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Our View: Give the gift of life: Adopt a shelter pet

Posted: November 18, 2010 4:44 p.m.
Updated: November 19, 2010 4:30 a.m.

The holidays are fast approaching. Perhaps you are considering adding a four-legged member to your family this season.

Instead of heading to the pet store, consider why adoption is a much better option.

According to Best Friends Animal Society, one of the nation’s largest and most respected animal welfare organizations, many pet stores are supplied with puppies from mills all across the country.

Puppy mills are factories that cram hundreds or thousands of dogs into cramped, filthy cages to produce litter after litter.
Breeder dogs are put in cages, neglected, without medical care or kindness, while puppies are taken away from their mothers as early as six or seven weeks old to be transported across the country.

Some pups can become ill from early weaning or poor treatment. Or worse, they die shortly after purchase, causing emotional turmoil to their new families.

And then there is the cost. Purebred puppies can range in price from $500 to $1,500, which doesn’t include spaying, neutering, vaccinations, micro-chipping and licensing.

Meanwhile in shelters across America, there are puppies, kittens and purebreds, as well as loveable older mutts that find themselves in the unfortunate position of not having a home.

All are waiting for a second chance.

A recent study by Maddie’s Fund, a family foundation established in 1999 to help fund the creation of a no-kill nation, shows hope on the horizon.

The study also predicts there will likely be more than 200 million pets in homes by 2016.

According to the study, “All of the healthy and treatable shelter pets can be saved if we adopt out 3 million more each year, an attainable feat in light of the growing number of available pet homes.”

So when it’s time to add a pet to your family, be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. There are many positive reasons to adopt.

First, it’s much less expensive than purchasing a pet, with fees generally ranging anywhere from $50 to $250. Shelter animals and those from pet-rescue groups are already vaccinated, micro-chipped and spayed or neutered, sparing you these additional costs.

Second, rescue-group and shelter staff and volunteers know the animals in their care, allowing them to match you up with just the right four-legged companion for your lifestyle.

You might even fall in love with an older pet that is much more suited to your family. Many of these pets were owned by families just like yours at one time and are already housebroken, too.

Third, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you saved a life instead of contributing to the problem of pet overpopulation by purchasing from a store or breeder.

Start by doing a quick search on and enter the breed, age and gender you desire — chances are there is the perfect dog or cat available in a rescue facility or shelter nearby.

You can also contact a local shelter or rescue facility to see if they have a pet that’s right for you or to aid in your search.

So this holiday season, save a life and win yourself the lifelong devotion of a rescued pet.


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