Of our eight animals, six of them were either adopted or rescued. None of them are purebreds, and we didn’t get any of them from a breeder. (You can read more about our pets’ stories in How to Build a Zoo, Part 1 and How to Build a Zoo, Part 2.) We don’t have anything against purebred dogs or breeders, mind you. Buying a pet from a reputable breeder is perfectly fine! The bottom line for us is that our hearts draw us to animals in need, and we think that considering adoption is really important. Just in case you need convincing, we’ve put together a list of ten reasons to adopt a pet.
1. You will save a life.
This is probably the most important reason to adopt on this list. By adopting your next pet, you will save a life. Let us give you some statistics from the ASPCA. There are 13,600 shelters in the US. Every year, these shelters take in about 7.6 million companion animals (3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats). Of these, approximately 2.6 million animals (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats) are euthanized. About 2.7 million animals are adopted (1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats). To put this another way, every year, 31% of shelter dogs and 41% of shelter cats are euthanized. If you adopt, you will be saving the life of at least one of these animals.
2. They will love you forever.
Now, we’re not saying that a pet that you buy from the breeder won’t love you. But if you’ve ever walked down the aisle of an animal shelter and seen all those sad eyes staring back at you, you know what we mean by this. Shelter animals will be forever grateful to get out of their current situation. You will be their rescuer, and we promise you that they know that. They will adore you, and we promise you’ll adore them, too.
3. You can get a purebred animal from a shelter or a rescue.
If you’re a first-time pet owner, you probably have an idea of the type of animal you want to have. You might have done your research and decided on the perfect breed for you and your lifestyle. The good news is that there are many purebred animals that need a second chance! Unfortunately, even purebred dogs are often surrendered by their owners. The AKC actually has a directory of breed-specific rescues for dogs, which we highly recommend checking out if you have your heart set on one breed in particular.
4. Mutts offer the best from a variety of lineages.
If you’re not set on a breed, then a shelter is probably the perfect place for you to find your new pet. Mutts are a mixture of breeds, and though it can be hard to tell sometimes exactly what a shelter pet is, there are some real benefits to choosing a mutt. You can often get a mix of the best traits of multiple lineages. For example, if you have a Siberian Husky x German Shepherd mix, you might get a Husky’s personality and temperament with a Shepherd’s intelligence. If nothing else, mutts can be really cute!
5. They’ll choose you.
When we rescued Eli from the side of the road, we knew that we didn’t really need another pet. We already had 7, after all! But our response was always the same whenever we were asked. It didn’t matter if we needed him, because he needed us. We think this is true for any adopted pet. You’ll know when they need you, and when they need you, they’ll choose you. There’s something special about the connection between an adopted pet and its owner. We encourage you to adopt a pet for yourself – you’ll see what we mean.
6. It’ll cost less.
This is a no-brainer: purebred animals cost money. Lots of money. You’re going to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on a purebred pet, and that doesn’t even include the cost of necessary veterinary work, like a spay or neuter and shots. If you adopt from a shelter, you are only going to spend a fraction of that. Most shelters will even spay or neuter a pet and make sure that they are up to date on shots before the animal is allowed to walk out the door, and all of that is included in the adoption fee. If you adopt a pet, it is guaranteed to be cheaper than buying from a breeder.
7. You will provide much-needed relief to shelters.
Remember those statistics that we mentioned earlier from the ASPCA? Well, with over 7.6 million companion animals going into shelters each year, there is a lot of overcrowding in humane societies across the country. If you adopt a pet, then you are taking one of those many animals away and leaving the shelter with one less mouth to feed and pay for. Which leads us to our next point…
8. You may help other pets in need.
When you adopt a pet, you free up space for other animals in need. This means that shelters can take in more pets that may need veterinary attention or a new home. By helping to thin out the herd, so to speak, you are indirectly helping the animals that have yet to come.
9. Because it’s one way to fight puppy mills.
If you are unfamiliar with the term “puppy mill,” then allow us to explain. Puppy mills are essentially factories for the production of purebred puppies, which are then shipped to pet stores or sold online. The problem with puppy mills is that their animals are often kept in incredibly poor conditions. Once a breeding animal is no longer of use, they are killed, abandoned, or sold at auction. Puppy mills are going to continue to operate as long as they are making money. This is why it is so important to do your research and find a reputable breeder if you choose not to adopt! If you do adopt, you’re taking a stand against this awful practice, and we commend you!
10. Because there’s an animal that is perfect for everyone.
Not everyone wants a purebred puppy or kitten that they will take home at 6 – 8 weeks old. Some people prefer mutts; some people prefer older animals. Whatever you’re looking for, you can find it if you choose to adopt a pet. If you want a dog or a cat, a baby or an adult, a male or a female, there is an adoptable animal out there for you!
And that’s it! We’re sure that there are more reasons why you should adopt a pet, but these are our top ten. Did we miss anything? Have you ever adopted a pet? Let us know in the comments!