Writer Feature: Why I Support Animal Adoption

Editor’s Note: Please welcome our newest intern, Alicia! Alicia currently lives in Geneva, Switzerland and attends McGill University where she studies political science and communication studies. She lives with her family and their two dogs, Holly and Rosie.

The first thing anyone notices when setting foot in our house is all the pets jumping and running around. Ever since I was born, there have been endless dogs, cats, guinea pigs, chickens and rabbits for me to cuddle. Currently, there are two dogs, three cats (sometimes their kittens), and two guinea pigs running around our garden. The hardest part of moving out to university for me was the lack of pets at home. I always missed having a dog to walk, a cat to pester with cuddles or hearing a squeaky chatty guinea pig (always demanding more food) in the background.

Although shelters mainly provide furry cats and dogs up for adoption, there are shelters who are home to guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, and even micro pigs! In fact, Switzerland has a law where social animals, such as guinea pigs and parrots, are not allowed to be sold or live on their own – they must come in pairs. I have always thought every country should have this law, as it is unfair for the animal to be left on its own, especially if it is sociable and needs company. We always adopt our guinea pigs and rabbits from either shelters or farmers who happen to find themselves with excessive number of rodents.

It is common for people to think that dogs in shelters are often misbehaved and out-of-control, however, not all dogs are there because their owners found them unbearable. Some dogs (and many other animals) find themselves abandoned due to the death of their owner, or perhaps the relocation of families, which leaves them with no other option but to leave their loved-one behind. However, if a dog is in the shelter due to behavioral problems, such as excessive barking, snapping or anxiety, most are given lots of behavioral therapy and professional training to help them overcome their issues. It is not because one family or owner wasn’t able to take care of their dog that you cannot give it the love and protection it needs.

Adopting a dog also comes with many other benefits! Dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and any other animal that you can adopt are usually micro chipped, vaccinated, spayed, neutered and house trained. When adopting an animal, you are often only covering a part of the costs of these procedures and are also supporting the organization itself. People working in shelters are genuinely interested and love animals for what they are, rather than somebody who owns a puppy mill and sees them as goods for profit. They also have a good idea of how the dog behaves and make sure it is the right fit for you and family by considering whether the dog would be better off in a big or small house, whether it is adaptable to children and other animals, or if it would rather be on its own in a quiet environment. You are also given an honest answer on the dog’s background, age and what it has been through. Puppy mills are known to not have much background about the parents, or even lie about their age! Besides, it’s always nice to give an affectionate, displaced animal a warm and safe home!

Perhaps you already own a companion and cannot to get another dog. Shelters may still be useful for you! Many of them offer boarding for pets if you were to make an emergency trip away and often hold events, where workshops and games are held on pet care and dog training. Check out what your local shelter has to offer. They are often in need of extra volunteering to help with chores or dog walking, and will always be open to any donations you might want to make. Next time you or somebody you know is looking for a new furry friend, make sure you consider adopting instead of your local pet store or puppy mill!

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