I adopted Frankie from Friends of Freddie Rescue on Long Island this weekend. He was brought to the shelter after being removed from a hoarder’s house where he was unable to be cared for properly due to the sheer number of animals (over 40). He’s super sweet but very nervous and shy. He has spent the last 2 days hiding under my kitchen table, but I’m already starting to see signs of him opening up. He didn’t know how to walk on a leash 2 days ago, but now he loves going for walks, and I think he might turn out to be a pretty good running companion.
In honor of Frankie, this blog post is dedicated to the best reasons to adopt a shelter pet!
1. You’ll be saving a life
No one knows exactly how many animals enter shelters every year, but most estimates put the number somewhere around 8 million. Of those 8 million pets, 2.7 healthy, adoptable animals are euthanized due to lack of space and an inability to find them homes. The pet overpopulation problem is REAL. And even reputable breeders are knowingly and purposefully contributing to it. Every time you buy a pet from a breeder, it encourages them to continue to breed which increases the number of pets who need homes without doing anything to increase the number of homes available.
2. You know what you’re getting
Many people think buying a dog from a breeder will help them to know what kind of dog they’re getting. While it’s true that some breeds and genetic lines may have a propensity towards certain characteristics, every dog is an individual. Most shelters and rescues screen pets for behavioral problems as well as medical conditions such as intestinal parasites, and heartworm disease. Many rescue pets also get a chance to live with foster families who can tell you about how the pet acts at home, if they get along well with children and other pets, how much exercise they need, and other factors that will help you determine which pet is right for you.
3. It’s less work
Many rescue animals are a little older and already come pre-trained. That means no waking up in the middle of the night to take them out, no cleaning pee off your new carpet and no constantly replacing chewed up shoes. Of course some rescue animals need a little more TLC if they’re still puppies or were neglected by their previous owners and if you’re ready for the challenge, all the more power to you! But the misconception that most shelter dogs were brought there because there is something wrong with them is just that—a misconception.
4. Shelter pets are unique
If you’re looking for a specific breed, you can still get a shelter dog. In fact 25% of shelter animals are purebreds. There are breed specific rescues to check out as well. But if you want a truly unique pet, check out that Chocolate Lab-Border Collie-Weimaraner mix, or the Dachshund-Shih Tzu in the corner cage. Or get a dog no one can identify and place bets on what the genetic testing will come back as.
5. It’s cheaper
Buying a dog from a breeder can easily cost $1000-$2000. Then there’s the vet bills: 3-4 rounds of vaccines, getting them fixed, flea, tick and heartworm medications… Shelters usually require a donation of a couple hundred dollars, but that generally includes the basic vaccines, a microchip, spaying or neutering, and sometimes even a couple months of parasite prevention. And that donation doesn’t go into someone’s pocket, it goes right back into helping other homeless animals.
It can create a stronger bond
Shelter pets don’t always have the easiest start to life. Many of them were neglected, abandoned by their families when times got tough, or hoarded in houses with dozens of other animals by someone with a good heart but no means to care for them. A little TLC can go a long way with a pet like that. Seeing these dogs flourish despite their rough start can be immensely rewarding and your pet will be forever grateful to you for their new, awesome life!