Why Adopt a Pet?

The ASPCA recently reported that at any given time there are between 5 and 7 million animals up for adoption in shelters across the country. Of these, more than half, 60% of the dogs and 70% of the cats, will not be adopted and will be euthanized.They also reported that only 10% of new pet owners adopt from these shelters. The simple answer is “there are not enough people to adopt them” and there are just too many dogs and cats. Yet, the breeding of dogs and cats continue in puppy and kitten mills through out the country. It is not just mixed breeds, but pure breeds also as, according to the ASPCA again, 25% of all dogs euthanized are purebreds. Apparently, the novelty of new pet ownership wears off, or training was done improperly, or they found that they couldn’t care or afford them, etc. The reasons go on and on. Some people living in large cities and renting homes for the summer in suc h places like the “Hamptons”, adopt dogs from the shelters in the beginning of the summer and then “dump” them around Labor Day. The Shelters out east are filled beyond capacity every September. Each year when the Best in Show at Westminster is picked, there is a mad rush to breed that particular type dog. This year (Sept. 2013) it was the Affenpinscher. Although this toy breed is adorable and loving, they are very active and demanding. This eventually leads many to be brought to shelters and put up for adoption. Only a small percentage of this latest “fashionable” breed of dog is adopted, most are not. The decision to adopt or purchase a pet is a major one. Many things should be considered, such as: are there children in the household, are you experienced and willing to devote time, effort and money to properly care for your new pet, do you have enough room for proper exercise, etc.? Don’t act on impulse, think it out carefully. There are literally hundreds of studies showi ng that pet companionship is good for humans, adults as well as children. These benefits range from physical to spiritual. For example, recent studies have shown pet owners have lower levels of cardiovascular disease, spend less time and money on their own self indulgences, have stronger immune systems, and are in better physical  condition. In addition, several studies have shown that pet ownership improves self-esteem and lessens depression. Amazingly, an organization known as the K9 Connection has reduced the number of teenage suicides by adopting pets out to high-risk teenagers. This impact on the teens is profound. They have shown that the healing power of the human-animal bond does work.