When recognizing the sheer happiness pets bring to the many families that have them, it is hard to think of the many pets that are neglected by people who skip over them for a purebred puppy from a breeder or a pet store. There are millions of lives that are ignored every year, millions of lives that are waiting for a loving family to adopt them at rescue shelters across the globe.
According to The Humane Society, approximately 2.7 million adoptable pets are euthanized in the United States per year alone. This tragic statistic is primarily due to the shortage of people who consider adopting their pet from a shelter. By buying an animal from a breeder, animal lovers are neglecting another pet that, not only will cherish his or her rescue, but will prove to be a welcome member to the family.
One of the Humane Society’s purposes is to work against “puppy mills,” or large breeding facilities that mass produce and breed puppies in cruel locations and under immoral and distasteful conditions. People often unknowingly buy their dogs through organizations that benefit puppy mills, which still keeps these terrible places in business. If you rescue a dog instead of buying them, you will also be freeing up space for other pets that need to be placed in a safe facility.
According to Scientific American, though purebred dogs are unfortunately the more appealing alternative when getting a pet, they can grow up with many health issues. The higher in demand the specific pet species is, the more likely the pet will develop with some health issues. One example is a popular dog breed called the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, which, during the first several years of its life, develops an assortment of health issues that affect the animal’s heart and brain, ultimately giving the pet a painful life.
Some breeders breed dogs with certain characteristics like a different shaped snout or a shorter tail. They breed the dogs in a process known as line breeding, which means that dogs are bred with direct relatives. While this atrocious process leaves the desired results, it ultimately leaves the dogs in an unhealthy state with many more health problems that come from the change in physical appearance. In some instances, some species like the bulldog can go extinct if the proper measures aren’t taken for reproduction.
A recent article regarding California pet stores from New York Times states that California is limiting the selection of pets from pet stores and restricting stores from getting their pets from a breeder. California law is taking a step forward to reduce the animal cruelty found in unsanitary puppy mills. Luckily, many other states and cities in the United States have also been taking measures to ensure that puppy mills are taken care of.
As a Communications Specialist for the San Diego Humane Society, Dariel Walker thanks all of the volunteers of the Humane Society for spreading awareness for animals in need and for helping the organization grow to what it is today. “We are here to support pet owners well beyond the point of adoption,” Walker explains, “Adoption is a much more affordable option, and you know you’re getting an animal who has been assessed behaviorally and medically,” Walker elaborates.
Walker believes that pets of all ages can be adopted, and that there are many benefits to adopting an older pet from the shelter. “Typically, senior pets are already trained and, even if they’re not, they tend to catch on faster and have an easier time focusing than their juvenile counterparts,” Walker says, “Additionally, more mature animals usually have less energy, which makes them great companions for mellow, relaxed households that are looking for a cozy companion,” Walker points out.
Dog Rescuer Tina Barker rescued her dog, Henry, during an adoption event held by his rescue organization, and often thinks about how she has changed her pet’s life since he was adopted. “My heart opens up more to rescue pets because I constantly think of what my pet’s life would’ve been like if I hadn’t rescued him.” Barker explains, “It’s even more rewarding knowing that you saved a life and that you have a good relationship with your dog and I hope that he knows that too.”
Barker believes that people tend to avoid shelters because some pets have unpredictable histories and behaviors. “Some people are worried about getting a dog with personality, separation, or anxiety issues, so there is sometimes more work involved when rescuing a pet from a shelter because shelter pets are so unpredictable,” Barker states, “If rescuing a pet is something we can do to avoid euthanization, then I think that’s the best way to go when considering adoption,” Barker concludes.
The well-known saying that a dog is a “man’s best friend” is nothing short of impactful, as all pets have a lasting effect on a family, one that’s sure to brew happiness and produce a multitude of memories. There are millions of new members that are looking for a home of all shapes and sizes. Rescuing a pet is not only a better alternative for the family, but a better alternative for the pet itself. Pets are not only in some cases more healthy, but by rescuing a pet you are preventing euthanization and providing more room in the shelters for other animals who need the love and care they deserve.
Reference Animal Shelters/Rescue Places:
5500 Gaines Street, San Diego, CA 92110 (619) 299-7012
486 Raleigh Ave, El Cajon, CA 92020 (619) 354-4825
4284 Cass Street, San Diego, CA 92109 (619) 721-3647