by Dwain Hebda | Photography By Jamison Mosley
Adopting a pet is one of the best decisions you can make. There are numerous studies that show owning a pet provides emotional and physical benefits to owners — from motivation to exercise to the calming of stresses and anxieties.
Where you get your pet is often as important as the type of pet you choose with the most obvious choice being shelters and rescue organizations. Roughly four million dogs enter such shelters every year, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Sadly, the problem of overcrowding means that nearly 3 million dogs and cats are put down every single year.
People are sometimes hesitant to consider shelter pets for a variety of reasons. They may want a puppy, or they may not want an animal with behavior issues, or they may want a purebred. However, most animals end up in shelters because they’re found wandering the streets, or because humans surrender them for reasons such as divorce or moving that have nothing to do with the dog’s behavior.
Puppies are plentiful at many local shelters, but so are young adult and older adult dogs, each with its own beneficial attributes. Many adult dogs are already housebroken and may have had some obedience training, things you don’t get with a puppy. Depending on the breed, older dogs can be more low-key too with less tendency to tear up your house from excess energy.
The desire to own a purebred is also a flimsy excuse for bypassing rescues, given ASPCA statistics showing that 25 percent of dogs in shelters are, in fact, purebred animals. Victoria Vander Schilden, executive director of Central Arkansas Rescue Effort for Animals (CARE) says with some effort, people can find just about anything they could want in shelters and rescue organizations and at a fraction of the cost, too.
“We have millions of dogs needlessly euthanized every year in shelters across the United States,” she says. “If you’re looking for a purebred, chances are if you’re willing to do a little research and maybe even travel a little bit farther than you intended, you can find it if you’re really, really set on a purebred dog. There are breed-specific rescues.
“Simply put, it’s always better to adopt from a rescue than buy from a breeder because you’re saving a life,” she says.
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