4 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)
There are lots of heartwarming stories of two rescue dogs finding a home together. Tuck and Cuda, some of our former foster dogs, are a perfect example of that. A lot of times dogs are surrendered together or form new friendships with dogs at the rescue or shelter. When that happens, people who hear about them are eager to keep them together, but is that always the right decision?
Not All Dog Pairs are “Bonded”?
Lately, Molly has noticed a lot of comments on rescue dog social media posts begging rescues to keep pairs of dogs together. It seems like any time two dogs are sitting together in a photo, at least one human comments, “don’t split them up!”
But the reality is that you can’t know everything about two dogs from one photo. Just because two dogs are playing together or cuddling together in a Facebook post doesn’t mean they NEED to go to the same home. Sometimes they may be friends, but they can still thrive in separate homes.
However, there are some cases where dogs might look like they’re best friends online, but in real life, they don’t care if the other one is around. Molly has posted plenty of photos of me laying next to the foster dogs, but I definitely prefer to be the only permanent dog around here. In most of those photos, Molly was cuddling with both of us on the couch, and when she got up, the other dog and I stayed put. So, the photos look like we’re cuddling, but trust me, we’re not.
So, don’t assume two dogs at a rescue are bonded unless it specifically says so in their adoption description.
Should Bonded Dogs Be Adopted Together?
The word “bonded” isn’t always used the same when it comes to dogs. Some people use it as a synonym for “friends” while others only use it when they’re certain two dogs can’t be apart. Yet, even if two dogs are very comfortable around each other, they can still be split up. It might seem like a sad thing to do, but there are several reasons most rescues will split up dog friends:
- Sometimes finding them a home is more important than their friendship. If the rescue or shelter is crowded or short on volunteers, they’d rather have the dogs find homes separately than never find homes at all.
- Dogs can be protective of their friends from past lives. Once Molly tried to foster a bonded pair of dogs (Sonny/Odin and Cher), but Cher loved her friend so much that she became aggressive toward me and Molly to protect him. She wouldn’t even let anyone in the same room as him, so we realized them living in a home together wouldn’t be safe for anyone involved.
- Some dogs aren’t as bonded as they seem. I’ve heard about several bonded pairs who were really comfortable around each other but ended up showing more growth when separated than when they were together.
It’s easy to see two dog friends and root for them, but getting adopted together isn’t always what’s best for them. The humans taking care of those dogs know their current personalities best, so it’s up to them to decide if keeping them together or separating them is the better option. Instead of assuming two dogs need to be kept together, please be respectful of whichever route the rescue or shelter decides.
Are There Exceptions?
In most cases, it’s okay to split two dogs up, but there are always exceptions. For example, puppy mill survivors tend to come out of their shells more when adopted with another dog. In some cases, dogs who have lived together their whole lives only trust humans if their friend is around. In extreme cases like those, the rescue may require that two dogs are adopted together or at least require that there’s another dog in each home for them to befriend.
But the goal of all shelters and rescues is to find homes for as many dogs as possible. There’s a never-ending list of dogs in the world that need homes, so the faster dogs can get adopted, the more dogs can be brought in. In most cases, getting a dog adopted is the priority, and that might not always allow for a dog to stay with their friend.
So, instead of questioning why two dogs aren’t being adopted together, please trust the organization’s process. Running a rescue and finding homes for dogs is a lot of work, and the people volunteering at them do so out of the kindness of their hearts. If dogs need to stay together, volunteers will find a way to make it happen, but if the dogs would still be happy on their own, that’s an option too.
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