Writer Feature: Adopt! Don’t Shop

Editor’s Note: Please join us in welcoming our newest intern, Alexandra Gaffey!

Abraham Lincoln once said, “no matter how much cats fight, there always seems to be plenty of kittens.” While this statement remains true to this day, most of said kittens will end up in shelters as do precious puppies and other furry friends alike. According to ASPCA, approximately 6.5 million companions will enter shelters in the United States alone.  While these statistics seem heart-wrenching to most, it is due to the common misconception that most animals are coming from breeders. Many people will keep a male and female companion in order to breed and sell their litter. What people don’t realize, the change to this is simple and starts with themselves.  

As an avid dog-lover, I often find myself at local shelters seeking a new companion. However, I am not financially stable enough to take in one of these lovely souls. That being said, many families can take in a shelter pet. Going to a shelter, a family must realize the importance of the bond they will share with their newest family member. Though your family may already include children, adoption welcomes someone else to take care of. While a family is gaining a forever friend, the animal is being saved from whatever their past may be.  

Back when I was in third grade, my father moved myself and brother to a new home. This meant a new school and a new group of friends. This was the first time we lived in a house that was not rented. At the time, I didn’t realize the significance and the only thing on my mind was, “at this place, we can get a dog.” Of course, taking into account that we had just moved and no holiday was in the near future, I waited a couple months to ask. Like a perfect nine-year-old would, I waited until Christmas to make my plea. Just as years prior, my dad asked for a list of things my brother and I wanted. Gleefully, I hand him the small sheet of paper I had written months before. All that was written: dog, dog food, dog treats, toys for the dog, etc. He was left with nothing else but these helpful hints. 

After spending a couple weeks in Michigan with my mom, it was time to celebrate Christmas with my dad. The ride home from the airport was spent pondering if my scheme for fluffy cuddles was going to succeed. As we stepped in the door, the sound of shuffling paws filled my ears. I look in the kitchen to find a crate, topped with a bow. Inside the crate? The boxer who became my best friend. While he passed a little over a year ago, Rico gave me the best ten years of companionship that a dog possibly could.  

I do not tell this story to reminisce about my childhood memories but instead to make a point. Rico once belonged to a family who, with a newborn child, could no longer take care of him. If they did not find a new home for him, they were going to take him to a shelter. For them, they experienced a wildly rambunctious boxer who could not be trained. For my family, he became the most loving, protective, and loyal best friend. My family loved him and he loved us right back. If he was stuck in a shelter, he may never have become the boxer he was. Some of the time, the problem does not lie within the animal. Sometimes, they are just not the right fit for their current homes. For those who are seeking a new animal, I highly encourage checking out your local shelters first. You never know the animal that may be waiting for you. 

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