Writer Feature: Why I Support Animal Adoption
Editor’s Note: Please welcome our newest inter, Troy Nikander. Troy is from New Hampshire and is a senior at Franklin Pierce University, majoring in English with a double minor in Psychology and History. He currently doesn’t own any pets, but would love to adopt a dog after college.
When I was growing up, I was very afraid of dogs, especially medium or large dogs, unless I had time to get used to them first. I was okay with other animals like cats or rabbits, though. The exact reason as to why I was so afraid escapes me now, but due to various family allergies to cats and dogs, the only pets we had growing up were fish and one adorable dwarf hamster I named Marshmallow. Regardless, these and other interactions with cats and dogs owned by family and friends demonstrated to me how important our animal companions can be. Adopting an animal allows you to give them the best years of their life filled with love and care, whether it’s one year, ten, or even more than that.
Humane societies receive animals from a variety of circumstances, which include abandonment, their owner passing away, someone no longer being able to care for an animal, or realizing that the responsibilities of pet ownership are more than they had anticipated at first. Even no-kill shelters are sometimes faced with issues of overcrowding, especially when they take in animals that have longer stays or need more attention from staff than other animals. The need to increase adoption rates is especially imperative for senior animals, who are adopted less often on average than their younger counterparts. Senior animals are also more prone to developing health conditions, which vary depending on the breed, that may turn off some prospective pet owners to adopting them.
One of the first resources which demonstrated the importance of adopting senior animals to me, especially senior dogs, was the Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary (OFSDS), based out of Mount Juliet, Tennessee. The Sanctuary takes in senior dogs and gives them a place to live out the rest of their days in comfort with plenty of space to play, not to mention many different places to sleep. OFSDS is a donation-based non-profit, and wouldn’t be possible without the support provided in part by the fans of these dogs. They document the adventures of its many lively residents through pictures and videos on their Facebook page, showing senior dogs still have plenty of pep in their step, with some dogs getting close to fifteen years old. Some are available for adoption, while others like Leo, one of their mascots, is a permanent resident at the Sanctuary.
The Internet allows for greater ease to directly connect shelters with prospective families or owners who might want to adopt a dog. OFSDS allows for adoption interest within 100 miles of the Sanctuary’s location, but word can be spread to someone on the other end of the United States through Facebook or other social media. Similarly, OFSDS posts pictures with newly adopted dogs and their new owners, and any time an adopted dog passes away their memory is recorded on the page. The Sanctuary is only one of many examples of spreading the joys adopted dogs can bring to the humans who share their lives with them.
I now love dogs quite a lot, and try to check the Facebook group Dogspotting (where people around the world post pictures of previously unknown dogs that they find) at least once a day. While I can’t adopt a dog at this very moment, the very least I can do is continue to advocate for animal adoption until the day comes when I can. Dogs bring joy and laughter into our lives in ways perhaps nothing else can. They are our faithful companions for life. With so many dogs waiting to join their permanent homes in shelters, anyone who is able and interested in getting a dog should definitely consider looking into adoption; you just might find your new best friend waiting for you there.