New Pet Owner

Rewards of Rescuing A Pet

Rewards of Rescuing A Pet

Love comes in all sizes, ages and breeds in America’s animal shelters and rescue organizations, where the next four-footed member of your family may be found.

Where will you turn the next time there’s room in your heart and your household for a new pet? Adopting one from a humane animal shelter, breed rescue group, or the local animal control agency — as opposed to a breeder or a pet store — has strong advantages.

Today some 4-to-6 million dogs and cats await new homes in the nation’s shelters. And the majority ended up there through no fault of their own: Families move to new places where pets aren’t allowed; an owner dies or gets divorced; a baby overwhelms a new parent and the pet suffers for it; a family can no longer afford to feed a pet; a natural disaster occurs.

Regardless of the circumstances that got them into a shelter or rescue group, a bounty of adoptable pets is available for the choosing. You’ll find a wide variety in size, age, and temperament. And don’t expect them all to be mixed breeds: Nearly 25 percent of pets in shelters are purebreds.

Reasons to Adopt, Rather Than Buy, A Pet

You Take Home a Sure Thing. Since they spend time caring for them, most shelter and rescue workers become familiar with the animals. The time in custody allows staff to assess their behavior and know whether they have been house-trained. That screening enables them to help you pick a dog or cat that will be the right fit for your family and lifestyle.

Your New Pet Arrives in Good Health. Before a shelter dog is put up for adoption, he gets a full physical examination that normally includes vaccinations, a heartworm test, and microchipping. If he has not yet been neutered or she has not been spayed, the shelter vet takes care of that before the animal meets the public. Although there is a charge for adoption, it is usually far below what an owner would pay for medical services on the outside.

You Save Two Animals’ Lives. Crowded shelters force staff members to make difficult decisions about euthanizing pets no one wants. When you adopt, not only do you save the life of your new pet, you free up space in the facility to give another one a chance at finding a new home.

Benefits of Adopting an Older Pet. People who give an older pet a second chance are rewarded for their choice in many ways.

Your Pet is Already Trained. When you choose an older cat who already uses a litter box, or an older dog who has been housetrained and knows the basic commands, you don’t have to take time to teach them.

Your Pet is Calm. Kittens and puppies, cute as they are, are a handful to manage. A calm older cat isn’t likely to climb up your curtains (or claw up your leg). A fully grown dog doesn’t require as many bathroom breaks as a pup, and he’s less likely to chew furniture, wires, shoes, clothing or anything else that reminds him of you.

Your Pet is Grateful. Animals are sensitive, and they know when they’ve reached a safe and loving place. Adopt an older cat or dog, and they will repay you with love and loyalty that lasts a lifetime.

When you’re ready for a new pet, visit for a list of available dogs and cats close to where you live.