks ago. Took her to the vet and she has a chip. They have been trying to contact the owner, but the owner isn’t responding, so I guess I have a new cat! Poor kitty has a broken tooth, heart murmur and a tumor. I guess the owners couldn’t afford to help her, but we will and we’ll keep her. She is super sweet and calm and gets along with both dogs and my other cat.

  12. lucy2 says:

    All of the rescues here are full 🙁 If you want to adopt or can foster, it’s a good time to do it.

  13. SuzieQ says:

    Our rescue dog (a lab mixed, we think, with greyhound, though she barks a lot!) is such a love bug who makes us laugh all the time. She just wants to be loved, and we’ve been overjoyed to love her. I cannot imagine life without her.
    We adopted her after my eldest sister died and I honestly mean it when I say that I’m not sure who rescued whom.

  14. K says:

    Think about some of the humans we have given second chances to, ffs. Damn straight these precious animals deserve a good home. Adopt if you can, foster, or donate if you are able. ❤️

  15. Jan90067 says:

    Save one dog (the Golden Doodle we got for my nephew when he was 8, (now 24) because he had severe allergies), all of our pets, throughout my life (dogs and cats) have been rescues. ALL have been sweet, playful and loving after an initial period of adjustment. Some had some trauma in their history, which took time, patience, and love to overcome and socialize them, for them to trust and give back the unconditional love we had for them.

    Now, with my dad (who lives with me) so frail, with limited mobility, I can’t have a pet underfoot. But I do have a fur-nephew 😊, an Australian Shepherd mix. My sister and BIL fostered him (age 7) just before Covid. Poor pup had been severely abused and was rescued, starving on the streets when he was less than a year old. Because he was *very* skittish, and a biter (from the abuse) no one wanted him, and he lived most of his life in the shelter. They worked with a behaviorist and a trainer (paid for by the fostering shelter, who also provided the special food he needed for a bad stomach). It took months before our sweet boy trusted us enough to come snuggle near us.

    He’s been part of the family now for almost 2 1/2 yrs. and we love him to bits. While he’s not “issue free”, it’s night and day from the pup who first joined our household. Animals give back *so* much more than they get from us!

  16. Sarah Ryan says:

    I completely agree! The problem I’m finding is that I live in the UK and almost all shelters are reluctant to adopt animals to families with young children as a rule. I have a 7 year old and a 5 year old who are both very sensible around dogs having grown up with a rescue dog I had for 12 years until she died a year ago. I would love to adopt another dog, but I simply cannot find a shelter willing to adopt to us on the basis that my kids are so young. I really do understand their rationale, but it makes me so sad as we could provide such a loving home to an appropriate dog and I feel as though we won’t get a chance 🙁

  17. Jensies says:

    I adopted twin black kitten bros two years ago and a third little monster last year, after my beloved dachshund moved on. I’ve been asking my partner if we can just keep getting a kitten a year, they’re so much fun.

    That said, when I am ready for another dachshund, I’m looking at a pup from a breeder. I’ll look at rescues too and I’m willing to drive quite a ways, but it’s hard to even be considered for one and I don’t want an older dog who may not take to the cats or harm them.

    Everyone do what’s right for you.

  18. mgmoviegirl says:

    I hope she at has a plan in place for the pup when Chris decides the dog is not apart of the family.

    Also I feel like this post means the pup days are numbered

  19. Wiglet Watcher says:

    My husband and I pledged to adopt rescue beagles after they’re retired from animal testing labs. It’s horrific they still allow this. They often choose beagles because of their gentle temperament and so eager to please you. Which is sick to manipulate that kindness.

  20. AnneL says:

    I understand why some people get their pets from breeders, but it is important to be sure the breeder is ethical. Both of our dogs (who have now passed after living long happy lives) came from the SPCA, as did our cat. But we didn’t have to worry about allergies.

    Houston, where I live, has a terrible problem with strays, especially cats. There are a lot of rescues and shelters and plenty of well-meaning people willing to foster, but we can’t keep up with the demand. It’s a combination of a warm climate, lax spay and neuter laws and a fairly transient human population.

    Two days ago my daughter told me that the dry cleaner across the street from her apartment in Brooklyn had a friendly stray mother with four tiny kittens in the back yard, but they couldn’t keep her there due to health inspection concerns. I told her to pick them up and take them to her own back yard (which she is very lucky to have in her neighborhood) in a kennel. I would pay for the vet fees.

    I knew that in NY, there are strays but not nearly as many as there are here, so the demand for adoptable pets is high. Sure enough, just by taking the little family to the vet she got two interested fosters, and now there are already homes lined up for at least three of cats She’s a beautiful friendly cat and the kittens are adorable. I knew it wouldn’t be too hard to find good homes for them there because it’s such a different world when it comes to pet adoptions.

    I understand why some people have to surrender pets. It’s probably heartbreaking, but sometimes it can’t be helped. But it’s really frustrating and upsetting to see people in my city be so careless with pets, leaving them outside and un-spayed so that feral colonies grow. It’s a crisis.

  21. Winter Day says:

    I love this story. My husband and I adopted a Maltese poodle mix that’s was bounced around from home to home which led to severe separation anxiety. When we got him, he was like Velcro. It took a while for him to understand we will not abandon him.

    That said, I love this precious gift from God to pieces. He is the most sweetest, goofiest dog ever. Words cannot express how much he has enriched our lives.