Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Ten Reasons To Adopt a Pet

I usually talk about writing, but today, I'd like to share my secondary passion.
There are so many reasons to adopt from an animal shelter instead of buying from a breeder, pet store, or god forbid, a puppy mill. I'm sharing the Humane Society's list, since they've put it better words than I ever could. But first, I'd like to add my own reason to the top.

My Reason

In 2007, my husband and I drove over to the park in Burbank where animal societies all over L.A were holding a fair. Of course, we'd decided, we were only there to donate and not to get a pet.
We were students, at the time, and we didn't even know if we'd be able to stay afloat in the insanely expensive city after school was out. Getting a pet would just be plain irresponsible, we'd agreed beforehand.

After twenty minutes at the fair, my husband pointed at a funny-looking black and white mutt with a red bandana. We watched her for awhile as people with equal interest in her funny-looking-ness came up to the handle to greet her. She was unsocial, her tail was down, and she refused to accept the touch of anyone trying to woo her. As soon as people realized she wasn't "friendly" they moved on.
We kept watching her as the handler took her to the line of dogs that would be brought up on stage for display. One after one the dogs came up to the center of the stage and sat nicely so the audience could look at them as the announcer told us their names and stories.

When it was time for the funny-looking mutt, the handler brought her up and told her to sit. The mutt looked at the audience, then turned her butt to them and sat.
"Ah..." the announcer said, "and this is Oreo."
Though the handler tried to coax her to turn, Oreo sat resiliently, facing the wrong direction, in a very screw-you-all manner.

After they brought her back down, my husband suggested we should walk over to her.
"But we're not adopting," I reminded.
"Of course we're not," he agreed as we walked over. "We can't."
My husband kneeled by Oreo. Immediately, and without reservation, she sprung up to give him a kiss. My husband looked up at me, eyes saying "ah, shit."
Ah, shit, I replied telepathically.
"Do you have other pets?" the handler asked. "She doesn't get along with other dogs, or cats. Or most people."
"We can't adopt," I hurried. "We're just...ah...sorry." I nodded at my husband to go, and he got up, saying his goodbyes to Oreo.

As we left her, and moved back to our car, we overheard someone say that the dogs with the red bandanas were the ones that only had three days to live.
My husband and I looked at each other in horror, then back at Oreo with her red bandana, sitting once more with her butt to the by-passers. We didn't know if it was true, or merely some random person's theory, (still don't know) but we reacted. We marched straight up to the handler and said, "we want her."

The moment we left the park, Oreo started prancing. Her tail, which had been permanently down, shot up. I don't care what people say on how much a dog can and cannot comprehend, she knew she was not going back to the shelter.

Since, Oreo has been with us everywhere we've moved: Colorado, Europe, Nevada, and now back to California. It's been eight years since that day in the park, and when I think back on it, I can't believe how close we were to walking away from her, simply because we didn't feel our future was perfectly laid out for us. But, when is it ever?

My reason to vow shelter adoption for as long as I live?
The thought of this picture of our dog--happy as can be on a day at the lake--having never happened because no one ever gave her a second chance, does it for me.
Oreo Age 7

Ten Reasons To Adopt a Pet

List from Humane Society: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/adopt/tips/top_reasons_adopt.html

1. Because you'll save a life

A shelter pet is more than one in a million—she's one in 2.7 million. That's the number of adoptable dogs and cats who are still euthanized each year in the United States, simply because too many pets come into shelters and too few people adopt.
The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. When you adopt, you save your animal and open up shelter space for another animal who might need it.

2. Because you'll get a great animal.

Animal shelters and rescue groups are brimming with happy, healthy pets just waiting for someone to take them home. Most shelter pets ended up there because of a human problem like a move or a divorce, not because the animal did anything wrong.

3. Because you'll get a great bargain.

When you adopt a pet, the cost of spay/neuter, first vaccinations and sometimes microchipping is usually included in the adoption price, which means you've scored a major deal—a fuzzy deal who will thank you with kisses or purrs for years to come.

4. Because of the bragging rights.

No one needs to see another selfie—unless it’s a selfie of you with the adorable cat you just adopted, like the hero you are! Adopt a pet, post the pictures and let the love (likes) roll in.

5. Because it's one way to fight puppy mills.

You're too smart to get a dog from a pet store or online seller—you might as well buy direct from a puppy mill. Puppy mills are "factory style" breeding facilities that put profit above the welfare of dogs. Animals from puppy mills are housed in shockingly poor conditions with improper medical care, and are often very sick and behaviorally troubled as a result. The moms 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.
Most puppies in pet stores and sold online come from puppy mills. The dogs are sold to unsuspecting consumers in pet stores, over the Internet and through classified ads. Puppy mills will continue to operate until people stop supporting them. By adopting a pet, you can be certain you aren't giving them a dime.

6. Because your decor will thank you.

Many of the pets from shelters and rescues are already housetrained, which means you’re not only saving a pet’s life, you may be saving your rug.

7. Because all pets are good for your health, but an adopted pet is good for your self-esteem.

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. And when you adopt, you can also feel proud about helping an animal in need.

8. Because you’re environmentally responsible.

You recycle your paper and plastic so it doesn’t end up in landfills, and you know that recycled materials make all sorts of things. A “recycled” pet can make something even better: She can make you happy.

9. Because The Shelter Pet Project will make it super-easy.

We like easy. Go to the Shelter Pet Project to find pets near you, of every size, color, temperament and breed. You want an orange cat who likes ear-scratches on alternate Tuesdays? You can probably find one.

10. Because you'll change a homeless animal's whole world.

And get a new best friend in the bargain. Seriously, what could be better than that?



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