This holiday weekend, are you thinking of taking the big step and welcoming a furry friend into your family? Bringing home any pet, whether it is a dog, cat, turtle or guinea pig, is an important decision that will change both your world and the animal’s world for the better. When beginning the search, consider rescuing your new family member.
According to the ASPCA, each year, approximately 7.6million companion animals enter animal shelters. However, around 2.7 million animals are euthanized each year. Shelters across the country continually find themselves overcrowded and begging for angels to come forward in the form of adopters, fosters and donations. How many times do you find yourself scrolling through your Facebook or Twitter page and see post after post saying, “URGENT – time is running out!” Animal rescue and advocacy plays a critical part in the efforts to lower these numbers through education, rehabilitation, spay and neuter assistance and more.
So what can you do to help? Visit your local shelter and “adopt versus shop.” The benefits of this range far beyond the unconditional love you will soon receive.
Why rescue? Check out just a few reasons why you should rescue – though the list of benefits is endless:
- You’ll save not one but two shelter pets
Millions of animals are euthanized each year due to overcrowding and the need to make space for the growing line of incoming animals. Rescuing a pet saves not only your chosen family member but will free up space for another animal to enter the shelter and be on their way to find a loving family as well.
- You’re standing up against puppy mills
Too many times buying from a pet store or “ordering” online (yes, this actually happens) means you’re buying directly from a puppy mill. Puppy mills use the animals as breeding machines, leaving the dogs in lonely, inhumane conditions to suffer as their puppies are taken away to be sold. Profit is placed above the needs and wellbeing of the dogs and once the females can no longer breed, they are considered useless and sometimes killed. Rescuing from your local shelter means not supporting places such as this.
- The well-trained staff will help find the right fit and provide the necessary education
Worried about how your new pet will fit in with the family? Not sure how to properly train your newly adopted dog? No need to worry about this when rescuing. Most shelters require meet and greets with all family members before adoption, as this ensures everyone gets along properly and neither the humans nor pets are put at risk or feel distressed. Even after adoption, rescues are there to support adoptive families in many ways including offering behavior consultations, dog training classes and general pet care tips. While pet stores and puppy mills just care about whether or not you can pay the hefty price for the animal (sometimes into the thousands, requiring families finance and make payments), rescues truly care about the wellbeing of the pet and will ensure your family finds the right fit.
- You’ll save money
Though cost saving isn’t the main goal in rescue, an adoption fee can end up saving you money in comparison to the cost at the pet store. Once brought in, shelters and rescues usually cover the initial veterinary costs, including the general wellness exam, spay or neuter, vaccinations and sometimes even the microchip. Once adopted, many times the pet only needs a final wellness exam and any vaccination boosters. If there are any health issues or further medical care needed, the rescues make this readily known and assist the adoptive family accordingly.
Once you’ve learned the benefits of rescue, choosing adopting versus shopping is an easy decision to make. Not sure where to start? Check out Petfinder’s search engine to find your local shelter and adoptable animals available now – you’ll have a lifelong companion in no time.