All dogs have the capacity to be incredibly loving companions, no matter their age, breed or background. When you are ready to bring home another furry family member, why not consider adoption?
Approximately 3.9 million dogs enter American shelters each year, and each one deserves to experience the comfort and safety of a forever home.
Here are eight fabulous reasons to adopt a shelter dog – or two!
1. The Choices Are Endless
There is a common misconception that shelter dogs are all rough-and-tumble Pit Bull mixes. While blocky-headed breeds are the most highly represented in American facilities, there are plenty of other dogs to choose from. In fact, just about any breed or combination of breeds can be found through the shelter system or a private rescue group. Big, small, young, old, fluffy, hairless, skinny, fat – take your pick!
2. Shelters Can Be Stressful Places
Dogs often grow timid and anxious as the months pass in a loud, boisterous shelter environment. Some even develop behavior problems and depression. Despite the heroic efforts of their caretakers, many wonderful pets slip through the cracks due to overcrowding, underfunding, and a lack of understanding adopters.
3. Many Come Pre-Trained
On the other side of the coin, many dogs arrive at the shelter having already been trained. Others are lucky enough to enter modern facilities with their own in-house trainers, vets and behaviorists. The Canine Good Citizen program is a training plan often utilized for breeds labeled as “aggressive” to improve their chances of adoption. The dogs are taught basic obedience as well as the proper way to behave around people and pets.
4. You Get the Joy Of Watching Them Blossom
The dog you pull from the shelter will not be the same dog three weeks later! There is nothing more rewarding than witnessing the remarkable transformation that occurs when a dog realizes he is finally home. Frightened, huddled masses become frolicking goofballs. Pups who once growled and bared their teeth snuggle on your lap and lick your face. It’s truly incredible!
5. Your Adoption Fee Helps Save More Dogs
Unfortunately, many of the animals that enter rescue facilities are sick, injured, malnourished, infested with worms, badly in need of grooming, etc. By the time you adopt a dog they have likely been cared for by a vet, treated for any ailments, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, tested for heartworms, started on flea and heartworm medication and microchipped. The cost of these services can be anywhere from several hundred dollars to well into the thousands depending on the animal. The modest adoption fee you are asked to pay is a mere fraction of the cost of care your new pet has received, but it will help the rescuers continue their mission.
6. Their Love & Gratitude Know No Bounds
You have not known love until you have rescued a shelter dog! In their eyes you are a superhero and they will spend the rest of their lives expressing their undying devotion and gratitude.
7. Rescue Is Good For Your Soul
Need an ego boost? When you rescue a dog you will be reminded of your worth every single day via a wagging tail and a goofy grin! Knowing that you are responsible for your adopted dog’s pure, unadulterated joy is a feeling unlike any other.
8. Adoption Saves Lives
56% of the dogs that enter American shelters will not make it out alive. Choosing to ‘adopt not shop’ not only saves that one dog, it opens up priceless kennel space for another animal in desperate need of rescue.
Featured Image via Flickr | Tony Alter