Each year in the United States, 6–8 million animals end up in shelters. Of these adoptable dogs and cats, 2.7 million are euthanized because there are too many pets coming into shelters and not enough people willing to consider adoption when looking for a pet. These deaths could be dramatically reduced if more people adopted pets instead of buying them.
April 30 is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day in the U.S and thousands of pets are waiting to be adopted from shelters. They desperately need to find their forever homes. Depending where you live, you can find cats, dogs, birds, small animals, even horses and livestock waiting for adoption in a nearby shelter or rescue.
There are a myriad of reasons an animal ends up at a shelter. Animal shelters take in animals who have been surrendered by their owners. These owners may be moving and unable to take their pet with them or they can no longer care for their pet because of illness or economic hardship. Sometimes owners can’t deal with the changing needs of older pets that aren’t as active or may have occasional “accidents.” Sadly, sometimes pets are abandoned or abused and must be removed from their current home for their own protection. Pets wander away from their homes and become lost. Pet owners who do not spay or neuter their pets end up with litters of unwanted puppies or kittens that end up in shelters.
Shelters work quickly to access the animal’s health and well-being, so they can be adopted into their forever home.
If you are considering getting a pet, please make sure no one in your household has a pet allergy. Visit with the shelter to discuss your responsibilities as a pet owner to see if you can commit to giving some lucky animal their forever home.
Ask yourself some hard questions:
1. Do I have time to care for and interact with a pet?
2. Can I afford adoption fees, vet bills, food, and litter (if adopting a cat)?
3. Will I freak out if a dog chews on something or a cat scratches my curtains or the fabric on my favorite chair?
4. If you are even considering declawing a cat, please get a dog or don’t get a pet at all.
5. Do you have a friend or relative willing to care for your pet if you can’t for any reason (ie…vacation, illness, travel, etc.)?
6. Do I know what plants and foods are harmful to pets? Read our article and find out, https://www.thisawfulawesomelife.com/home/2018/3/15/pets-and-flowers-by-fran-joyce-lm9f3?rq=pets
Consider the benefits of adopting a shelter pet:
1. You will be saving a life – Pet adoption not only saves a loving animal by making them part of your family; it also opens up much needed shelter space for another animal.
2. You get to choose a great animal – Most shelter pets are already house-trained and used to living with families, plus 25% of all shelter pets are purebreds.
3. Adopting a Pet is less expensive than Buying one - Usually the cost of spay/neuter, first vaccinations (and sometimes even microchipping!) is included in the adoption price when you adopt a pet.
4. You won’t be supporting puppy mills - If you buy a dog from a pet store, online seller or flea market, it’s probably a dog from a puppy mill. Puppy mills are factory-style breeding facilities that put profit above the welfare of dogs.
5. All pets are good for your health, but adoptees offer an extra boost - animals give you unconditional love and are psychologically, emotionally and physically beneficial to their companions. Adopting and caring for a pet adds purpose and fulfillment to your life and reduces feelings of loneliness. You’ll also feel good about helping an animal in need!
6. Adoption helps more than just one animal - Shelters take in millions of stray, abused and lost animals every year. When you adopt an animal, it frees up space for another animal in need. Adoption fees go directly to help shelters care for the animals they take in.
7. Your adopted pet will instantly make any selfie look better – Seriously, we love to see pets on social media.
If you feel you can’t meet those needs, consider volunteering at your local shelter. With your help, animals will get much needed exercise, companionship and socialization, and you will receive the love and gratitude of the animals you care for at the shelter.
Participate in fundraisers at your local shelter and check the shelter’s donation needs list - bring the items you are able to give when you volunteer. You will be helping shelter animals find their forever homes more quickly.