Adopt, Don’t Shop: 7 Reasons Why a Shelter Pet is Right for You

Mya Haines

So, you’re interested in getting a dog or cat. Wouldn’t it be nice to save an animal who is already trained and spayed/neutered? An animal who has experienced past neglect and abuse? An animal who just wants to be loved?

Um, yes please!

The description above accurately describes the life of many shelter animals, who just need a loving home.

According to Humane Canada, in 2018, Canadian animal shelters took in around 31,000 cats and 18,000 dogs (Humane Canada).

If you are seriously considering getting a pet, there are a plethora of dogs and cats in animal shelters right now who need your help.

You may currently be asking yourself:

“Why should I adopt, when I could get a cute goldendoodle puppy from a breeder?”

Well, buckle up, because you are in for a treat. Without further ado, here are my 7 reasons why you absolutely should adopt a pet instead of purchasing one.

1. You are saving a life

When you adopt from a shelter, not only are you metaphorically saving that animal from a lonely existence, but you are also literally saving it’s life.

As has been found by the Canadian Veterinary Journal, approximately 3,000 dogs and 15,000 cats are euthanized in shelters every year (TCVJ).

Yep, you saw that right. That means 17% of dogs and 48% of cats put into Canadian shelters every year are killed. Why? Simply because the shelters no longer have room to hold the animals anymore, due to an influx of pets being admitted into shelters.

By adopting, you are saving an animal from being killed unnecessarily.

2. You are relieving overpopulation in shelters

As was previously mentioned, a large number of cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters due to a lack of kennel space.

When you adopt, you are removing an animal from a kennel, meaning there is more space for others to be brought into the shelter. This can be a life or death situation for another animal, as being in a shelter is certainly better than being forced to survive on the streets.

3. You are helping to stop cruelty in breeding facilities

If you are considering purchasing from a pet store, this is possibly one of the worst sources to get a cat or dog from. This is because pet stores often stock puppies and kittens from “puppy mills”. These mills are locations where the extensive breeding of animals takes place (mostly dogs). Here, dogs are overbred unethically, and the conditions are horrendous. Not only are cages overcrowded and so dirty that often animals are killed by disease, but the kennels usually have little to no protection from harsh weather conditions.

Dogs Kept in Horrible, Uncomfortable, and Unsafe Conditions in a Puppy Mill

If you are considering buying from a breeder, that is one step towards the right direction… Kinda. It all depends on who your breeder is, how often they breed their animals, where the animals are kept, and how they are treated overall. Please research your breeder, ask around to hear about their reputation, and refrain from buying “Kijiji Pets”!

4. You are giving that pet a second chance at life

In most cases, dogs and cats are in animal shelters due to that they were abandoned by their previous owners. This may be due to lack of money, lack of experience, other reasons, or simply because the pet is not wanted anymore.

You have the opportunity to give this animal another chance at living. In their past home, it is possible that the pet was abused or neglected. Now, you can welcome it into your home and give it the life and the love it deserves.

5. Adopting is saving you money

You heard that right, you are actually saving money when you adopt! As I mentioned before, when you adopt a pet, they will already be spayed or neutered (either by the shelter or by previous owners).

In addition to less costly vet bills, adopted animals will be less expensive up front. According to the ASPCA, adopted dogs can cost anywhere from $118 to $462, and cats $32 to $274 (ASPCA). To compare, purebred dogs and cats from breeders and pet stores can cost anywhere from $600 to upwards of $3,000.

6. You know exactly what to expect

When you adopt, it is most likely that the animal is either partially or fully grown, meaning there will be no surprises regarding size, colour, behaviour, etc.

If instead, you purchase a puppy or kitten from a breeder or pet store, you cannot truly understand the personality of the pet from the 30–60 minutes you spend choosing the animal. You also cannot know how large the pet will grow up to be (other than approximation) or if the colour/pattern of it’s coat will change overtime.

7. Shelter pets are the most loving animals

This one, I know from personal experience.

In 2011, my family adopted a shelter pup of our own! His name is Indigo, and he is a black lab, english bulldog, border collie mix.

My Shelter Pup, Indigo

Adopting Indigo is one of the best decisions my family has ever made, as he is healthy, active, adorable, and most importantly, full of unconditional love for us.

Who wouldn’t want to adopt and save the life of an adorable and loving animal like Indigo?

So, what are you waiting for?

Adopt now to save money, save lives, and get the pet of your dreams.

Mya Haines and Mia Cappuccitti-Gutierrez are high school juniors writing about anything and everything. Welcome to nerd-ish and happy reading!

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