Adopt, Don’t Shop

Adopt, Don’t Shop

//VICTORIA COFFMAN//

When a family looks for a new pet, their eyes are always on the puppies, the kittens, and pretty much a “baby” anything. As great as it is to want this, it also leaves the older animals left in shelters or rescues. It is how adult dogs and cats wind up in kill shelters, all because everybody wants the baby.

I’ve recently been looking to adopt a dog, and to do this I was looking at many different shelters and rescues. It broke my heart seeing so many older dogs waiting for adoptions that probably won’t come. For a dog, life in shelter, is no life at all. It’s hard for us to remember that having a pet is only part of our life but for them, getting adopted and having a home is their whole life. More people should be looking, not for the cute puppy or kitten that is sure to be adopted but for the older dogs and cats that simply want a family and a home.

At an adoption event I went to, there were many puppies but also quite a few older dogs. I watched as herds of people came through the event and I saw many puppies being held and taken out of their crates, and I saw the older dogs lie there. Only once did I see one of the older dogs actually taken out by someone and then a few minutes later put right back in. I watched as their foster parent eagerly told potential adopters how sweet and loving these older dogs were but I saw none of them get adopted. I was the only one that day who walked out with a dog that wasn’t a puppy and I look back wishing that I could’ve taken them all with me.

I know more than anyone the allure of a cute puppy or kitten, but the things is, puppies and kittens will always be adopted; there will always be families who want them. Buying an older dog or cat doesn’t come with all the baggage that it seems to. A lot of the time, these older animals have already had homes and were adopted when they were babies. However when they grow up and lose their appeal, they are often brought back to kill shelters or abandoned on the street. It is not something comfortable or happy to think about. Approximately 1.5 million animals in shelters are put down each year. Even though about 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year, that number could go up if more families were willing to take in older animals.

Now, if you aren’t in a family that is willing to take in any animals, there are other ways to help change those statistics. One of them is donating or volunteering with rescue organizations. These no-kill organizations rescue animals off the streets and from kill shelters and keep them in better facilities. They hold adoption events and people can volunteer to foster the animals so that they do not have to spend so much time in kennels. They then require that any potential adopters fill out applications so that they can ensure that when the animals are adopted that they are going to good homes. They also require in the adoption process that the animal get spayed or neutered to help decrease the number of animals that get put into shelters or abandoned. By supporting these rescues you are not only helping these animals live happier and find forever homes but you are also helping reduce the number of animals put down every year by shelters.

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