The top reasons to adopt – not shop – for your next family petPosted on April 30, 2020 Written by: 100% PURE ®
“I wish people would realize that animals are totally dependent on us, helpless, like children; a trust that is put upon us.”
– James Herriot
British veterinary surgeon, writer
Roughly 6.5 million animals are dependent on us every year. These fur babies are in shelters across the country, waiting for us to give them their fur-ever home. Sadly, some of them won’t get that chance.
April 30th is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day – an important holiday for us, since we are deeply passionate about animal welfare. What better way to celebrate than by adopting a pet from your local shelter? Here are the top reasons to adopt, and why animal welfare experts recommend it over shopping for purebred pooches or purr-fect felines.
Welcoming a shelter pet into your family is an important decision. We may not know about every imprint of the pet’s past, but with some Q&As upon considering adoption you’ll start off on the right paw. You might find that the rewards of adopting a four-legged friend far outweigh concerns about shelter adoption. Here are more furr-ific reasons to adopt a pet!
1) You could save more than 1 life.
Tragically, approximately 1.5 million adoptable shelter animals are euthanized each year. This is simply due to overcrowding, with too few people considering adoption when looking for a pet.
A surefire way to reduce euthanizations in pet shelters is to open your home to one of these orphaned animals. When you adopt a pet, you’re making room at the shelter for another pet in need of a home.
PRO TIP: No-kill shelters only euthanize animals that are terminally ill or are a danger to themselves or other animals – they generally save 90-95% of the animals that come through their doors.
2) You help ease pet overpopulation.
As if shelters didn’t have enough hardships to endure, they are also faced with pet overpopulation. There are millions of unplanned litters in shelters. If there was one thing Bob Barker made us remember (aside from “Come on down!”), it was to “have your pets spayed or neutered.” Helping to control the pet population is a key responsibility for all pet owners!
Unless it’s a newborn pup or kitten, you’re more than likely adopting a pet that’s been spayed or neutered, and possibly vaccinated. There are also medical and behavioral benefits to adopting: your pet may live a longer life from being spayed or neutered, and bad behavior will be left at the curb with the doggie bags.
3) You get to fight back against mass breeding.
You know that doggie in the window with the waggly tail, or the exotic cat on Craigslist that costs less than a Chewy membership? It’s likely that pup came from a puppy mill, and the cat from a non-accredited breeder. With thousands of cruel pet-breeding facilities and backyard breeders across the nation, it’s more important than ever to adopt a pet!
Buying pets from these sources only supports an illegal and inhumane pet trade. You can fight these immoral practices by supporting your local animal shelters, instead of blackmarket breeders. Don’t give them your time or your dime!
PRO TIP: Depending on your state, breeders may require a license or certification to legally (and safely) breed and sell animals. Just another reason to do your research before you consider breeding over adoption!
4) You get to choose from a great variety of animals.
Though you might go into pet ownership with a firm idea of your ideal animal, be prepared to come away surprised. Most adoptive pet parents report choosing animals that they felt the best connection with, rather than based on physical appearances. Sounds a lot like finding your four-legged soulmate!
Shelters have a great selection of mixed breeds, young and senior animals, and even purebreds. These nonprofits have pertinent information about pets’ pasts and their temperaments – even matching programs – to help find you your perfect furry companion. If your heart is still set on a specific breed, they can usually point you to a local breed-specific rescue, or call you when one ends up in their shelter.
5) You can get an animal without ‘issues’ – and perhaps, the perfect pet!
Some people are misguided into thinking shelter animals have something wrong with them. That assertion is not only incorrect, but you’re actually getting the opposite! Animals often end up in shelters through no fault of their own. Many animals enter shelters because an owner has had to give them up due to relocation, financial hardships, a new baby, or health problems.
With a shelter companion, you’re getting paw’s down the best animal care and matching capabilities. Shelter animals are also given vaccinations, are house-trained, and usually know basic commands – which is often the opposite in getting a new puppy or a kitten where you need to train them.
You’ll also pay less in adoption fees than you will with a purebred pet, and many animals will already have been socialized and can safely interact with adult humans, children, and other animals.
Any prospective pet owner might find themselves asking the question: should I adopt, or should I shop for my ideal animal? The choice is ultimately yours, but there are a few things to consider before making a decision.
For those with a specific purpose in mind for their pet (like showing or competing), or for those who want a specific color and breed of animal, shopping from a breeder may be more enticing. Pure-bred pets are often portrayed as physically and temperamentally superior to the mixed breeds commonly found in shelters.
While many argue that shelter pets have a ‘mystery’ medical or genetic background, there is no guarantee that animals sold by a breeder will have a perfect bill of health. On the contrary, purebred animals can have the same amount of medical problems (or more) than rescue animals, and are far more expensive than adopting a pet from your local shelter.
Any purebred animal – especially dogs – can be prone to genetic disorders. These health problems can range from breathing difficulties to hip dysplasia to an enlarged heart as a result of inbreeding. And while bloodlines and histories are useful tools to assess an animal’s value, they are limited in terms of predicting behavior.
Breeders should be very carefully vetted by prospective pet owners, to ensure they comply with the widely recognized Breeder Code of Ethics. While this code ensures positive aspects like the safety and health of animals and their litters, it also allows for female dogs to be breeded up to 6 times – and therefore forced to separate with puppies in her litter 6 times over.
Approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.6 million dogs and 1.6 million cats). That means we’re banding together more than ever to adopt a pet from a shelter – and adopting a pet has never been easier. Your local animal shelters and communities are eager to help their animals find a forever home, and will do all that they can to make the experience beneficial for everyone.
When you adopt a pet from a shelter, you’re assisting a not-for-profit organization and sending a message to others about shelter pet adoption. Family and friends will be asking you for years to come where you obtained your adorable pet. When your friends ask where you got your amazing pet, you can tell them “at the shelter” – and your adoption story just might encourage others to follow in your footsteps.