Kit Steinkellner
December 02, 2015 2:12 pm

My mom is the best at giving advice, and one of my favorite kernels of her mother-wisdom has to do with adopting rescues.

“Go to a rescue and ask them who their favorite dog (or cat) is,” she told me. “There’s always a rescue favorite, and they make the best pets.”

As she is about most things, my mom was absolutely right. A lot of times, when it comes to adopting pets, people absolutely judge books by their covers. They adopt the fluffiest of puppies, the most Instagrammable of kitties, and ignore the just-this-side-of-weirdo-looking mutt-y pets that, like that street rat Aladdin, are total diamonds in the rough. Mutts don’t always fit inside the conventional standards of cute, and rescues can come with a rough edge or two.

Purebred polish is a beautiful thing, I’m sure all of you out there who have pups that could compete in the National Dog Show have A+ pets. But today is National Mutt Day, so lets give some sugar to the mutts of the world. To be specific, allow me to get mushy about two scrappy and sweet mutts in my life, Harvey, an 8-year old black lab/dachshund mix and Phoebe, a 7-year-old Jack Russell/chihuahua/pit bull mix.

Both Harvey (left) and Phoebe (right) weren’t getting adopted for the reasons a lot of dogs don’t get adopted. Both were middle-aged when we got them. Harvey’s missing a ton of teeth. Phoebe came to us with no leg fur as a result of a bad case of mange (“You’re always wearing shorts!” I say to her in an effort to make her feel more stylish about her bare legs, as if she can speak English/cares). But in both cases I was assured that they were kings and queens among dogs. “You will not believe what a wonderful dog Harvey is,” Harvey’s foster mom told me on the phone. “We have a lot of good dogs, but Phoebe is a prize,” a volunteer at Phoebe’s rescue told me.

Mutty rescues come with their quirks. Harvey is really freaked out by the sound my phone makes when I get text messages. (So, yes, basically my phone is on vibrate forever). Phoebe is afraid of guitars. Yes, like guitar-guitars. Harvey is a total cliché and goes nuts whenever the mailman comes by, and Phoebe tries to give me sweet-but-disgusting french-dog-kisses five times a day. They both insist on yapping at dogs 12 times their size, and I’m like “How does this make any evolutionary sense at all?” Oh, and they’re disasters when it comes to Halloween costumes.

Yeah, we’re training them, and yeah, training helps, but real talk, my dogs are always going to skew more Tramp than Lady. And I’m fine with that, honestly, more than fine, I’m great with the situation. Because their rescue people were right, they really are the best dogs. They are complete cuddle machines, funnier than any stand-up comedian I’ve ever seen, and so sweet and dear it regularly makes my heart hurt.

Of course, purebreds are just as cuddly/sweet/funny as mutts, I will not contest this point, but mutts all too often don’t get the love they deserve. When a dog is a little bit of a weirdo, it can be hard to imagine putting a red bow around her neck or placing him under the Christmas tree. But I promise you, if someone you love is in the market for a dog, and you go to the rescue and ask for the best dog they have, a dog that is getting overlooked for a superficial/dumb reason, and give this dog to your beloved as a gift, you will be giving this person the best gift ever. And if you give yourself the gift of a sweet-but-overlooked mutt, you will be giving YOURSELF the best gift ever. Like I said earlier, my mom gives great advice, I’m just passing it along <3

(Images via Instagram)

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