All the pets in my family have been adopted from a shelter (with the exception of my hamster which I got when my neighbors’ had babies). Pets in general are good for many reasons but adopting from a shelter (as opposed to a breeder, etc.) has many benefits as well.
Puppy and kitten season is upon us! Spring has sprung and the birds, bees, and most other creatures know it. My local shelter said they are getting 5-12 kittens in each week.
If you are in the market for a new pet, consider cruising over to your local shelter to see if you bond with any of their guests. Here are my top ten reasons to adopt a pet from a shelter.
Reasons to adopt a shelter pet:
- You save a life.
This one is pretty obvious…by rescuing a shelter pet you are saving their life. You are giving them a home. You are giving them another chance at happiness and love.
- Pets are good for your health and longevity.
Pets are great for your mental health…having someone to talk to, care for and pet. They are also often good for your physical health (an obvious exception in the case of allergies). Dogs need to be walked, so if you adopt a dog you can bet you’re going to get your steps in too. Cats tend to be more laid-back, but through my own shelter cat’s Instagram account I have discovered many cats who love to go for walks on a leash (with a harness). Pets also give you something to smile and laugh about. Caring for a pet gives you a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and they help lessen feelings of loneliness. Studies show owning a pet is proven to decrease stress, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels – your heart will thank you in more ways than one.
- You can take advantage of adopting an adult pet.
Puppies and kittens are tiny balls of energy…with teeth and claws. They are adorable, but they can also wreak havoc in a new home. If you don’t have the patience to deal with the energy and mischief of a little one, an older pet might be just what you need! Older pets in shelters are looking for homes too and are often gentle.
- You save money.
Shelter pets are less expensive to adopt than cats and dogs from special breeders. Plus, your adoption fee or generous donation goes directly to helping the other shelter animals waiting to find their “furrever homes”.
- They can teach life lessons.
Children who have pets learn important life lessons like responsibility and empathy through caring for their furry one. Pets also make great companions for children and make excellent family members. (Adults also learn responsibility and empathy through pet ownership – some also learn how to use a carpet cleaner.)
- You help break the cycle of pet overpopulation.
In my experience with the pets I have adopted from shelters, your adoption fee also includes the cost of spaying/neutering. This is what Bob Barker always told us about – spaying/neutering helps control overpopulation.
- You are adopting a pet who has had good care (since they got to the shelter).
Shelters provide shelter, food and water, and human interaction for the animals in their charge. Most animals in their custody were either picked up by animal control or surrendered to them. Often the shelter workers and volunteers love on and play with the animals in the shelter. The animals are also getting fed regularly unlike if they were out on the mean streets.
- They already had necessary health screenings.
Shelters do the basic health screenings before making their animals available for adoption, this makes adopting from a shelter a safer bet than taking a stray in off the streets.
- You won’t be supporting puppy mills or backyard breeders.
This is a plus is because at a shelter your adoption fee goes to help pay for the care, food and shelter for the other homeless animals, not someone’s pocket. Shelters are not in it for profit. They generally, genuinely, care about the animals in their charge and do their best to see that they are treated humanely and go to good, loving, homes.
- Many shelter pets receive training and socialization before adoption to make their transition to a new home easier.
Most of the training that is available is for dogs, but to first-time dog or puppy “pawrents” this training could be very valuable. Sometimes kittens are set together for little playdates, and that helps with their socialization (as opposed to being isolated in a cage).
*Not all shelters offer training or socialization opportunities so check with your local shelter for more details.
Plus, you could end up with a cutie like this one: