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Home > General > Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week 2024: When & What It Is

Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week 2024: When & What It Is

man adopted two puppies

Every companion animal stuck in shelters or rescues deserves a loving home, but sadly, many get passed up due to a cosmetic issue, age, or simply not being a purebred dog or cat. However, that’s where Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week comes to the rescue—literally. This pet holiday is held every third week in September. For 2023, the magical week is September 18–24. The purpose is to raise awareness about adopting a less adoptable pet and how rewarding the experience can be for humans and animals.

Since their domestication, animals have been our pals, our family, our shoulder to cry on, and our hearts. Our pets lift us up on dark days, and since they can sense our moods, they cheer us up when we’re down. Pets love us unconditionally, and many pet owners state they love being around their pets more than most humans, so why not dedicate a week out of the year to the less adoptable pets?


The History of Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week

Petfinder, a popular website that allows you to look for adoptable pets in and around your area, established the holiday in 2009 in an effort to raise awareness about adopting less adoptable pets. Animals who spend more than 48 weeks on their website are deemed “less adoptable” compared to animals who spend, on average, 12 weeks on the website before being adopted. Veterinary practices, shelters, and rescues participate by spreading the word throughout the country during this holiday week.

What Pets Are Deemed “Less Adoptable?”

Not all animals are deemed less adoptable in shelters and rescues, but some unfortunately fall into this category simply because they don’t “stand out,” or for other various reasons, including:

Senior Pets

Senior pets end up in shelters due to the owner passing away or other numerous reasons. These pets are often overlooked in shelters due to their age and the worry of age-related illnesses, regardless of the animal’s temperament.

old black labrador retriever dog lying outdoor
Image Credit: AlkeMade, Pixabay

Black Dogs and Cats

Black pets are often passed up due to superstition when, in fact, they are just as wonderful as any other pet of a different color. Sadly, black animals in shelters are discriminated against, so much so that they have a name: Black Dog Syndrome. Black dogs and cats don’t stand out as much as lighter-colored animals, especially in low lighting. Unfortunately, black dogs and cats have the highest euthanasia rate compared to lighter-colored dogs and cats.

Animals With Special Needs

Animals with special needs also need forever homes, but many shy away from adopting a special needs pet because they feel the cost will be too great to care for the animal. In actuality, special needs pets are loyal and resilient. After all, they have lived with their disability and have most likely adapted.

Adopting a special needs pet is liberating because you provide that pet with a loving forever home. In return, you get unlimited love and companionship. Special needs pets are also an inspiration for many, and you can take your pet to nursing homes or anywhere else they may be needed to lift someone’s spirits.

Bully Breeds

When you think of bully breeds, Pitbulls often come to mind. Pitbulls receive bad reputations due to being portrayed as aggressive; however, when properly raised in the hands of responsible owners, they are wonderful companions and not aggressive in the least. Pitbulls are not born aggressive; they are simply victims of corrupt pet ownership and are often raised to fight.

Other breeds deemed “aggressive” are Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Bulldogs, and Boxers. In reality, they are all sweet, loyal dogs.

Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge
Image Credit: Shawna and Damien Richard, Shutterstock

What Are the Benefits of Adopting a “Less Adoptable” Pet?

Adopting the less adoptable will have cheaper adoption fees, if any, but that’s not all. Let’s look more into the categories mentioned above and discover what the benefits are of adopting one of these less adoptable, precious animals.


Older dogs are calmer and already house-trained, which is a huge plus. Adopting a senior pet comes with many advantages:

  • Seniors need less exercise
  • They are fully grown, meaning no surprises in personality or temperament
  • They are already socialized
  • You are giving a senior a chance to live out his best life
  • They make exceptional companions

Black Dogs and Cats

Did you know black cats are actually more affectionate than bi-colored or multi-colored cats? That’s something to ponder, isn’t it? As we’ve mentioned, black cats are often overlooked due to superstition, but in reality, black cats are friendly and have the sweetest dispositions. Black dogs simply do not stand out, and their awesome personalities are overlooked because of their coat color.

Black Scottish fold cat
Image Credit: Vershinin89, Shutterstock

Animals With Special Needs

Animals with special needs need forever homes, and you can provide a special needs animal the loving home he or she deserves. A special needs pet will encourage you to live life to the fullest and to face your fears. These dogs show that anything is possible, and a special needs pet will always lift you up, especially on your worst days.

Bully Breeds

It’s discouraging knowing that dogs considered “bully breeds” are often stuck in shelters due to bad reputations. These dogs are the most loving, and they will make loyal companions. If unsure, ask the staff about the temperament of the dog you’re interested in. If a dog is unsafe to adopt, the dog won’t be up for adoption in the first place.

How You Can Help During Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week

There are many ways you can help out during Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet week:

  • Volunteer at your local animal shelter or rescue
  • Make a monetary donation to your local animal shelter
  • Help spread the word about the benefits of adopting a less adoptable pet
  • Join a group through social media to help educate and spread the word
  • Share your success story about your “less adoptable” pet
  • Adopt a less adoptable pet

If you decide to experience the rewards of adopting a less adoptable pet, ensure you feed your new pal high-quality food with no artificial preservatives or fillers. For seniors, ensure you buy age-appropriate food, as seniors’ nutritional needs change as they age. You should also keep your new pet on the current food before switching to a new food, and do it gradually to avoid tummy upset.

Girl and woman cat owners holding cats in shelter to adopt
Image Credit: BearFotos, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Now that you know when and what Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet week is, jump in and participate to help get these animals loving homes. Or, adopt a less adoptable pet if you’ve considered adopting a companion animal.

Thousands of precious animals in shelters need our help, and we can help them by educating the public about these pets and how amazing they truly are. Many people choose to buy from a breeder or cattery, but you’ll only spend a lot of money on a dog or cat, and most times, you’ll have to get on a waiting list. When you adopt from a shelter or rescue, the cost will be much less, and you’ll give an animal in need a loving forever home.

Featured Image Credit: Angyalosi Beata, Shutterstock

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