Because of overpopulation and irresponsible owners, there is a large number of unwanted pets in this country. In fact, homelessness is the number one killer of pets. Although many shelters, humane societies and pounds try to save as many pets as possible – they are simply overwhelmed.
This means that there are literally thousands of dogs and cats just waiting for someone to come along and rescue them so they can have a forever home.
When searching for a new dog or cat, many people seek a certain breed – and research a lot of information about that breed. It’s true that most breeders are trying to do something positive for their favorite breed. However, because of limited genetic lines, getting a purebred dog can mean medical problems. Examples are endless: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels get heart disease, Golden Retrievers get cancer, Pugs get airway problems and Maine Coon cats get heart disease.
Animals in shelters are most commonly cross bred, with genes from many different breeds. Simply put, they are less likely to have genetic diseases. This by no means that they will not get sick, they are simply less likely to suffer from inheritable diseases.
Shelter pets have many more advantages than that though including financial ones. The typical dog purchased from a breeder can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars just to purchase the pet. Most humane societies ask for a much smaller donation than that to adopt a pet. Pets adopted from a humane society almost always come already spayed or neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped. Not only are they vaccinated, but many have been tested for infectious diseases such as worms, parvovirus, and feline leukemia. This can mean less visits to the vet in the first year of ownership. Many humane societies also offer services to their adopted pets at reduced or no cost – such as health insurance, dog training or a discount on in-store purchases for pet supplies.
Many humane societies will help you pick out the pet that is best suited for your lifestyle. They are usually more than happy to counsel you when choosing the right pet for you. Many shelters also behavior test pets to make sure they are good with kids and other pets when necessary.
Finally, most humane societies and animal welfare organization have programs to support the community of pets around them, so you know you are supporting a worthy cause when you adopt a pet from or donate to a humane society.
Visit your local humane society, shelter or pound to see what pets are waiting for you!