Americans are inundated every year with classic images of puppies adorned with bows or stuffed kitten stockings, so it’s no surprise that many families bring home pets for the holidays.
Not everyone thinks about it, but where these pets come from can help or hinder efforts to end the slaughter of pets in U.S. shelters.
Best Friends Animal Society encourages families and individuals who are considering having a new furry friend this holiday season to choose the adoption option by taking a homeless animal from an animal shelter or from a group relief, rather than buying from a breeder, pet store or online retailer.
Opening your home to a needy shelter animal means money is being diverted from backyard breeders and the inhumane puppy mill industry who produce millions of puppies each year to supply pet stores and retailers with line.
It is also a critical time to adopt because adoption saves lives. While adoptions were on the rise in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the past six months have proved difficult for animal shelters. Hospitality has been higher, staffs have declined and adoptions have plummeted, resulting in overcrowded shelters and thousands of pets waiting longer than usual for homes.
Late summer data showed challenges for shelters and declining trends in adoption, including a dramatic decrease in shelter numbers, resulting in reduced operations and decreased adoption. animal capacity. As a result, many shelters are struggling to keep pace with public demand.
“Whatever life throws at you, having a pet makes everything better. Pets provide constant companionship while dramatically reducing stress, which many of us can really appreciate these days, ”said Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society. “The holidays are a great time to adopt and we hope to attract a record number of dogs and cats to loving homes this season. And this year, it’s more important than ever to consider and appreciate what pets give back to us.
“Numerous studies have shown that the presence of pets is beneficial for our physical and mental health. Having pets has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and decrease anxiety, helping people to
Adopting is also a good investment. Adoption fees typically cover animal sterilization / surgery, health examination, vaccinations, microchip identification and often other free starter gifts which vary from group to group. .
“One thing people often don’t realize is the quality and variety of animals available at shelters and rescue groups,” Castle said. “Across the country there are always some amazing purebred dogs, mixed breed dogs, cats, puppies and kittens of all ages, types and sizes looking for homes. Even popular designer dogs need a relocation when their owners face situations like job loss, divorce, or housing issues.
Prospective adopters can also visit petfinder.com to see the adorable adoptable pets awaiting homes locally, regionally, and even nationally. Although adoptable pets can sometimes seem scarce in some areas, there are currently over 106,400 dogs and puppies and 124,000 cats and kittens looking for homes on petfinder.com. If you’re not ready to adopt, consider hosting a pet at a local shelter or rescue group.
What about pets as gifts?
While research has shown that pets received as gifts aren’t necessarily loved less than those adopted through more traditional means, there are better alternatives than choosing a pet for another adult or family like surprise.
Choosing a pet is a very personal decision, as animal personalities vary even when you know what breed someone is looking for. There are also age, gender, activity level, hair length and other considerations, so it is best for the adopter to choose which pet will be ideal for their own family and their style of living. life.
Best Friends suggests purchasing an adoption gift certificate from a shelter or rescue group, rather than a real pet, to allow the recipient to make their own choice. To make the gift cuter and more substantial, you can assemble a basket of pet supplies, toys, and treats to accompany the adoption certificate.
And now that many adoptions still occur virtually, potential adopters can meet pets online and video chat with the dog or cat and their foster family to learn even more about the behavior of the baby. animal in a house. Learning all about the animals they would like to adopt and seeing them lounging on a sofa rather than a cage or kennel gives adopters a new way to experience that moment of connection when they know that specific animal is the right new member. of their family.
When the time comes to bring home a new pet, few would say that adopted animals reward their people with a depth of unconditional love that pets from other sources don’t seem to match. They seem to know they’ve been given a second chance, and they spend their lives repaying their people.
Every year, millions of people add new pets to their families; this season, help bring some zest for life to a homeless pet by adopting your new companion. In return, they promise to bring the much-needed joy to your 2022.