Most animal shelters in America are permanently packed full of dogs and cats in need of homes, due to irresponsible owners who don’t spay or neuter their pets, overpopulation, neglect and abuse.
Because there are so many pets looking for people to love them, anyone seeking a dog has a large selection from which to choose, with only a small adoption fee to pay that generally covers all shots, and sometimes even spay or neuter costs.
This means there is definitely a dog out there for everyone, and it is entirely possible to find the perfect pup to suit any lifestyle, family, work or living situation.
Below are 7 reasons to consider adopting from a shelter, and how to find the best pet for you.
1. Shelter Dogs May Be Potty Trained—
The frustrating housebreaking phase that has owners of new puppies cleaning up messes can be completely avoided by adopting an adult or “teenage” (older puppy) dog from the shelter.
Mature dogs often already know the rules and won’t make messes on your floors when you bring them home if they’ve been previously taught to go outside to do their business.
If you adopt a pre-trained dog, somebody else has already done the dirty work for you, and you get to take home your new pet knowing you won’t be needing to invest in extra carpet cleaner.
2. Shelter Dogs Are Grateful—
Purebred animals brought from a reputable breeder’s home have experienced socializing and bonding, which is great, but they will miss this family time when taken to a new home after purchase. This phenomenon can result in a puppy that cries at night, keeping the entire house awake, much like a new human baby.
Shelter dogs, on the other hand, have been living in less-than-stellar conditions, often alone in cages on concrete, and will repay you for the “lush” new environment by acting content and happy to finally be in a warm, comfortable place.
3. Shelter Dogs Can Be Purebreds—
In addition to rescue groups that focus on fostering and placing particular purebred pups with people who love a certain breed, it is estimated that 25-30% animals currently in shelters are purebreds. (Source: PetRescue.com.)
So if you have a certain type of dog you adore, consider saving a lot of money and rescuing an animal that may have not been lucky enough to find a home, all while getting exactly the breed you desire.
4. You Will Be a Hero—
When you adopt a shelter pet, you don’t just save one life, you save two: because not only will you be giving your new dog the home they’ve been hoping for, you’ll free up a spot for another animal.
Adopting a shelter pet is an extremely responsible and kind act you can feel good about as you help reduce the number of animals euthanized every year due to lack of space or funding.
5. Mutts Might Be Healthier—
Many purebred animals have certain health risks associated with their breeds, generally caused when unskilled breeders at some point in the breed’s lineage ignore weaknesses in bloodlines while trying to achieve particular physical qualities.
Because their DNA comes from a larger variety of animals, mixed-breed animals are statistically less likely to have many of the health issues present in certain purebreds, making them a hardy and potentially money-saving choice in the long run.
6. Shelter Pets Are Tested—
Animal shelters and rescue organizations generally have a vet on-call or on-site to test all animals brought in for diseases, internal and external parasites, hereditary or genetic problems, temperament or personality issues, and more.
Because they aren’t trying to make money off of the animals, you are more likely to get a thorough and honest assessment of any shelter animal you’re considering adding to your family.
Shelters will also often treat animals for any health problems before placing them up for adoption, saving you money.
7. You Can Choose a Perfect Fit—
Depending on your family size, living arrangements and lifestyle, there are many dogs in shelters that will likely work for you.
For example, if you live in a smaller home or apartment, you may want to consider a smaller, calmer dog that doesn’t need a lot of exercise. Or if you spend most of your days at home, you can adopt a higher-energy/higher-maintenance dog than someone who works outside of the home 8 hours a day.
No matter what personality type you require, there are so many different kinds of dogs waiting in shelters that you’ll be able to find exactly what you need—especially if you adopt an older dog to avoid the “personality surprises” puppies can develop as they age.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), around 10 million pets wait in shelters ever year for rescue, and because there are so many animals, some of them never find their forever home. If you have decided to add a dog to your family, saving a pet from a shelter or recuse organization can be a wonderful way to make your life—and a potentially-forgotten dog’s life—much, much happier.