Deciding to adopt a dog can be a huge decision for many families. Adopting can mean getting a dog posted for adoption by friends
or complete strangers. Most of the time, it means going to the shelter. For many dogs that have had perhaps a ruff start to life, it’s a new beginning.
Adopting a dog means you’re helping them start a new life, introducing them to things they might or might not have experienced before, like domestic environment, socialisation, and training.
And this is a win-win situation! You’ll also benefit from this good deed you’re about to do. Here are 8 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.
You’ll be saving more than one life
With so many animals in their care and so many more to rescue, shelters have little choice but to put down some of their long-term residents. According to the ASPCA, 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized every year.
Adopting a shelter dog not only gives them a loving home, but also frees up resources the shelter can use to save more animals.
It’s more cost-effective
Over time, purebred dogs have evolved to become a statement of wealth. This is largely due to the pricing set by the breed. Buying from reputable breeders can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the breed you’re seeking.
Adoption, on the other hand, costs significantly less; the average adoption fee is $300. Additionally, most (if not all) rescue dogs are already up-to-date with their vaccinations, have complete medical records, are already microchipped, and are already spayed or neutered. All these save you time and money for visits to the vet.
Variety and availability
You can find a wide variety of breeds at the shelter, so chances are you’re bound to get a breed you’re interested in. Reputable breeders may put you on a waitlist, delaying the time it takes for you to meet your newest friend.
The shelter also takes in dogs of various ages. You have a lot of options for puppies if you want one. Older dogs are great for those looking for more relaxed companions and those who feel like skipping the puppy stage.
Rescue dogs are more socialised and mature
Some rescue dogs have experienced being in a home, or being exposed to many different environments. Older dogs, in particular, are wiser and more experienced.
Owners who don’t have the time to go through exhaustive training may find success in adopting dogs from the shelter, though keep in mind that they still need a certain amount of training to adjust to your way of life.
Reduced demand for puppy mills
Puppy mills supply the dogs and other pets found in most pet stores. Many of the animals who come from mills end up with severe health complications, owing to how they are raised in cruel and inhumane conditions.
Mills are driven only by profit, so when you choose to adopt, it reduces the demand for puppy mills. You’ll end up saving more precious lives than you’d imagine!
Positive health benefits
Turns out having a dog or two in your household is the panacea to all life’s ills. Check out just some of the health benefits of keeping a dog.
- Lowered health risks. A dog a day keeps the doctor away. Ongoing studies are showing that dog owners enjoy lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Increases your opportunities to exercise. Time to bust out those running shoes of yours! Both you and your dog could benefit from a quick walk around the neighbourhood, or (if you’re feeling bold) a hike up the nearest trail.
- More opportunities for socialisation. Talking about your pets is always a great icebreaker. In addition to your furry companion, you’ll meet fellow dog owners who could very well expand your social circle.
- Improved mental well-being. It’s hard to think of anything else with a face full of fur. Having a dog improves your mood and decreases loneliness and anxiety.
You make a connection with the shelter
Your connection with the shelter doesn’t end after you bring your newest furry friend home. Once you’ve finalised the paperwork required to adopt, you’ll automatically have a record at the shelter, which has dozens of great benefits.
- More chances to foster or adopt in the future. If you decide to adopt again, you can always go back to the same shelter you went to. They’ll know you from the first time, and your adoption process is bound to get a lot easier.
- Opportunities to volunteer. Your experience with your rescue may spur you into doing some rescuing, yourself. When you feel like doing volunteer work, make arrangements with your shelter.
- Access to resources and supplies. When you want to make a rescue by yourself, or if you’re planning to start a whole new movement, you can tap your shelter for some resources to help you get started. These resources include information on the nearest veterinary clinics, some general do’s and don’ts of rescuing, and other helpful tips.
- Access to advice. Before adopting, some shelters may bring in a pet adoption counsellor. These professionals match you with the right dog and provide advice on how to make your rescue’s life the best it can be—even after you bring your pet home.
- Shelters help out when the going gets rough. Some shelters also even help pet owners struggling financially. They can provide basic needs such as free pet food or free veterinary care, and can even go as far as to negotiate with landlords!
You encourage others to adopt
The joy of having a new dog in the family is incredibly infectious. Detailing the benefits of adopting instead of buying may encourage others to adopt, too.
The more people who adopt, the more rescues are given more loving homes, the less clogged shelters become, and the less profitable puppy mills and other bad breeding practices end up being.
You get a new friend for life
The reason you start looking through a shelter is to find a new companion in life, one you can always trust to watch your back. You can even end up with a dog breed you never expected to own!To you, a dog is only part of your life; in the eyes of your dog, you are their whole life. For dogs who have unfortunately been abandoned before, this has a whole new meaning. No matter where they come from, dogs will show you the utmost love and loyalty—and now it’s up to you to give it back tenfold.