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October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. If you've been considering adopting an animal or if you've wanted a pet and never considered adoption before, October is the month to do it! Rather than walk into a pet store and pay hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars, why not consider adopting a dog that could use a good home? If you're not familiar with the benefits of adoption, here are some benefits that we're sure will get you to an adoption agency/shelter within the month to get the pet you've always wanted!
Adoption is cost-efficient. When you adopt an animal from a shelter or adoption agency, there is usually a fee included that will include the animal being spayed/neutered as well as the bulk of its shots and first vet visits. Though you may scoff at having to pay a fee to adopt a dog from a shelter, understand that all of those services, if paid for on your own, would most likely exceed the $75 to $150 you will pay up front. If you live in a big city like New York, many shelters will deliver the animals right to your apartment — in part to provide a convenient service, but also to be able to do an apartment check and make sure your place is pet-friendly.
Adoption is a great way to make sure you are not funding puppy mills. Many pet stores that sell their animals (especially popular or trendy breeds) are getting their animals from puppy mills — dog “factories” that breed puppies as fast as possible under inhumane living conditions and treatment. When you go through an animal shelter or adoption agency to find an animal, you know that either your animal has been previously owned or recently born, and can rest easy that your money is not funding puppy mills.
You can spend time with the animal beforehand in order to get to know its personality. Shelter dogs/animals are usually previously owned and have experience around people. Whether or not that experience has been positive or negative can have a lot to do with how a shelter dog/animal responds to you. At a shelter or adoption agency, you are able to test these reactions from the dogs/animals you are in contact with. Many shelters have “foster parent” programs that allow you to take animals home with you for certain lengths of time.
The services provided by shelters can be invaluable tools in the raising of your animal. Since shelters would like to prevent the occurrence of “repeat abandonments,” or the returning of a pet because the owners found the challenge of raising an animal to be too much, they will often provide adoption counseling, behavioral guidance or obedience training at a low cost (or included in the initial fee). If you take advantage of these services, you will ensure your success as a pet owner.
Adoption from a shelter or adoption agency allows you to save a life. Thousands of dogs and other animals each year are killed because they have either been abandoned by owners, who were unable or unwilling to care for them, or because un-spayed and un-neutered animals were allowed to breed. By adopting an animal from a shelter, rather than buying one in a pet store, you are saving a life.
With the abundance of animals in shelters and adoption agencies all over the country, it seems a bit irresponsible to walk into a pet store to buy one simply because a breed is trendy or cute. If you are or have ever considered becoming a pet owner, let October be the month that you decide on adoption. For a list of shelters in your area, visit www.animalshelter.org.
This post is written by Erica Moss, who is the community manager for the online MSN programs at Georgetown University, offering one of the nation’s leading acute care nurse practitioner programs.
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