Pets are wonderful companions and friends. They are genuinely affectionate and grateful. They don’t care how you look, your job, the car you drive, or how much money you have in the bank. You can confide in them; they will never tell your secrets or gossip.
If you do consider getting a pet, there are millions available in animal shelters across the country. Not only do you get a pet, but you can also save the animal’s life. Over 6 million dogs and cats live in shelters today—overpopulation cause over 1.2 million to lose their lives in a shelter every year.
Shelter animals have a bad name. An animal isn’t in a shelter because it's bad, untrustworthy, or a troublemaker. The owner may have died, or worse, abandoned it.
Sometimes after an animal has spent its life with a family, it is abandoned to a shelter because of ill health, incontinence, or some other age/health-related reason. At a time when the animal needs the most human care and love, it's abandoned.
Pet ownership bestows various health benefits, reduced anxiety, depression, lower blood pressure, and loneliness. The following studies feature dogs simply because dog ownership has been studied most often. Similar benefits are afforded to other pet owners.
Studies have confirmed that dog ownership reduces the risk of death from heart attacks by 33% and 27% for stroke victims compared to non-pet owners.
These pet owner mortality improvements may be explained by increased physical activity and decreased depression and loneliness. The Study
In more general terms, dog ownership is associated with a 24% risk reduction for all-cause mortality. The Study.
Pet’s Have Personality
Pets have their own personality and temperaments. Two dogs of the same breed can have completely different and unique personalities.
Pets are a large commitment that you need to think through before you actually adopt. Pets are not a piece of furniture you can exchange or throw away if you get tired of it. It’s a lifelong responsibility to the animal. They need love, care, and positive interaction.
There are the financial costs, too; pet food and veterinary cost for vaccinations and illness. Yes, animals do get sick and need medical care. The estimated basic annual cost for a dog is $1,200; and $1000 for a cat. However, the costs can be higher.
Fitting Into Your Life
Dogs need feedings and walks two to three times a day. Cat owners change kitty liter every day. If you need to leave a pet alone for long stretches of time during the day, it may be a better match to choose a cat over a dog.
Puppies need to be house trained.
Adult dogs, as they get older, will need more medical care. And if you adopt a senior pet, expect it to cost money for medical needs as it nears its end of life.
If you’re not ready to take on this type of commitment, don’t adopt. You will not be making this animal's life better; a short term adoption where the animal is abandoned again will be worse. Not adopting a pet is okay. There are other ways to help abandoned animals.
Reasons to Adopt A Senior Dog from a Shelter
No surprises. With a puppy, the dog may not grow to your expectations. It may be larger or smaller with a different coat. With a senior dog, the dog is mature and will keep the size and coat that you see.
Adopting a purebred senior dog. If there is a particular breed of dog you want, even a purebred, chances are an organization that caters to seniors of that breed who need a home.
Trained. Senior dogs are trained. They won’t be teething and chewing up furniture. Chances are they have been part of a family and will fit right in.
Senior dogs provide a level of attention and devotion to their new owners that would make it appear that they, on some level, know you rescued them when no one else would.
Senior dogs provide a shorter commitment time. This can be important to senior citizens themselves.
If You Can’t Adopted Donate
There are two animal organizations I donate money to frequently, at least three times a year. I must disclose that I am in no way benefiting financially by mentioning these organizations.
Monkey House is a dog hospice and sanctuary in Burlington County, NJ. Their tagline “Where Dogs Go to Live” also happens to be their book's title on Amazon. Here are a group of people dedicated to giving the best end of life care for homeless dogs.
Here is an animal rescue organization in Asia that rehabilitates animals that have been brutalized and tortured by people. They are actively fighting to end the dog meat trade. The pictures of brutalized animals are heartbreaking. But seeing these animals being taken care of by this caring organization and becoming whole is joyous.
Can’t Donate — Volunteer
Many shelters are short-staffed. You can make an impact by volunteering at a local shelter for a few hours every week. Maybe to clean out cages or walking the dogs.
Both of my pets are rescues. I have a cat Squeeks and a Yorkie, Nigel. The Yorkie was abused; you couldn’t approach him without him cowering in a corner, shaking and lifting his front leg in fear. The rescue people shaved him down to his skin because his hair was so matted. He was skinny and undernourished when I took him in as a foster. Fostering is only until a permanent home could be found. Well, after a few weeks, there was no way I could give up this dog. Knowing he had been abused I couldn’t give him up to someone I didn’t know one-hundred percent. Besides, he had fallen in love with my family and my family in love with him. On the other hand, my cat Sqeeks stayed on the fence for a few months before accepting him too.