If you’re reading this is unlikely you need convincing. You have a dog. Or a cat. Or two of each, plus a bird, a ferret, and a goldfish. You feed your birds with a feeder, because you are used to that routine. In case you don’t have feeders in your garden you can go to https://ballachy.com/blogs/reviews/squirrel-proof-bird-feeder and check these out. Indeed, I may be preaching to the choir. But perhaps you’re on the sidelines. You’re tempted. You’re thinking about it. Or you’ve decided. Yup, a dog or cat needs to live in your house. But you’re not totally sure. It’s a commitment. It might alter your lifestyle. You’ve come up with all the excuses and steered clear of your local shelter so you don’t get intoxicated by a pair of sweet eyes and dive in before you’re ready. “I’ll adopt a shelter pet one day” you tell yourself.
If that sounds familiar, you may just need a little push. So here’s your push: Adopt a shelter pet! Why? It’s good for the animal, for sure. But it’s also really good for YOU! And if you don’t want to take my word for it, there’s actual proof and research and stuff that proves it. Here are ten good reasons to adopt a shelter pet:
- You can save a life. It’s horrifying but true – over 3 million dogs and cats are killed in shelters in the United States each year. Adopt a shelter pet and it can’t become a victim.
- You help reduce the pet population problem. The reason so many healthy animals are put down every year is because there are more dogs and cats than there are homes for them. Each animal you bring into your home is one less that is part of that problem.
- You won’t support puppy mills. Hey, I love puppies. But the way many of those little guys and gals come into the world is via inhumane breeding practices where parent dogs endure disgraceful conditions. Adopt a shelter pet and you don’t pay an unethical breeder to keep up the abuse.
- You teach your children the importance of compassion. When you adopt a shelter pet you help your children learn about second chances, about caring for those who needsecond chances, and so many other important life lessons.
- A pre-owned pet often already has manners. Most of the dogs and cats in shelters have already lived in a home, and they know the basic etiquette required of them. A little training or re-training will get them up to speed in no time.
- When you adopt a shelter pet you have a friend for life. I don’t know if it will ever be proven, but I am certain that rescued animals KNOW that they were saved and show their appreciation to their humans in exceptional ways.
- You can find your perfect match. Almost all shelter dogs are at least a few months old, and most are fully-grown, so it’s easy to find a dog that is just the one you have been looking for. Big, medium or small. Black, white or brown. Happy to run or thrilled to sit on the couch. You decide who is best by your side. And many shelter staffs will be very helpful with acquainting you with a pet that fits your personality and lifestyle.
- A shelter pet is a drug-free treatment for depression. According to the CDC, people who live with animals are less likely to experience depression than those without one.
- It’s good for your heart. And I don’t mean that in a Hallmark card kind of way. It has been shown that people who have pets tend to have lower rates of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and live longer. That makes an adoption fee look like a deal, doesn’t it?
- “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ~Mother Teresa It’s unlikely you can fix all of the world’s problems, but when you adopt a shelter pet you make your world a better place and you make a difference for a dog or cat.
By the way, I write from experience. In 2009 I adopted PJ, an American Brown Dog saved from a shelter in Virginia. I have had a bunch of dogs in my life, and they’ve all been great companions. But there’s something about PJ, his survival story, and the “coincidences” that brought us together that makes my relationship with him extra special. When he sleeps next to me on the couch I often marvel that his life could have been taken from him for no reason other than a “No Vacancy” sign at the shelter. Instead he has brought me years of entertainment, laughter, fun and companionship. I like to think I’ve done the same for him. Although sometimes I think I bore him.
So if you’re considering adding a pet to your family I hope you’ll adopt a shelter pet. You’ll be glad you did!
To search for your shelter pet visit www.petfinder.com. You can enter your criteria (e.g. species, breed, size, age, etc.) and/or search by geography to see what animals are available near you.