While many people understand and appreciate the benefits of adopting an animal from a local shelter, others still do not “get it.” According to a survey, many young adults believe buying from a breeder is a better option than adopting from a shelter. They believe shelter animals are less desirable than those they can buy from a breeder or pet store. What they don’t understand is that some animals bought from breeders and most animals bought from pet stores come from puppy mills where the breeding animals live in filth and disease their entire, usually short, lives.
How do we go about convincing people that shelter animals are appropriate additions to our homes? First, a shelter animal is already here. He/she was born whether intentionally or unintentionally. To buy from a puppy mill or “backyard” breeder encourages those sources to continue making money off the backs of their breeding animals. If you want to be part of the humane movement, rescuing a dog or cat from a shelter rather than supporting the abuse rampant in mills and with irresponsible breeders is definitely the way to go.
Another reason shelter animals are preferable is often they are spayed/neutered, up-to-date on shots, and full grown. If you want a puppy or kitten, many shelters have an abundance of those, too. Additionally, many shelter animals already have some basic obedience training and are often house trained as well.
To encourage people to adopt, shelters need to go outside the borders of their building. They need to advertise to the community where they are, they must have hours compatible with the time potential adopters have available, and they must encourage the community to support their programs with their time, talent, and money.
Most of us who have companion animals recognize the benefits they bring to us. But what benefits do we bring to them? If we are supporting commercial breeding facilities, we are bringing nothing but death and despair to them; if we are supporting our local shelters, we are bringing hope and a “fur”ever life. When you think about it…why wouldn’t you adopt your next companion from an animal shelter?