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12 Truths about rescue dogs every owner understands

A rescue dog is an absolute treasure. Despite its humble beginnings, it is less like a thrift store bargain and more like a diamond in the rough.

If you’ve had the pleasure of owning a rescue dog of your own, then you have undoubtedly learned the following truths about these special creatures.

1. They prove that oddball is better

Sure, about 25 percent of shelter and rescue dogs are purebred — but the rest are a delightful mixture of different breeds and their breed-specific characteristics. The result? “Adorkable” oddballs that can capture your heart in an instant.

2. They know how they need you

Look into the eyes of rescue dogs, and you can see that they know. They may not remember everything from their past lives, but they certainly know that they need you and they love you.

3. They’re surprisingly easy on your house

Many rescue dogs are already house-trained and well-behaved, so you don’t have to worry too much about your rescue dog destroying your custom leather couch.

4. They know the pleasure of a good walk

Most dogs — rescued or not — enjoy a nice afternoon stroll. But there’s something about the way a rescue dog holds its tail high that demonstrates just how much it loves the freedom of a walk and the freshness of the air.

5. Their gratitude is evident

Watch the slow tail-wag of a rescue dog when you feed it or pet it gently on the head. It’s as though its whole demeanor is oriented toward telling you, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

6. They’re a steal of a deal

Forget shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a commercially purchased animal. You can get a rescue dog for just the cost of his or her start-up vet bill, depending on the shelter or rescue group you choose.

7. They’re good for your soul

Have you ever noticed how good you feel after a cuddle session with a quirky, loving rescue dog? There’s science behind those good feelings that churn in your soul. A good relationship with a loving rescue dog can trigger a biochemical reaction in your body that reduces stress and improves feelings of well-being.

8. Old dogs can learn new tricks

Even middle-aged and old dogs can learn a new trick or two. It all comes down to the attitude of the owner and the mutuality of the relationship.

9. They come with a clean bill of health

Surprisingly, health is a wonderful benefit of selecting a rescue dog. Most rescue groups require dogs to have a clean bill of health, including a spay or neuter and all necessary shots and preventative medicines, before the dog can ever go home with you.

10. They are delightfully quirky

Rescue dogs sometimes pick up the weirdest habits. And you know what? Quirkiness can make for the best kind of pet.

11. They never forget

Here’s one that makes me cry when I think about it. I rescued my mutt, Radar, from a kill shelter when he was just a puppy — but my ex-husband got him in the divorce. I seldom see Radar anymore but when I do, he leaps at me just like he did the day I opened his door to the cage at the shelter. A rescue dog never forgets that you saved him or her.

12. Saving a life is a win-win

Yes, you saved your rescue dog’s life. But you know that he or she is also saving yours, each and every day.

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