by Soojin Um
Every year, between seven to eight million dogs and cats enter animal shelters in the United States. Almost all of them end up there through no fault of their own. Many people get pets only realize they can’t handle the responsibility and give them up. Sometimes, people are no longer physically able to take care of the animals and have no choice. Whatever the reason is, it still affects the animals’ lives in a traumatic way. The fear of uncertainty, being alone in a frightening place, and the sudden displacement from a familiar home. But for those of us who love pets and know we can take care of them, there is something we can do.
Shelter advocates say that when you adopt, you are saving two lives. The first life is the dog or cat you take in to your home. And by doing so, you are freeing up space at the shelter, allowing them to take in an animal that they might not have had room for. Thus, the second life that is saved. It’s more than just a great slogan. Shelters workers do an amazing job, but it’s always an uphill battle. So whenever there’s an adoption, it’s a cause for celebration.
Another reason to adopt through a shelter is because they ensure that they animals they take in are properly cared for. That means when you adopt, you are getting healthy dogs and cats. When animals are brought to the shelters, they can often be in a dire state. They can be malnourished, or have been abused or neglected. Animal shelters take a great deal of care to help these animals back to health. In fact, they do not allow pets to be adopted unless certain health requirements are met. That’s additional peace of mind for you and your family.
So, you’ve thought this over and you’re ready to help. What’s the next step? First, a tour of a shelter might be in order. You can definitely benefit from checking out how the shelter is run and having a chat with the staff. Once you feel comfortable and ready, you can inquire about adoptions and meeting the animals. Many shelters also have a screening process to help match people with the pets, to see if there might be compatibility issues, if you have other pets, if you have children, etc. The less chance that the animal might return to the shelter, the better.
There are also some costs to adopting, but it’s not that much (usually). They average around $50 to $100, and sometimes even $200. However, most are in the reasonable range. It really depends on the shelter itself, and also where you’re located. But what you’re getting in return is a lot more. The pet you adopt will have been spayed and neutered. It will also have been given vaccination shots. If you were to do that on your own, it may cost you a lot more. Not to mention the time all that would take.
Our pets bring us love and joy. It’s amazing to think that no one would want them. Yet, millions of animals are put in that position every single year. They deserve better. They deserve a life filled with love and happiness. They deserve a warm home and a loving family. If you’ve been wanting to get a pet, there’s no better place to find your perfect soulmate than at the shelter.