Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Ugly Test

I am aware that I may offend people with this blog post, so here's a disclaimer:
It is not my intention to offend anyone with what I'm about to share.  It is also not my intention to devalue dogs (whether up for adoption or for sale through a breeder) based on appearance.

I was really tempted to adopt my latest foster dog.  He was really cute, and really sweet, but his personality and temperament were not a good match for my home.  One of the things that finally stopped us from adopting him was The Ugly Test.

The Ugly Test is simple.  First, you ask yourself if you find a particular dog extremely physically attractive.  If your answer is yes, then you ask yourself if you would still buy/adopt the dog if it wasn't physically attractive at all.  If it was.... ugly.

Whoa, whoa, I can see you guys lighting your torches and grabbing your pitchforks.  Put them down. Be honest with yourself. I know it can feel awkward, uncomfortable, and/or downright wrong to admit that we are visual creatures, and that on some level we are attracted to beauty.  If we weren't, we'd never clean our houses, mow our lawns, or change out of old pajamas before going to dinner with friends.  Bras would not exist.  Inspirational posters would feature just as many monkfish or star-nosed moles as they do dolphins or cheetahs.

So do The Ugly Test, and be honest.  Would that dog's personality, temperament, and suitability for your home make up for it's not-so-good looks?  If the answer is Yes.... then go ahead!  Adopt/buy that beautiful dog!  But if the answer is No, you may not be making the right decision if you still bring that dog home.

Now, there is also the opposite of The Ugly Test.  It is equally as important and valid, and I call it The Pretty Test.  If you're considering adopting/purchasing a dog that maybe isn't the most beautiful dog in the world and your biggest problem with the dog is appearance, pretend for a moment that that dog is the most gorgeous Flooferhund you've ever seen.  So gorgeous that his photo would be in calendars and on the cover of dog magazines.  Would that dog be welcome in your house?  If the answer is Yes.... do that dog a favor and adopt/purchase him.  Because not everyone will do The Pretty Test.  In fact, most won't.

There are thousands of dogs sitting in shelters that would benefit from passing The Pretty Test.  They are adopted less often than dogs that may not have passed The Ugly Test.

Let me tell you, one of the first photos I ever saw of my Tallahassee was of a.... well.... an ugly puppy.  In my mind, I'd imagined her to be as cute as the other street puppies I'd seen.  My puppy.... was not cute.


But I knew to do The Pretty Test.  If she was as cute as the other puppies I'd seen, would I still want her?  Based on what I'd been told of personality and temperament, my answer was Yes.  If she was pretty, there would be no doubt that she'd be perfect for me.  Aside from looking like a ratty chupacabra  at 3 weeks old, she was still everything I wanted her to be.  Everything I needed her to be.  So instead of asking my rescue contact to find me another puppy, I committed to that ugly duckling.

And whaddya know, she grew up to be drop-dead gorgeous.  Good thing she passed The Pretty Test.

As for The Ugly Test... how many pretty dogs have you seen and thought, "Wow, that's a gorgeous dog, but you couldn't pay me enough to own her!" .... those dogs didn't pass your Ugly Test, and it's best for everyone that they didn't.

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