Why adopt from a shelter or rescue?
Many people wonder why they should adopt an animal from a shelter or rescue, when there are animals at pet stores or online classifieds that may be cheaper or more convenient. Below I have listed several reasons why adopting an animal is a great option.
Cost effective. While an animal from a pet store or online classified may be cheaper in upfront costs, you actually get a good deal when you adopt an animal from a shelter. Organizations provide veterinary checkups, de-worming, initial vaccines and spaying/neutering to the animals in their care. Sometimes the cost also includes a microchip, pet insurance and food! The initial adoption cost may be higher, but you are getting an animal that has already received all of their initial veterinary expenses (and often much more).
Resources. When you adopt from an organization, you may also gain valuable information and support. You can ask questions, get factsheets and talk with knowledgeable volunteers that know your animal’s personality and health really well. They have contacts and can direct you to other resources like training classes and the best pet stores in your area. Animal organizations want you to have an amazing relationship with your pet and will continue to support you months and even years after you adopt.
Peace of Mind. Organizations are concerned with the health and well being of animals in your community as well as responsible pet guardianship. Your adoption cost not only helps them offset the veterinary costs for that animal but helps them continue their programming, education and care for all the other animals in the shelter/rescue. You are adopting an animal that really needs a home and you are supporting an organization that does amazing work in your community, what could be better!?
Warm fuzzy reasons. Animals from shelters are not necessarily cuter or cuddlier than a pet store animal. However, animals from rescues are animals that have gone through a hard time, and now they need our help. Giving your help to an animal and giving them love has amazing benefits for you. Animals love unconditionally (yes even cats!). It’s a wonderful feeling to come home every day knowing that you have not only saved your animal’s life but to feel their love for you is great too! Animals bring so much joy and companionship to life, rescuing your new best friend is the cherry on top.
I do not have anything against animals from pet stores. They will make wonderful pets as well and I have in fact gotten animals from pet stores in the past. Unfortunately pet stores are not necessarily invested in the health and well being of their animals or animals in their community. Animals may have health problems or be from a backyard breeder. They are not spayed or neutered and usually have not been checked by a veterinarian. Many are not socialized and may be shy or fearful of being held. Many pet stores are not knowledgeable about the animals in their care and may provide inaccurate care instructions or may not even sex animals properly. Many pet stores will use sick or old small animals (mice and rats) that were once for sale as pets, and then feed them to other animals at the store (snakes).
Online classifieds like Kijiji and Craigslist offer animal sections where both breeder and other guardians can re-home animals. You might even be able to find animals for free. Yet these free animals come with unknown histories, health risks and additional veterinary costs. The animal could even be stolen or come from a backyard breeder.
With so many animals needing homes from rescues/shelters already we do not need to continue breeding animals. Please be cautious if you are considering buying an animal from a pet store or online classified ad.