It’s difficult not to fawn over pet-shop puppies and kittens while holiday shopping at the mall. Fuzzy faces with doe eyes and wet noses stare out at passersby. But playing “How much is that doggie in the window?” leaves customers penniless and shelter pets homeless.
With increasing overpopulation in shelters, and rescue organizations scrambling to save animals’ lives, there has never been a better time to adopt. When faced with a choice between adopting and buying, consider this: Adoption saves money and saves lives.
1. Save Lives
Shelter animals are almost evenly divided between those who are abandoned by their people and those picked up by animal control services. According to the ASPCA, five out of 10 shelter dogs and seven out of 10 shelter cats are euthanized each year simply because no one will adopt them. Adoptions reduce euthanizations and make way for others who need homes.
Purebred dogs are in high demand, but they too are likely candidates for euthanasia. An estimated 25 percent of shelter dogs are purebred, according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). If you are seeking a specific kind of dog or cat, there are rescue groups for every breed. Check out TAILS Resource Page for a list of breed-specific (and non-breed-specific) rescues and shelters across the country.
2. Improve Health
Spending long days in a noisy, cramped kennel is no way to live, but that is reality for many animals. According to the HSUS, adopting animals can improve quality of life for both the animal and you by reducing stress and anxiety.
Research shows that pets reduce anxious outbursts in Alzheimer’s patients, help college students cope through transition periods, and reduce risk of heart attacks by almost one-third. Going for long walks and playing Frisbee improve cardiovascular health, and simply living with a pet can lower blood pressure.
3. Save Money
With food, supplies, medical care, and training, the average cost of care for dogs and cats can total more than $800 annually. Purchasing from a breeder or pet store can tack on $1,000 or more in the first year. Most animals can be adopted from shelters and rescue groups, often already spayed or neutered and vaccinated, for around $100 or less.