Animal shelters are the first place to look when you are thinking of adding a pet to your family. Not only do they have a great selection of adult animals, but many of them also have kittens, puppies and purebred animals.
Sadly, millions of dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States simply because too many people give up their pets and too few people adopt from shelters. Because there is limited space at shelters, staff members sometimes need to make very hard decisions to euthanize animals who haven't been adopted. But the number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. By adopting from a private humane society or animal shelter, breed rescue group, or the local animal control agency, you'll help save the lives of two animals — the pet you adopt and a homeless animal somewhere who can be rescued because of space you helped free up.
Animal shelters are brimming with happy, healthy animals just waiting for someone to take them home. Most shelters examine and give vaccinations to animals when they arrive, and many spay or neuter them before being adopted. In addition to medical care, more and more shelters also screen animals for specific temperaments and behaviors to make sure each family finds the right pet for its lifestyle.
Adopting a pet from an animal shelter is much less expensive than buying a pet or even getting one free thanks to the services provided by the shelter or rescue group. Because animals from most groups are already spayed or neutered, vaccinated, dewormed and often bathed and treated for fleas, the adoption fee is a real bargain.
Pets have a way of putting a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Not only do animals give you unconditional love, but they have been shown to be psychologically, emotionally, and physically beneficial. Caring for a companion animal can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment and lessen feelings of loneliness and isolation in all age groups.
Puppy mills are "factory style" dog-breeding facilities that put profit above the welfare of dogs. Most dogs raised in puppy mills are housed in shockingly poor conditions with improper medical care, and the parents of the puppies are kept in cages to be bred over and over for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever joining a family. And after they're no longer profitable, breeding dogs are simply discarded — either killed, abandoned or sold at auction. By adopting instead of buying a pet, you can be certain you aren't supporting cruel puppy mills with your money. Puppy mills will continue to operate until people stop purchasing buying the puppies through pet stores and over the internet.To locate your local animal shelter or rescue group, check the phone book or online for "animal shelter," "animal control" or "Humane Society." Many shelters have websites that feature animals available for adoption. Some sites even allow you to download adoption forms and plan ahead by providing tips on responsible pet care. In addition, many shelters promote their animals for adoption on national websites, such as Pets 911, Petfinder and Adopt-a-pet.com. For more information on adopting a pet, visit The Humane Society.
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