The joy of adopting a new dog is perhaps only matched by the joy of loving an existing one. And you can make the joy of adoption even greater if you set your sights on a rescue dog from the neighborhood animal shelter. Sure, you can hunt for a new dog through breeders or pet shops, but fetching a rescue pooch from a shelter comes with at least five fabulous rewards that also happen to make great sense.
5. Adopting A Dog Helps The Pet Overpopulation Problem
Unwanted dogs roam the streets, forage through garbage and pack shelters. There is without question a dog overpopulation problem in the U.S. The Humane Society of the United States says between 4 and 6 million pets end up in shelters every year, but only about half end up adopted. Some are left behind during foreclosures. Others may have worn out a family’s welcome when a new baby or other addition arrives. Still others may have been tossed in a pillowcase on the side of the road. The luckiest of the bunch end up in shelters, instead of beneath car tires, and the even luckier ones go home to a new family that has the love and caring to share with an unwanted pooch. No dog asks to be born, and you can probably bet none particularly enjoy endlessly roaming the streets or being kenneled in a shelter all its life. As for foraging through garbage, that seems like a trait even the happiest of dogs don’t really outgrow.
4. Adopting A Dog Comes With Material Perks
Shelters generally keep their adoption costs low and even run specials to further entice people to visit and pick up a pooch. Shelter dogs may also come with certain perks, such as a free vet visit, free spaying or neutering, and even a temporary food supply and other amenities. Your new dog may come complete with a new leash, collar, or even a toy or two to help start you off on the right paw, so to speak. Certain dogs may even come with a discount coupon for training classes, although such an obvious call for training may leave you worrying about why the dog ended up at a shelter in the first place. Compare the cost of adopting a dog from a shelter with the cost of buying a dog from a pet shop or breeder, and you often find you’ll save enough cash to invest in something really big and expensive — maybe even an air-conditioned dog house, if you like.
3. Rescue Dogs Are Available In All Shapes, Sizes, Colors, Etc.
Walking into an animal shelter at any given time usually offers you a veritable potpourri of pooches from which to choose. It’s even better than a thrift store hunt as far as varieties go! You have your small dogs, your big dogs, your fat dogs, your lean dogs, your squatty dogs, your drooling dogs, sometimes a purebred, sometimes a puppy, and your goofy and non-goofy mixed breeds. Dog shelters usually have a constantly changing selection of dogs, as well, which means if you don’t click with one right away, you can still find your perfect pooch if you simply come back at the same time next week — or even the next day.
2. Adopting A Dog Is A Gratifying Experience
Adopting a rescue pooch brings a shower of gratitude, making you feel special. The first show of gratitude comes from the shelter staff, which is typically thrilled someone is coming rescuing one of the shelter’s beloved charges. Then comes the gratitude from the dog, with that sad shelter look in his eyes immediately replaced by one of delight that he’s found a home that doesn’t feature a cold, concrete floor behind bars. The dog’s gratitude continues with the eternally wagging tail, the door-greeting when you come home, getting your paper without chewing it to shreds, and his happy panting that some say doubles as dog laughter. The dog may even go all-out pleasing you by learning new tricks and behaviors, such as not foraging through the trash despite his deepest, innate desires. Your own gratitude tops the list, since you’ll always be thankful you provided a lost soul with a good home and some good love. It feels wonderful to have the means and affection to share with a dog that would have otherwise faced a terrible fate.
1. Adopting A Dog Saves A Life
For many dogs, being in a shelter is akin to being on death row. The Humane Society notes 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in America every year, which boils down to one every eight seconds or so. Ouch. If you can help improve that painful statistic, even by helping a single dog, it’s worth the effort. The Humane Society also notes most of the pets that end up in shelters do so through no fault of their own. They didn’t necessarily chew up the couch or bite someone; they were simply no longer wanted or were never wanted in the first place. If those dogs’ fate brings a tear to your eye, don’t simply sit around crying. Go out and adopt a shelter dog today. You’re saving a life that deserves to be saved.
For information on where to find a pet for adoption, visit theshelterpetproject.org.
Ryn Gargulinski is proud to report both of her dogs are former pound puppies.