By Simon Harris
There are lots of ways that people choose a new family dog.
Some may search the newspaper for advertisements from breeders
who are selling new puppies; others find breeders via listings
on the internet, while still more may simply purchase a puppy
from a local pet store. Perhaps the best method, however, in
terms of being helpful to society in general is to adopt a dog
from a local animal shelter.
Adopting a dog brings a new friend into your life. It also
helps to reduce the number of unwanted and homeless dogs in
your area. Unless the shelter is a “no kill” facility (and
these are sadly few and far between), it will also save a
life. Animal lovers everywhere champion the adoption of dogs
from shelters as opposed to any other method of bringing home
new pet for this reason alone, but there are other reasons to
choose the adoption option.
Adopted pets have had their shots
Shelters often have information about a dog’s temperament
Adopting a pet frees space in the shelter for more dogs
When you adopt a dog you can be sure that the staff at the
shelter has had the dog examined by a vet for diseases and
parasites and that the dog has had its shots. This is not
always true of dogs acquired by other means such as kids
away “free puppies” from a box in front of the local grocery
store or PetsMart.
The dogs at a shelter are not just strays and often are turned
in to the shelter by former owners for various reasons. When
this happens, the shelter collects as much information about
the dog as possible, including whether its good with children,
how much it barks, how playful or obedient it is, whether its
housebroken, and other important details. While it’s true that
this information is only as good as the honesty of the former
owner, most of the time it is fairly accurate.
Animal shelters provide a valuable service to the community
that they serve by keeping the streets as free of stray
as possible. Because many of them do this with little or no
public funding or governmental support, they are very limited
in the number of dogs they can have in the shelter at any
time. The only way that they can bring in more stray animals
if they remove the ones they currently have. This is done
through adoption or euthanasia. Obviously they would prefer to
have the dogs adopted rather than killed. Adopting a dog could
very well save its life and allows the shelter to bring in
another dog in its place.
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