Writer Feature: Shelters Over Shops

Editor’s Note: Please help me in welcoming our newest intern, Danica! Danica is a senior at Portland State University where she majors in Liberal Studies and minors in Writing. She has one dog at home, though she’d have more if her landlord would allow her. It’s okay though, her dog Chichi gives her as much love as a hundred dogs combined.

Finding a new furry member for your family can be an exciting time! Wherever you look, you’re bound to discover the cutest creatures around. While you’re likely to find happiness regardless of where you shop it’s important to be sure that the place you get your pet takes good care of their animals too.

Pet shops may do a great job of tugging at our heartstrings with their puppy displays, but they fail to take proper care of their animals. According to PETA, they are meager with their veterinary services, oftentimes selling sick or injured pets to unsuspecting new owners. The animals are housed in unsanitary cages, puppies on wire grate, birds never given time to fly, and the smaller animals shoved into overcrowded unclean cages.

adopt don't shopIf that isn’t problematic enough, most pet shops get their animals from puppy mills, which are notorious for their awful treatment of animals. I know that these neglected little guys deserve a home too, but buying them only supports the heartless industry that sees your new friend as nothing more than a product to sell.

The fact that is there are about 6.5 million animals in shelters throughout America waiting to come home with you, many whose lives are at risk due to overcrowding. These shelters do their best take good care of the animals, rescuing them from living on the streets and ensuring that they go to good homes. While just over 3 million pets are adopted from shelters every year, there are another 1.5 million cats, and dogs euthanized annually because they didn’t find a home.

Personally, I understand having your heart set on a particular breed. I can’t tell you how much I love my Papillion. I’m confident that all other Papillions must be just as amazing as him. But purebreds aren’t only found in pet shops, they don’t only come from puppy mills or farms you’ve seen online. There are many breed-specific rescues to help you rescue whichever breed you are most interested in! The best thing about these types of rescues is they can tell you the specific needs of that breed, what their temperament is like and what health concerns they may have. You may not think there are any rescues like that in your area but websites such as Petfinder have made it easier to find rescues that cater to specific breeds (and even shelters that have specific breeds available for adoption). For instance, I did a quick search for a dog by putting in my city and the breed I wanted. In less than three minutes found three different dogs that fit what I was looking for!

Whether you’re looking for a specific breed or just want to adopt a new furry family member, remember not only will a shelter have just as sweet and cute of a companion but you’ll also be supporting a good cause. When you pay an adoption fee for your new furry family member, the money you spend is going to the wonderful cause of supporting the care of animals still awaiting a furever home. Adding an adorable new member to your family while helping animals in need is always a win-win!

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