Every year, 7.6 million companion pets (dogs and cats, mainly) enter shelters, nationwide. Of that 7.6 million, 2.7 million animals are euthanized, and a majority of those who remain alive spend years in a tiny cage in the shelters without the proper companionship or medical attention (according to ASPCA). This doesn’t mean that these animals aren’t receiving any medical attention; they are still getting basic shots. However, any advanced medical care needed, like dental care or more serious issues, are not necessarily a priority of shelters when they have so many animals to worry about with limited funds.
The sad reality is that only a small fraction of the animals in that 7.6 million are the ones who get adopted by loving homes who can give them exactly what they need.
To get a little bit more specific, there are approximately 3.9 million dogs entering the shelters every year. Of those dogs, 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized, and 26% are stray dogs who are returned to their owners.
There are 3.4 million cats entering the shelters each year, and of those, 37% are adopted, 41% are euthanized, and only 5% are returned to their owners.
The pattern developing here is that there’s a severe amount of animals that need homes, and this is why you should consider adoption when looking for your next furry friend.
Here are 4 reasons why adopting a pet is the way to go.
1. You’ll be saving a life. As mentioned before, many pets are doomed to euthanasia due to overcrowded shelters and lack of resources needed to support every animal who needs it. If you adopt, you will not only be saving your animal from the shelter, but you will open up a new spot for another animal to stay in.
2. You have a wide variety of choices. Shelters usually have all kinds of breeds and mixes, as well as ages.
If you’re looking for a specific breed, you can search online for shelters who may have one at that time. For example, if you search “golden retrievers for adoption near me,” then you will probably find a rescue that specifically takes care of the breed you’re searching for.
If you’re searching for a puppy, a 2-year-old, or even a senior dog, it is very likely that a shelter near you will have the age of dog that you are looking for.
3. Basic medical expenses are covered. Most shelters or rescues will make sure that the animal is up-to-date on all shots and dewormed, so you can trust that you won’t be adopting a sick animal.
4. Most shelter animals already know some basic training. If you adopt an animal over the age of 2, chances are that it will already have some knowledge on basic commands like sit, stay, and also potty training. It may take some time for your pet to get used to you and your house, but the training process will probably take less time than it would with a brand new puppy.
It is important to keep in mind that your adopted pet’s background will have a huge effect on how it acts in your home, a new environment. If the pet was previously owned, then it will probably be really appreciative and want to be by you all the time. However, if the pet came from a puppy mill or any other abusive environment, it may suffer from anxiety and act out. However, every pet can be trained with patience, consistency and reward.
If you think that your adopted pet was previously abused, here are actions that can possibly trigger your dog’s anxiety, fear or aggression.
- Sudden gestures
- Raising your voice (at the pet, or at someone else)
- Saying a word/term that was previously used by the abusive owner
- Using objects like tennis rackets
- Accidentally touching the pet’s wounds
- Raising a hand (as if you were going to hit it)
If the dog starts to become aggressive when you perform these actions, try to find an alternative action. Try your best to be gentle with your voice and movements in order to calm the dog down. It’s important to keep in mind that the dog isn’t bad, it’s just scared and confused. It’s your job to stay calm and patient in order to let the dog know that it can trust you.
Don’t let this discourage you from adoption. If an anxious dog sounds like too much of a responsibility for you to handle, you still have options.
Try adopting a brand new puppy or asking the shelter volunteers which dogs do not have an aggressive or abusive background. The volunteers spend every day with these animals, and they see them interacting with the other dogs, as well as humans.
Shelter volunteers will easily be able to tell you which animal would suit you best, and if it doesn’t work out at home, you can always bring the animal back to the shelter.
Once you have picked out the perfect shelter pet for you, protect it with Scout GPS Tracker. Always know its exact location by checking it on the Find My Scout app. This works great for off-leash hikes, exploring in your backyard, or even going on vacation. Go to findmyscout.com for more information and to get your own Scout today.