Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
Ohhhh look at that adorable puppy or kitten your friend adopted. Where did they get her? The local shelter! No kidding! Oh wow, what a beautiful, regal cat. Where did you get him? The shelter? No way! I love your Sheltie, where did you get her? A rescue? I never knew that was possible! Shelter cats and dogs and pets from rescues are ideal, loving family members. If you have your heart set on a specific breed, you can also find them at a shelter or at a breed-specific rescue.
Is that news to you? It’s not news to us or to the members in our blogging community. We love and celebrate our shelter pets every single day. I have never adopted a cat other than from a shelter or a rescue. I currently live with three shelter kitties. My daughter rescued her cat from a farmer’s market where she found this tiny kitten wandering around in the rain, asked whose he was and they said, “A stray, we’re trying to get rid of him.” She didn’t know what “get rid of him” meant, but she took him and brought him home. He was flea-ridden, had an upper respiratory infection and was a mess. Today, he is the most loving, biggest cat we have ever had in our house. He follows my daughter around the house like a puppy. When he hears her car pull into the driveway he rushes to the door to meet her. We truly believe he knows she saved his life.
We didn’t get Spenser, the dog, from a shelter, but I did rescue him. It was close to 12 years ago when the young couple who lived across the street brought home this tiny puppy, looped a chain around his neck, tied him to their car bumper and tossed a bag of dog food on the ground next to him. October in New York is typically rainy and cold. I watched this poor puppy for a day and a half struggle to get under the car out of the rain, struggle to open the dog food bag (I went and tore it open for him) and yearn for attention. On the second day I went over, started yelling at the couple and ended with the phrase, “If you don’t take care of him I’m just going to take him home right now!” They said, “Goahead.” Gulp! I walked across the street with this smallish puppy with the huge paws! Fast forward 12 years and he grew into a 125 lovable family member.
When I hold my little Calico Lucy and she snuggles in I believe she knows she is safe from the shelter that we’d adopted her from. This leads me to my list of reasons why you should adopt a shelter pet:
- I truly believe they know you saved them and the love they give you in return is immeasurable. When I look into the faces of our cats and see how happy and content they are — a far cry from how they were when we first adopted because they’d been scared from being in shelter — my heart melts.
- You save a life. According to the ASPCA, annually about 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats). That stat breaks my heart.
- Close to eight million companion animals enter shelters annually. That’s close to 4 million dogs and more than 3 million cats! Imagine the fear these pets have when they are torn from their families and put into a shelter. Adopting one of these animals gives them a second chance at life and love.
- Many shelter pets are up to date on vaccines, have been spayed and neutered and still others are microchipped. This means you will save some money on upfront veterinarian costs.
- If you adopt an older shelter dog, he or she may already be house trained. The shelter staff will have “tested” his or her personality and you will be adopting a pet whose already grown into his personality. An older cat is calmer and less likely to shred the toilet paper or climb the curtains when you’re at work than a kitten would!
- Remember, your newly adopted pet won’t care if you decide to not shower on a Sunday and just lie around in pajamas watching football all day. In fact, he or she would love to be your snuggle buddy on this kind of a weekend!
- Overcrowding is a very real and continual problem at shelters. If you adopt you free space in the shelter for another pet who may be in need and you could also help reduce overcrowding.
- If you don’t like veggies and you have a dog, you could slip your broccoli to him! Many vegetables are great for pets and many pets love them.
- Did you have a bad day at work? If you have a pet, you have someone who will listen to you while you complain about your co-workers and will also be there to offer a non-judgmental ear.
- Simply stroking your pets fur has been shown to significantly lower your blood pressure and relieve stress.
- Packing on the pounds? If you sit a lot for your job it’s easy to do that. But if you have a pet you will be “forced” to be active. Your pet will need exercise. He will urge you to take longer walks in the woods. She will be so thrilled at getting out and smelling the outdoorsy smells that you simply won’t want to be sedentary. Your pet’s enthusiasm will be contagious!
- Adopting means you are not supporting backyard breeders or puppy mills.
- You could save money on your electricity bills if you snuggle up with your pet on the couch or in bed!
- Unconditional love. That is what you get from your pet each and every day. They don’t care if you have your mascara on. They don’t care if you are in a bad mood. They don’t care if you’re not a great cook. They love you no matter what. There is no greater gift.
What other reasons could you add to the list for the reasons you support pet adoption? Please share in the comments below!
(Photos all of my adopted pets. Clyde as a kitten, Parker and Clyde on the couch, Clyde on my daughter’s back, Spenser in the yard and Lucy being kooky)