Writer Feature: Why I Support the “Adopt, Don’t Shop” Mentality
Editor’s Note: Please welcome to our writer roster Anna Streetman! Anna is the proud mom of an adorable rescue pup and is a Kennesaw State student majoring in journalism. We are excited to have her on board!
For as long as I can remember, I have loved animals. When I was two, I was determined to grow up to be a tiger. Fast forward a few years, after I found out I couldn’t grow up to be a tiger. My first crush was on Steve Irwin. Then it was the even cuter Jeff Corwin. Then in a few more years, I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up (a much more realistic goal than being a tiger). That’s before I found out science and math were involved, my two worst enemies.
Eventually, I figured out something that I could do with my love for animals: adopt some. My family adopted our first cats from our own backyard; we took them in, got them their shots, spayed them, and loved them. Their names were Chloe and Chiquita.
I loved having cats, but still felt like I was missing someone. That someone was a dog that turned out to be Lexi.
Lexi is a terrier mix that my family adopted in October 2013 from a rescue agency called Angels Among Us. When I first saw Lexi, she was named Gaga instead. She was wearing a little pink sweater that said, “Call me maybe” with a kiss on it. And when I pet her and held her for the first time, I knew she was the one.
Lexi was ours a few days later. She has brought my family nothing but joy. Joy, and lots of barking at inanimate objects and pouty “please give me food” faces. She is playful, energetic, and loving, and she wants nothing more in the world than to have her belly rubbed and to cuddle. She’s the most perfect dog ever.
Because Lexi is so adorable and perfect, imagine my surprise when I found out that Lexi was less than a day away from being put down in a pound. Because of overcrowding, pounds have to euthanize animals. According to the ASPCA, 7.6 million animals enter shelters every year. 2.7 million of them are euthanized, with 1.2 million of them being dogs. Many shelters in the United States are labeled as “high kill” shelters, which means they have a limited amount of time to keep each animal before they have to euthanize them to make space for more.
The thought of this happening made me very, very sad. But it gives me some relief to know that there are many shelters out there that are rescuing these animals every single day. One of them is Angels Among Us, the rescue agency that saved Lexi. After learning this, I took on the “adopt, don’t shop” mentality. This mentality is saying that it’s better to adopt an animal from a rescue organization than to buy one in the store.
Before I adopted Lexi, I had no idea how many mainstream pet stores worked. My favorite place to visit was a store called Petland. Petland was fun because they let you play with the puppies. Less than a year ago, I found a Facebook page called Shut Down Petland in Kennesaw, Ga. The page displays evidence that Petland mistreats their animals, and gets them from placed called “puppy mills.” Puppy mills are places that breed puppies for sale, and typically the conditions are very inhumane; they often put profit over the comfort and well-being of the dogs.
There are several pages with info on puppy mills here, here, and here. It’s infuriating and saddening to read about the animals’ conditions: cramped, unsupervised, unable to run around and play, the list of cruelties goes on and on. Anim
al rights groups are pushing to pass legislature to make puppy mills illegal.
What Can You do to Help?
One thing you can do if you want to help save animals is adopt, don’t shop! There are so many wonderful dogs in shelters and pounds that are perfectly healthy and need loving homes. The Shelter Pet Project can help you find shelters near you. You can also sign up for the ASPCA’s Advicacy Brigade. They will send out emails whenever they need assistance to fight against animal cruelty.
When Lexi came into my life, she made it a little more whole. There’s a great quote that goes: “Be the person your dog thinks you are.” Dogs have qualities we should all strive for: happiness, energy, excitable, and above all, unconditional love. To this day, I am so happy that my family decided to adopt, not shop.