In the rescue community – one of the biggest tag lines is “Don’t Shop – Adopt” A lot of the times you will hear people who are huge rescue advocates tell their friends who are looking at getting a pet to go to a shelter and adopt.
There are many arguments that people give as to why they do not want to go to the shelter to adopt a pet there. These arguments range from: “I want a pure bread dog” all the way to “shelter pets are just discarded/damaged animals – why would I want that?” So I wanted to take the time to address the misconceptions about shelter pets.
First off – lets take a look at the statistics of shelters themselves:
- There are approximately 3,500 shelters in the United States alone (Humane Society of the United States)
- 6 – 8 million cats and dogs enter the shelter system each year (Humane Society of the United States)
- 25% of Dogs that enter the shelter system are purebred (ASPCA)
- it is estimated 10% to 20% of dogs and cats in US households are adopted from the shelter. (ASPCA)
- 30% of dogs dropped off at the shelter are reclaimed by their owners (Humane Society of the United States)
- 5% of cats dropped off at the shelter are reclaimed by their owners (Humane Society of the United States)
- Each year approximately 3.7 animals a year are euthanized due to a lack of space in the shelters. (American Humane Association)
- 5 in 10 dogs and 7 in 10 cats in shelters around the united states are euthanized due to the simple fact that no one adopted them. (ASPCA)
So even after seeing all these statistics (and trust me – the euthanasia ones are the last ones I want to show) why should you adopt a shelter pet?
Love. Most if not all shelter pets know what it is like to be left, abandoned, and unwanted. Now the flip side of this is that they know how to love unconditionally. That is not to say that all dogs and cats that are purchased from breeders do not know how to love unconditionally, but a shelter pet has a greater appreciation for the life you have given him/her. They know what it is like to be in a situation where they do not have a person to love them – so when they do have that person to love them, the love that you will feel will make your heart swell.
You don’t just save one animal, you save two. When you adopt a pet from a shelter (especially a no kill shelter) that frees up more room for that shelter to take in another pet off the street, or from an abusive situation, or even from an owner who can no longer take care of their pet.
You help stop overpopulation. Taking a look at the statistics above on euthanasia – it is very clear that there are not enough homes for all the shelter pets. By adopting from a shelter, you help to give a pet a home, and you help to support shelters – not breeders. For each shelter adoption, we break more and more into over population.
You know the animal is healthy. Every shelter pet is spayed/neutered and up to date on their shots. You know that every year they have received the rabies shot as well as any other important medical attention. You are guaranteed vet records to each animal you adopt no matter if they have fur or feathers.
You are supporting a non profit. By adopting from a rescue, you are supporting a non profit. The adoption fees you pay go to helping another animal get the medical attention they need. Or it goes to helping another animal get out of a bad situation, or simply it gives another animal a roof over their head. The point is you are supporting a good cause.
You become part of a community. A community of people who have committed to helping animals, bringing an end to over population in shelters, and animal abuse. By paying that adoption fee, you have helped more then you could ever imagine – and to thank you every day you have your beloved furry friend.