The first week of November every year is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. This (and every other day) is a great time to spread the word about the importance of adopting a pet from an animal shelter instead of buying one. Experienced pet parents probably know many compelling reasons to adopt, but if you’re newly considering a pet, you may need to hear some.
Adopting Saves Lives
Annually in America, up to 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized, according to the Humane Society of the United States. This is largely due to the number of people who abandon their pets. Overcrowded animal shelters with tight budgets can’t sustain the numbers of cats and dogs that end up in their charge. Save the life of one of these animals by adopting from a local shelter.
Adoption Provides Healthy Pets
Shelters take good care of their animals, providing them with essential veterinary attention and an abundance of love and attention. Shelter animals are generally vaccinated and often spayed and neutered. Many shelters even screen the temperament of incoming animals so families know what sort of pet they’ll get. This service helps ensure shelter animals find lasting homes. Also, the perception that animals wind up in shelters because of abuse or behavioral problems is a misconception.
Adopting is Cheaper
Adopting from a shelter costs much less than buying from another source. You’ll also save on medical costs if your new pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and spayed or neutered. Shelters pets are also generally free of parasites, infections, or other easily treated health conditions.
Adoption Provides Better Selection
There’s a good selection of potential pets at a relatively large shelter. Breeders tend to specialize, and most pet stores have a fairly limited selection. You never know what you’ll find at an animal shelter. You may be surprised to fall in love with an animal you never considered. And again, the shelter can typically tell you more about the animal’s individual personality than a salesperson or breeder.
Adopting Means You’re Not Supporting Breeders
While there are certainly reputable breeders, many are unethical and inhumane. Purchasing a pet from a breeder supports an industry associated with animal abuse and other serious problems. Animals in “puppy mills” and other mass-breeding facilities are often kept in horrible conditions and neglected, not receiving any of the interaction, stimulation, or medical attention they need. Animals used for breeding tend to be abandoned or put down once they aren’t profitable. There’s also the chance of unknowingly buying an animal with behavioral or health problems.
If you’re not ready to adopt, there are other ways to support your local animal shelter. You can donate money, supplies, or even volunteer your time.