Think about beagles used in laboratory experiments, or greyhounds forced to race. Puppy mill dogs come to mind also. All of these animals and many more live under extreme and often abusive, painful, and fear inducing circumstances. How do they fair when they are removed from those situations and placed in loving, permanent homes?
Some of the animals who are liberated from laboratories, race tracks, or mills need time to be rehabilitated before they are placed in forever homes. Rescue groups and sanctuaries around the country work tirelessly to help these animals overcome their past experiences. Some animals may need extended stays in foster care as they become accustomed to life outside their previous confinement. Others are ready within just a few short weeks to be adopted.
The overriding consideration on the part of anyone considering adopting an animal who has lived under extreme circumstances is patience. Patience as the animal learns what a home is, what stairs are, how grass feels under his or her paws. Patience when the animal becomes agitated at what we consider the normal sights, sounds, and smells of our home and neighborhood. Patience at what we might consider aberrant behavior, such excessive licking, salivating, or circling. Over time, many of these animals begin to relax in their new environment; begin to trust that they will not be hurt; begin to live a normal life.
Additional animals who may need rehoming after their experiences, especially in laboratories, are birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, and mice. Of course, this begs the question, should we be testing on animals?
When you think about it…regardless of where a companion animal started his or her life, a loving and safe home is best.