I have gone from skeeved out by animal poop and ambivalent about dogs to obsessed lunatic in 4 years. No, wait. It only took about a month after adopting Babka to be in that camp. I’ve had nearly four years to hone my skill, and I am here to beg of you: Next time you are looking for a pet – dog, cat, bunny or other – adopt don’t shop. Here are 10 reasons why:
- According to the Humane Society of the United States, nearly 2.7 million pets are euthanized
each year. Most of those that are killed (let’s call it what it is) are healthy and adoptable but have made the critical error of either getting sick or being scared. Save a life, and be part of the solution by adopting.
- When we took Babka home, we made room in her crate at Paws 2 Care Coalition for another dog. Save two lives.
- Rescue dogs keep you guessing. We had taken Babka out to lunch one day a few years ago when we were approached by a woman seated nearby. She said “Your dog is so cute. I’d love to know what breed she is.” Yes, she is adorable. “So would I,” I replied. When we got Latke, and I took her to the vet, I mentioned that we thought she was part Rat Terrier and part Maltese. (FKGuy likes to call her a Mall Rat.) The vet agreed, and when pressed for more information, just shrugged, and decided there could be some Shih Tzu involved, too, due to her terrible teeth. We will never know, and frankly, the guessing game is ongoing fun.
- Don’t like surprises? Get a purebred. Many shelters are loaded with purebred animals. One
trip to the Humane Society, I met a Bichon Frise, Jack Russell, Maltese among others. All purebred. All available for adoption.
- You can be choosy. Rescue groups want you to be happy with your new pet. They want him to find a forever home, and they want to move on to saving another animal. In order to achieve all of this, they will work with you to find a pet that suits your lifestyle (active or sedate, energetic or quiet, etc). Good luck getting that kind of assistance from a pet store.
- They come ready to go, batteries included. When my mother heard we were getting a girl dog, she looked horrified “Oh! I guess you want puppies?” which was code for “What the hell is wrong with you?” We got to explain that dogs come from a shelter already spayed or neutered, up to date with shots and microchipped. They are ready for a life of fun, cuddling and long walks. Unless it is hot out, then maybe shorter walks.
- Stop supporting puppy mills and backyard breeders. Let’s get a couple of things clear.
They treat their animals like garbage. Once they are done breeding they are often killed. Animals are kept in tiny cages in their own filth. Most animals sold at pet stores are from puppy mills. Period. I once had someone tell me – with a straight face – that she got a dog from a breeder because adopting just supports puppy mills. She is sadly mistaken. Read what the ASPCA has to say about puppy mills here.
- If one of your new year’s resolutions was to start an exercise program, getting a dog can help. They don’t walk themselves, you know. Get yourself a fitbit (or some other fitness tracker) and see just how much a dog can improve your fitness.
- They come with a support manual. OK, that is not entirely true, but if you are like I was (a complete dog-owning idiot, terrified of screwing up within the first week), often times the shelter folks will help you out and answer questions. I once texted Ana, from Paws 2 Care at 6AM. She called me back immediately, and put me at ease. I would recommend having more boundaries than I do.
- While this is not specific to rescue animals, nobody is happier to see you come home than the dog.