Many animal rescues struggle with overpopulation and lack of funding, but this issue is widespread in Brazil where overcrowded shelters lead to poor health conditions, stress, depression, and starvation. Some pet owners drop off unwanted pets at shelters believing that they will be cared for and adopted, not understanding the painful reality of what shelters face when they don’t have the funds to care for the animals left at their door.
Often these animals suffer in horrible conditions and meet agonizing deaths because there simply isn’t enough money to give them the care they need and deserve.
Quatro Patinhas, or “Four Paws Association,” an animal advocacy organization in Brazil, tried an experiment with rescue animals to educate the general public about what rescue pets can offer to families looking for a new furry companion.
People pay upwards of thousands of dollars for pets in stores, says Christianne Duarte Garoiu, the president and founder of Quatro Patinhas, “but there are many other pets that would bring so much love with them for all their lives and people don’t need to pay a cent for it.”
The group worked with a local pet store to switch the store pets with pets from a local shelter. They placed hidden cameras around the store to record the reactions and interactions that customers had with the pets and store personnel, including incredulous responses when customers found out the price tag for the shelter pets: free.
“I think in the end what really matters is the empathy between a person and the animal. There’s no difference if a pet is purebred or not. What really matters is the love that will arise there between the person in the pet shop and the pet behind the glass,” Duarte Garoiu states with passion.