Movies and television shows have given a representation of animal shelters that results in a fear of taking animals there. When taking in a stray or putting a former pet up for adoption, the idea of leaving them in an animal shelter is never appealing. Animal shelters are full of barking dogs and meowing cats waiting for someone to stop at their kennel and give them a chance. There are usually two sections in an animal shelter: (1) the dogs and cats and (2) the puppies and kittens. Pet adopters rarely make it to the dog and cat section because of the “spell of cuteness” puppies and kittens cast on humans. Therefore, adult dogs and cats usually remain in shelters the longest. Overlooked and longing for love, the dogs and cats that do not get adopted within a certain number of days have an ending that is hard for many animal-lovers to understand or accept.
The environment of an animal shelter can relate to a prison in many ways. The animals are behind bars until adopted, they get fed twice a day even if they are hungry at other times, they get minimal time outside to run and play, and they are isolated from other animals and humans. A movie that displays this environment perfectly is Homeward Bound. This classic tale of two dogs and a cat searching for their home illustrates one way animal shelters are negatively represented. Shadow, Chance, and Sassy fear the animal shelter (the pound) more than anything. They believe, like many of us do, that animal shelters are a place where dogs and cats go in and never come out. After being captured by animal control, the trio gets taken to the animal shelter where their family is called to pick them up. However, due to the reputation of animal shelters, the homeward bound pets escape assuming that is there one hope of ever seeing their family again. Movies and television display both true and false perceptions of animal shelters. Dogs and cats are locked in kennels most of the day hoping to get adopted. There are some that never get far in the process. It then becomes a cycle. Those who never get adopted leave an opening for another rescue to come in and get a chance at a loving home. When one gets adopted, another opening becomes available for a new rescue to have the same opportunity. Due to this cyclical rotation, animal shelters remain full—constantly offering a potential home to other dogs and cats that are in need of adoption.
In reality, some dogs and cats get taken into the shelter but never come out just like it is portrayed in the movie Homeward Bound. Nevertheless, the number of dogs and cats that do get adopted is far greater, and every human being should view animal shelters with that in mind. It is totally normal for those taking a dog or cat to a shelter to fear where it is going since a home for the animal could be far away or nonexistent. However, what needs to be first in mind is that the animal shelter’s ultimate goal is to do its best in finding each dog and cat a caring home and happy life.