Thinking about adding a canine or feline friend to the family? How exciting! Like most soon-to-be pet parents, you probably can’t wait to spoil your four-legged companion with quality dog chew treats or buy them a top-notch cat tree with a great view. But before you turn to a breeder or pet store for that new puppy or kitty, consider adopting from a local rescue or animal shelter instead. Beyond saving lives and money, you’ll be giving an abandoned animal the best gift ever—a safe and happy home where they can finally relax.
Still not convinced? Here are eight reasons why adopting a pet is the best way to find a life-long loving companion.
Adopting a pet saves multiple lives.
According to the ASPCA, 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. shelters each year. But sadly, not all of them make it out alive—approximately 1.5 million shelter pets are euthanized annually, partly due to overcrowding. By adopting a furry friend, you’re not only saving their life, but you’re also saving another pet’s life by freeing up more space in shelters. That’s something any pet parent can feel good about!
You’ll have a great selection.
Perhaps you really want to adopt, but you’re dead set on getting a purebred beagle. Or maybe, your family wants a young cat, but you’d like to skip the kitten phase. Either way, a shelter or animal rescue might be your best option. Unlike breeders and pet shops, animal rescues and shelters offer a wide range of mixed breeds, purebreds, and companion animals of all ages and sizes. If you’re looking for something specific in your new furry friend, Petfinder is a great place to start your search. Simply click on “Find a Pet” and use the drop-down menus to sort by age, breed, size, gender, and more.
Shelter staff can help you find your perfect pet match.
Just because you want a specific breed or characteristic in a dog or a cat doesn’t necessarily mean that the pet will be a good match for your family. This is where shelter staff can be an enormous asset in your search for the right family member. After all, who knows a rescue pet better than the people caring for them on a regular basis?
Because shelter and rescue staff want nothing more than to help pets find their forever homes, they’re usually more than happy to help you find the perfect match. Talk to them about what your ideal pet is like, and they’ll hook you up with a furry friend that checks off every box.
Your pet will be forever grateful.
Shelter pets are known for being amazingly loyal and devoted companions simply because they’re so appreciative of the newfound food, love, and attention. Just imagine how you might feel going from a loud, stressful kennel with few toys and treats to a comfortable home full of love, affection, and treats galore. You’d be pretty grateful, too, right?
Just because your pet will be grateful for a loving home doesn’t mean they won’t need time to adjust to their new surroundings, however. For a smoother transition, keep the mood calm and relaxed. If you’re bringing home an adopted cat, try a calming pheromone to help them adjust quickly. Adopting a canine companion? Be prepared to redirect unwanted chewing with tasty bully sticks and other tasty chew treats.
Adopting a pet helps reduce pet overpopulation.
Pet overpopulation is a massive problem that results in thousands of healthy dogs and cats being euthanized each year. The sad reality is that we have too many pets and not enough homes for them all. By choosing to adopt, you’re helping combat the problem of pet overpopulation in several ways. First, you’re giving a stray pet a good home, which means one less pet roaming the streets.
Additionally, you’re likely adopting an animal that comes neutered or spayed, eliminating the possibility of your pet producing any offspring. This helps free up more space and resources for the shelter to bring in and sterilize more pets, further reducing pet overpopulation.
It also helps stop puppy mills.
Think twice before you buy that adorable puppy in the pet store window. Chances are, it came from a puppy mill, an inhumane breeding facility that mass produces puppies for profit. Dogs from puppy mills are known to live in absolutely atrocious conditions (think cramped cages and constant exposure to urine and feces) and are often sick or suffer serious behavioral problems as a result. By choosing to adopt a pet from a reputable rescue or animal shelter, you can ensure that your money supports animal welfare—not puppy mills.
Adopting a pet is usually less expensive.
Buying a purebred dog or cat can run you thousands of dollars, depending on the breed you want. In comparison, shelter pets are much cheaper. While rates vary from shelter to shelter, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $350 for a shelter animal. In fact, some shelters even run discounts for black cats, senior pets, and other animals that are more likely to be overlooked in the adoption process.
Not to mention, they already come spayed or neutered and microchipped. The less money you shell out for your new furry friend, the more money you’ll have to spoil them with treats and toys!
You get a lifetime resource.
One of the most underrated perks of adopting a pet is the lifelong support and resources available to pet parents. In addition to sending new pet parents off with food, pamphlets, and invaluable advice, many shelters and rescue organizations provide a host of resources designed to set you and your new pet up for success. For example, some shelters offer behavior and training programs, recommendations for local animal clinics, and financial support.
Getting Your New Best Friend from a Shelter
If you choose to adopt a pet, don’t try to rush the process. Pets are a lifetime commitment, so you want to choose the perfect furry family member. Keep in mind that some animals can be initially shy toward strangers, but magically turn into a whole new pet once they get to know you. Give your new pet time to warm up to you, and you’ll soon be rewarded with a loyal and loving companion.