Are you thinking about adding a new pet to your household? Be sure to check out your local animal shelters and rescue groups. Unfortunately, many people go to pet stores or breeders and overlook shelters and rescue groups. Not everyone realizes that shelters and rescue groups are a great place to find a pet. Here are my top 5 reasons to adopt from a shelter or rescue group.
1. Loving shelter pets are being euthanized every day
Our country has a serious pet overpopulation problem. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), “6 to 8 million animals end up in shelters in the United States every year.” Unfortunately, not all animals that enter shelters find a home. It is estimated that 2.7 million healthy shelter pets are not adopted and 3-4 million animals are still being euthanized each year. Sadly, the HSUS website reports that only about 30% of pets in homes come from shelters or rescues. This means that there is room for more people to adopt from shelters and help with our country’s pet overpopulation problem. Shelters and rescue groups are full of deserving animals in need of a loving home. Give these animals a chance and be part of the solution by looking for your next pet at a shelter or rescue group.
2. Shelters have outstanding selection
Have you ever been to a pet store with over one hundred animals? I didn’t think so. While the number of animals in shelters reflects the seriousness of our pet overpopulation problem, it also means you’re more likely to find the perfect pet. Shelters have animals of all types, breeds, ages and sexes. They have mixed-breeds of every shape, size, coat, and personality. Shelters also have purebred cats and dogs, from Abyssinians to Yorkies (there are no breeds that start with Z), and everything in between. With so many animals to choose from, you can find the perfect cat to cuddle, or your ideal canine jogging buddy.
3. Shelters have great values
Did you know that by adopting your new pet from a shelter or rescue group, you could save a lot of money? While this shouldn't be your primary motivation, it’s like getting reward miles for doing a good deed. The adoption fee for dogs and cats at shelters is considerably less than most pet stores or breeders. Some shelters even offer reduced adoption rates for “senior” dogs and cats, and some occasionally offer a two-for-one deal. Meaning you can adopt two cats for the price of one at certain times of year (usually during the summer when shelters are full of cats and kittens).
4. You could save on veterinary costs
As if the low adoption fees weren’t enticing enough, most shelter pets are already spayed or neutered, saving you the cost of those surgeries. In addition, many shelter animals have their initial vaccinations, are dewormed, and are microchipped. Many shelters also test cats for FeLV, and depending on the area, some test dogs for heartworm disease. Many shelters also give new adoptive pet parents a voucher for a free veterinary examination at a local participating veterinary clinic, and some even offer a free training class.
5. A shelter pet will be your friend for life
As a shelter veterinarian, I see many wonderful animals in need of a home. I have been fortunate to find homes for some of these animals with friends, acquaintances, neighbors, my husband’s coworkers, anyone willing to hear my pitch, and even my own home (my dog and two of my three cats came from a shelter). The beautiful thing about adopting an animal from a shelter is that it’s mutually beneficial: you are giving a deserving animal a loving home, and in exchange, you are getting a lifelong companion and friend.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.