Paige Stegina | A&E Editor
The unconditional love and happiness that a pet can bring to our lives is unrivaled. Whether they show it outwardly, like wagging their whole bodies after their human leaves the room for five minutes or taking on the more conservative role of the watchful eye over everyday life, animals prove to be true and loyal companions. Growing up, having an animal in my house was always a staple. Dorm rooms are a little less bright without a little animal love and support, walking across campus is a little duller when there is not a dog fetching a frisbee or going for a walk. However, even with all the love they give, there are so many animals without a loving home. Millions are in shelters across the country, and countless more are homeless or without a good, stable home. These animals, from dogs and cats to guinea pigs and horses, could be victims of abuse or surrendered by families who could no longer care for them. Even with a great need for these animals to be adopted, many still choose to go to breeders, pet stores, and puppy mills. Overall, there are many reasons to adopt and rescue.
One of the main reasons that people will go to breeders in the first place is because they want a particular breed of animal. This can get extremely expensive, with the costs of buying these purebred breeds rising into thousands. This may not even include the necessary initial medication requirements for the animal to be healthy. Depending on the shelter, type of animal, and age, the adoption cost in shelters cuts the initial cost by at least half. Even if there is a certain preferred breed, there is no shortage of purebred animals in shelters, and they can be transported from other areas of the country. In addition to this, many shelters provide medical care to the animals before you adopt them. This includes vaccines, spaying/neutering, as well as flea and tick prevention. Although veterinary care will be necessary throughout the animal's lives, the lower initial cost allows the owner to focus on long term health of their pet, instead of the expensive initial costs. In addition to this, training costs may be lower or even eliminated, with some of the older animals already having been in established homes being well trained and behaved, fully ready to start a new chapter in their lives.
Another reason breeders are popular is because people want a puppy, or younger animal. From someone who has adopted two puppies in the last year, I can tell you from personal experience that it is hard work. Balancing their needs, starting them out right, providing a safe environment for them to grow and flourish is difficult. That being said, it is very rewarding to raise an animal and watch them grow into their little paws (not to mention the camera roll filled with puppy pics). If a person is willing to take on the responsibility, there are plenty of young animals, puppies and kittens alike, at the shelter. With the number of dogs in southern states, puppies are transported to shelters in other states that can accommodate them. In addition to this, pregnant animals will often be abandoned at shelters, and after the proper care is given, they will be available for adoption.
Personally, I know there can be certain worries when rescuing, especially when it comes to older animals, the population that is most in need of rescue. My family’s first dog was adopted from the Connecticut Humane Society. The shelter did not know her full history with her last family, and we did not know her breed. Once we got her home, it was clear that she had fears that were clearly rooted in her past. We did not have a definite idea of what breed she was, let alone the best ways to take care of her. But as time went on, we learned with her, growing together. Through the years that we had her, we definitely had our challenges, but the love she gave our family was worth every second. She, like so many other animals across the country, deserves a second chance to have a happy, full life.
Animals can give so much to our lives, and with the clear need for adoption across the country, you are helping them just as much. Not only will you be providing a home for an animal in need, but you will also be helping yourself as well, getting a forever best friend who loves unconditionally. For more information about adoption go online at Petfinder or Shelter Pet Project or visit a local adoption organization, such as the Connecticut Humane Society or Forgotten Felines.