Animal shelters across the country are full of cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and other pets just waiting for someone to come and adopt them. These animals wind up in shelters for a variety of reasons. Some are rescued by animal-protection personnel from abusive situations. Others are found as strays wandering alone on the streets. And others are surrendered by their owners who cannot or will not continue caring for them. Each pet is looking for a loving "forever" home, and making that home yours offers you as many benefits as it does your new friend.
Adopting Means Saving a Life
The pets sold at pet stores often come from questionable sources. Those adorable faces looking at you from inside crates or behind glass are likely to have been born in a puppy mill or backyard breeding operation where conditions range from deplorable to downright cruel. Bringing home a shelter pet supports humane animal treatment by taking money away from these operations and putting it into facilities that truly care for animals.
Unfortunately, there are so many pets waiting to be adopted that 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized in the United States each year due to lack of space. Choosing shelters over pet stores or breeders saves animals from this sad fate.
Finding a Good Fit
When you go to a shelter, you get to meet all kinds of animals. Different breeds, including mixed breeds and the ever-popular "mutt," are all available to hold, pet and play with. Bring your family along and let the kids interact as well so you can find a pet that the whole family adores. From boisterous and playful to laid-back and mellow, you can choose from every type of animal personality at your local shelter.
Healthy Pets With Good Care
Shelter workers and volunteers love animals and do all that they can to make sure that the pets in their facilities are happy and healthy. Animals entering a shelter are usually vaccinated for common diseases and given behavioral screenings to determine their unique personalities. Shelters that don't spay and neuter incoming animals often offer discounted services to those who adopt to help control pet overpopulation. Plus, many animals at shelters have already been housetrained or received some kind of training from their previous families.
Lasting Love and Devotion
Most shelter pets are used to being with people, so they're already familiar with human interaction. Most just want to share their love and be loved in return. Choosing a shelter pet means getting a friend who will offer companionship and devotion. It's been shown that pet owners are happier and healthier than those who don't share their love with animals, so you'll enjoy health benefits as well as lasting friendship.
If you're looking to add a furry friend to your family, consider visiting your local animal shelter. The pets there want good homes as much as you want good companionship. When you bring home a loving, devoted animal from a shelter, you can feel good about helping another living being have a better life.