merica is a country of animal lovers. According to the ASPCA, approximately 62 percent of all households in theUnited States own a pet; however, we are currently facing a severe overpopulation crisis of domestic animals in our nation’s shelters.
The ASPCA estimates that 5to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Sadly,of these numbers, 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized annually in the United States.
Yet, despite thesestatistics, animal-loving Americans continue to seek out breeders and pay hundreds(sometimes even thousands) of dollars to purchase their pets.
So, what is the rationale behind buying a dog from a breeder?
You want a purebred dog. Did you know, more than 25 percent of dogs in local shelters are purebred? Plus, many rescue organizations are breed specific and overflowing with adoptable purebred dogs. You will find an abundance of rescue groups in your area, but here are just a few examples of Texas-based rescues: Good Shepherd Rescue of Texas, Texas Cattle Dog Rescue, Legacy BoxerRescue, All Border Collie Rescue, Texas Husky Rescue.
You want a puppy. Shelters and rescue groups always have available puppies, especially in the spring and summer months. It’s funny because most people think they want apuppy, when in reality, they have little understanding of how much time and effort it takes to raise and properly train a puppy. Many young dogs are surrendered to the shelters for this reason alone.
You think there must be something wrong with a shelter dog. This is a sad misconception for so many shelter dogs – they are usually there due to no fault of their own.The majority of shelter dogs are loving and kind, and many are usually already house broken and obedience trained. Another thing to know: there is nothing wrong with a mutt. In fact, they can be healthier and less prone to genetic diseases than a purebred dog.
How do you go about adopting a dog? Here are two options:
1. Local Shelter: Many shelters have designated areas where you can play with your potential new dog, and some even let you bring your current pets to see how they get along. The dog will be spayed/neutered and given their shots.
2. Rescue Group: A rescue group is comprised of volunteers who “rescue” dogs from shelters. They spend months learning the dog’s traits, fostering them in their homes, and getting the dog ready for adoption. They take all the guess work out of adopting a dog; you’ll know exactly what you are getting and you can find a dog that perfectly fits your lifestyle. Dogs in a rescue group will be:
- Fully checked by a veterinarian
- Spayed or neutered
- Up-to-date on all their shots
- Rid of any intestinal parasites or fleas
- Heartworm tested (and treated, if necessary)
- On monthly flea medicine and heartworm preventative
- Fostered in a family environment
- Temperament tested
- Tested around dogs, cats and children
- Housebroken, or in the process of being trained
In both cases, you will pay an adoption fee for your new dog, which sometimes people think can be high. But take into consideration, these fees probably don’t even cover the costs (listed above) that the shelter and rescue groups have incurred.
Rescue dogs are amazing, resilient animals who have a lot of love to give, especially for the person who rescues them. As an animal-loving country, we should be advocating the plight of pets in our local shelters and educating people on the need for adoptions, spaying and neutering.
Take a trip to your local shelter; walk around and see how many pets are there. Or, check out the list of adoptable pets from a local rescue group. You will be hard-pressed to not see one face that you wouldn’t consider taking home. If you do adopt or rescue your next pet, you should be proud – you have saved a life! In no time at all, you will realize why rescue pets rock!
- Rescue dogs have undergone a lot of stress. Give your new dog some time to settle into your newhome. It could take months before they start exhibiting normal behavior.
- Research the breed before adopting. Although not all dogs conform to breed standards, some breeds will need more exercise or grooming than others.
- A pet is a huge commitment. Ask yourself if you have the time, money and dedication needed to offer a pet a forever home.