We’re starting this week off with a great guest post with practical steps (and some cute photos!).
Hello everyone! My name is Angie and I blog over at My So-Called Chaos. I want to say a big THANK YOU to Nina for letting me take over today, and for being an all-around fantastic blog to sponsor. If you haven’t been by my little space on the internet yet, let me tell you a little bit about me before we get started with this guest post. As a twenty-nine year old single girl who just bought my first home (all by myself) in Salt Lake City, I recently found myself feeling a little bit lonely, and also kind of nervous about a new space and being there by myself. The answer? Finally getting that dog I’d always wanted over the years of living in places where I couldn’t have one.
I’ve been working with local shelters and rescue organizations in my area for years. It was a fun way to spend some time with dogs when I wasn’t able to take one home, and they need all the help they can get. If you’re thinking about adding a new four-legged friend to your family, I would whole-heartedly urge you to consider adopting a rescue animal instead of making your way down to the pet store. Ignore the slew of misinformation out there about how you “have to have a puppy so you can train it” or how you “don’t know a rescue animal’s history” or other similar antics, and read these reasons why I highly recommend adopting a rescue animal.
Note: Before you read on, please know that I’m not judging you if you didn’t adopt your pets-trust me, I’ve had both rescues and non-rescues and they all need love. I have no intention of alienating or calling anyone out-I simply want to spread awareness. The point of this article is to show why I believe you should consider adopting, and how you can help end homelessness in these cherished pets that aren’t as lucky as the ones you already have in your life.
You don’t want a puppy.
Okay, well maybe you do want a puppy-or at least you think you do. Baby animals are adorable, so we all think we want puppies or kittens when we consider getting an animal. The problem is, puppies are a million times more work than an adult dog, and not everyone actually has the time and energy to put in that work. There’s no fault in it, seriously, as long as you’re willing to admit that up front and consider getting an adult dog you’re good!
Puppies need to be housebroken, taught not to chew, and they also require you be home most (if not all) of the day to take care of them. Puppies need to be taken outside to potty at least every 2 hours or so, and an adult dog can go a good 8-10 hours if needed. If you work, and don’t have someone else at home, a puppy is a really bad idea. There are so many wonderful adult dogs at shelters and rescues who have already been housebroken, are out of the chewing stage, and who have even been taught a lot of basic obedience. The majority of the hard work is done for you already! That’s lovely.
It’ll save you money.
I saw a graphic one time that compared the cost of adopting a rescue pet to that of buying a pet from the pet store. For example, buying a dog can cost you a good $500-$1,000+, an then you have to add on another few hundred dollars for spay/neuter and vaccinations. Adopting a dog typically costs between $50-$200 and all of the vaccinations and spay/neuter have been done for you. That’s an incredible savings.
Your money does more good.
Not only will you be saving money, but the money you are paying out goes back into a good cause. It goes back into the shelter/rescue organization so they can save, house, and feed more animals in need. It’s kind of wonderful to be doing double good.
Rescue animals have lots of love to give.
Yes, all animals have love to give, but you’ll never know true un-ending devotion until you bring home a rescue animal who knows what it’s like to be without that kind of love. I can vouch for this whole-heartedly after bringing my rescue pitbull home from the Salt Lake Count Animal Shelter. Every time he looks at me, it is with the most intense gratitude and admiration you’ve ever seen. My heart melts every time, and I know he’s happy I saved him.
You’ll be a real life super hero and that’s satisfying.
Along with all that love, every time I look at my dog I can see that I’m a hero in his eyes. Not only will you be his hero, but you’ll be a hero to the countless volunteers and shelter workers who are tired of seeing animals sad and struggling in cages or put to sleep-all because they don’t have a home. Rescue organizations, shelters, and volunteers on all fronts try so hard to find every pet a home or take in as many as they can even if it’s temporary. But these people can only do so much. They can only handle/house so many animals at once. They’re always looking for new people to adopt some of their beloved animals, or even open their home up to fostering.
All animals have “issues.”
We’ve all heard the pet store and backyard breeders claim that you shouldn’t adopt a dog because you “don’t know what it’s issues are” and that they’re “in the shelter for a reason,” but that’s only half true. Yes, you don’t know what their issues are-and you will have to work through them. Personally, Bub is terrified of everything and shakes uncontrollably when around new people, and he can react aggressively when cornered by someone he doesn’t trust. It’s something we’re working on-but you know what? This could happen with a dog you raise from puppy-hood too.
Animals, just like people, have their own set of personalities and mental issues. Dogs can be depressed, have anxiety, and just plain not like people. When I was a teenager we got a puppy from my grandmother’s dog who’d had a litter. That dog loved me intensely, but my sister? Not so much. He’d been around her since the day he was born, but he just didn’t like her that much-it happens. You’re going to have issues no matter where or when you get the dog, so you might as well strike this excuse from your book.
Plus, that whole “they’re in the shelter for a reason” excuse is 100% false. So many of the dogs and cats in your local shelter were simply lost. Many were turned over by owners who were moving and “couldn’t take the dog” or who turned the dog over because their “new partner is allergic” etc. 90% of the time the only thing wrong with the dog is that they’re homeless. The only thing wrong with them is that they loved a human unconditionally who just didn’t love them enough back.
Buying from pet stores often supports Puppy Mills.
Puppy Mills are probably the biggest reason I’d recommend never getting a puppy at a pet store again (unless you’re 100% certain it didn’t come from one). The ASPCA defines a Puppy Mill as “A large-scale commercial dog breeding facility where profit is given priority over the well-being of dogs.” These facilities most often (not always, but often) treat the animals horribly-they don’t get fed often enough, they live in their own waste, and they never know a loving hand. Often, when they are no longer able to breed, they are just killed or left to die because they are of no use anymore. It’s tragic, and unfortunately it’s not a regulated industry so there is no way to keep tabs on how they’re taking care of their animals. Many animals rescued from raids on facilities like this need severe rehabilitation.
No, not all pet stores are like this, but a lot of them are. I would recommend always doing your research on where the animals in a place like that come from, or just skipping that whole part of the process and heading on down to your local shelter or rescue. In some cities (like my own) they’re starting to pass ordinances where pet stores can only provide dogs that come from shelters and rescues, and that’s amazing. It’s just one step in putting all puppy mills out of operation, and that’s wonderful!
There’s a wide variety of animals to choose from.
Not entirely sure what kind of dog or cat you want? With so many options in shelters and rescues you can easily go in and meet several to see how you get along with them. It isn’t limited to one litter that’s available at the time-there are tons of different sizes, ages, temperments, colors, etc. You can truly go in and spend some time with the animal before making the decision to take it home.
You want a full-breed animal.
Would you believe me if I told you there are plenty of pure-bred animals in shelters and rescues all over the country (if not the world)? There are. People buy pure-bred dogs and abandon them just like any other animal. If you’re looking for a certain breed it may take a little more work than just walking into your local shelter on a whim, but using a service like Petfinder allows you to search by breed and see what organizations have them near you. Most shelters and rescues will also take requests, so you can ask them to look out for one and call you if one comes in.
Also, just so you’re 100% in the know here, those fancy cross-bred dogs that people are paying $$$ for-like “Labra/Goldendoodles”, “Morkies”, or “Shih Poos” are mutts. These are mixed-breed dogs that people have somehow labeled “designer” and managed to get people to spend an entire paycheck for them. First, can we please stop calling these living creatures (that should be family) “designer” like they’re some kind of handbag? Second, yes, shelters and rescues have these dogs too. I’ve seen several of them over the years-they’re great dogs, but you can adopt them and do a good deed too instead of paying half your monthly income to a breeder.
You’ll have a support system.
When you adopt or rescue a dog, the organization you got them from will typically keep in touch or be there if you need them. Have a question about the animal’s history? Call the rescue or foster-parent and ask. Need a recommendation of a good vet? My shelter provided an entire list plus two free months of pet insurance. They even took Bub in for a checkup the first time he needed to see someone there. These places just want the animal to have a good life, and they want you to have a good life with the animal, so they’ll do whatever they can to help out. As opposed to just purchasing an animal and walking out of the store.
Can’t adopt a pet right now but want to help out? That’s wonderful! Here are some ways you can:
- Foster. Local rescues and organizations are always looking for someone who can take an animal in temporarily while they find a home. This is also a good way to “try out” having a pet-if you love that pet you can always be a “foster failure” (which we love-it’s no failure at all really) and adopt the pet fully, or if you and that animal aren’t a good fit you just keep them healthy and warm until they find someone who is a good fit for them.
- Volunteer. If you can’t actually take an animal into your home in any way, volunteering is just as good. You can totally do both too. Check out local rescues and shelters and see if they need help walking dogs, playing with the cats, cleaning cages, etc. I’ve had so much fun going and spending a few ours with dogs and cats at local shelters-it does a world of good for both of you.
- Donate. Even a small amount of money can go a long way with shelters and rescues. They have lots of mouths to feed, beds to buy, blankets to wash… They’ll take whatever they can get-and it doesn’t always have to be monetary. If you have some dog food or toys/beds/blankets in good condition they’ll take those too!
- Spread the word. If all else fails you can spread the word on these animals looking for a home. A simple Facebook share, retweet, etc. could lead to a homeless animal finding their forever home-and make you a hero in the easiest way.
Thanks for reading today, and if you’d like to keep up with me feel free to stop by my blog, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I promise lots of cute doggy pictures along with lots of other great content. Also, if you have any questions or concerns about this topic feel free to ask! I’m always happy to help.