Second Chance: Can Pets be Extroverts & Introverts?

Second Chance: Can Pets be Extroverts & Introverts?

The other day I made a breakthrough of sorts. I had a realization about pet disposition that I think will help pets like me meet our right people. It can be summed up as VertroPet, the study of pets as introverts and extroverts. Not only is this cutting-edge science, but I believe it will help people like you find the best pets for their personality.

Lynx, a beautiful introvert.

Here is how VetroPet happened.

I was commiserating with a cat named Lynx here at the Second Chance Shelter, who also has been waiting for a home for too long. Lynx, an eight-month-young beautiful brown male tabby kept telling me the right person just hasn’t walked through the shelter doors. My answer was that we need to sell ourselves a little better.

Lynx is shy and struggles with approaching new people, so I told him to be more like me, because I’m not timid at all. I’m the opposite and people always see me as I excitedly jump and bark in my dog run asking all visitors to come and meet me.

Lynx told me that was part of my problem.

I told Lynx he needs to perform like I do when people are around. I have learned to sit very pretty and take treats. I will lie down and wait and catch treats in my mouth when tossed in the air. Lynx said that performing for people just isn’t who he is and that he wants to live with someone that accepts his true self. I love all people and pets – the more the better. 

Lynx likes one person at a time…

Remi, an extra special extrovert.

So I began to wonder if pets could be introverted and extroverted.  And if so, wouldn’t it be best to be extroverted to grab people’s attention?  I came across a book written by Susan Cain entitled “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” In it, the author cites research on guppies in an attempt to understand how introverted characteristics might have survived the Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest. Shouldn’t the loudest, most aggressive, boldest, and bravest of the animal kingdom thrive while the quiet, shy species who avoided conflict become extinct?

Clearly that is not what happened.

I meet introverted dogs here at Second Chance all the time. Researchers have found that animals who were able to hang around the perimeters, remaining virtually invisible to their predators, were better suited to observe situations and adapt accordingly. Thus introversion, like extroversion, is just another survival strategy and it takes creatures with diverse personalities to make up a community and for all to survive.

Introverted pets will appeal to some people over extroverts, and vice versa.

I realized Lynx is right: we will do best being who we are. I’m willing to wait for the right person even if it takes a little longer because being your best self every day is the only way to ensure that the best human-pet connection will be made. 

Come by the Second Chance Shelter today where you will find me dancing for attention and Lynx quietly assessing if you are his right person…



Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff & Mae

Ted Hoff &  Magnificent Mae

By the by, there is no better place to park your pup or get your pup (or adult dog) trained than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online:

Vetting the Vet: Dr. Michelle Dally, DVM, J.D. is Medical Director of Second Chance Humane Society. She also has a private practice, Dally Veterinary Medicine, 333 S. Elizabeth Street, Ridgway, Colorado. Her service area is  San Miguel Mesas, Placerville, Ridgway, Ouray, and Montrose. For more on Dr. Dally, go here.

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