As the holiday season gets closer, parents are starting to think about gifts for their children. At the same time, their little ones may be increasing their efforts to get their first pet, especially puppies. For those who are considering adding a new four-legged member of the family, instead of buying a puppy this month, consider adopting or fostering. Contrary to popular belief, shelters are most full around the holiday season and during the summer. In fact, according to the Humane Society of the United States, most pets end up homeless for a variety of reasons, including natural disasters, moving, landlord or financial issues. This results in 8 million homeless animals ending up in shelters every year, with only half of those being adopted. These animals deserve a second chance and should be considered first before buying from a backyard breeder.
There are a number of reasons why adopting or fostering are better options than buying. Some reasons benefit the adopted animal, but many are beneficial to the new pet parent. Adopting will cost significantly less, comes with bragging rights, has a higher probability of getting a house-trained animal, and is also psychologically, emotionally and physically beneficial.
According to the ASPCA, yearly, it’s estimated that more than one million dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States, simply because too many animals are settled into shelters, and too few people consider adoption when looking for a pet. This epidemic is only made worse by the favoring of puppies over older dogs. There is also a need for many people to get a “purebred” dog. Perhaps the standards of what constitutes a purebred animal should be overlooked by the simple truisms of rescuing a pet in need.
As long as humans have the desire and imagination there will always be new breeds of dog. The argument could be made that mixed breeds are inherently more healthy than purebred dogs because of the health problems introduced to them through human intervention and selective breeding.
A representative for the Atlanta Humane Society spoke about what steps they take to spread the message of “Adopt, Don’t Shop”. Atlanta Humane is not publicly funded and relies solely on donations and adoption fees. Even without public funding, the representative stated that they have a “marketing team that holds lots of events…an outreach program in the community”, and they also, “help people who have dogs that need resources to take care of them in lower income places.” All of this outreach results in creating more awareness of the good work and services available through AHS.
When talking to a student of FCHS, he suggested, “If you are actually interested in helping this problem, you should definitely neuter and spay your animals.” He grew up with veterinarians as parents, and has accumulated lots of experience with pets, having 9 cats and 6 dogs. He stated, “I’ve adopted many animals, and I’ve never had a problem with them. I don’t see any reason to favor buying pets over adopting pets other than vanity. They are animals not toys.”
If you are interested in helping Atlanta Humane Society this season, but are unable to adopt or foster, there are a few other options. According to AHS, “any donations, blankets, toys, towels, or volunteering (you have to be 18) is helpful. We need any help we can get.” Even the small things such as volunteering your time can have a big impact.
On the other hand, Adoption/Fostering Coordinators, especially the ones in Atlanta Humane Society, can help you find the perfect animal for your home. The fostering process for Atlanta Humane Society is very simple. The first step is to visit their website, which will guide you from there. As a community, support from pet and non-pet owners is undoubtedly a major first step in reducing our overcrowded shelters. Happy Holidays you filthy animals!