If you are looking to bring home a new family member this holiday season, consider adopting from your local animal shelter. Not only are you bringing home a new and fantastic friend for life, but you are saving the life of one wonderful animal. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) provides us with this great article about the benefits of adopting a pet from a shelter. So get into the Christmas spirit and give a shelter animal the greatest gift of all–a new family!
Adopting a Shelter Dog
Shelters have lovable dogs and cats of all shapes, sizes and ages. Your chances of finding a wonderful companion who matches your lifestyle and family are excellent! About 25% of shelter dogs are purebred. The rest make up the best selection anywhere of unique, one-of-a-kind mixed breeds, many of whom have already lived with families and have the basic social skills they need to become an enjoyable part of your household.
Why Adopt a Dog from a Shelter?
You Can Help Save Lives
One of the most rewarding aspects of adopting a shelter dog is the simple fact that you’re saving a life and giving a deserving animal a new home. It feels great to help an animal in need, and after living in a shelter, your new dog will be especially appreciative of the wonderful life you’re going to give him. But that’s not all—your adoption fee will benefit other animals, too. By adopting a dog, you can support the shelter’s good work in your community and help care for many homeless pets.
Shelter Dogs Make Great Pets
Many dogs end up in shelters because of circumstances beyond their control. They were victims of a death in the family, illness, divorce or a move that didn’t include them. Some were displaced by a new baby. Others had pet parents who didn’t learn how to train them. And there are those who were left at a shelter because of a behavior problem that their pet parents didn’t try to or weren’t able to resolve.
But make no mistake—a “second-hand” dog is in no way second-rate. Most shelter dogs available for adoption are healthy, affectionate animals. Any dog—young or old, mixed breed or purebred—will likely need some training or retraining to learn how to fit into his new household and become your cherished companion. However, most shelters evaluate a dog’s behavior when he arrives, and this information can help you determine what kind of training your new dog needs. Thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers and staff, many shelters can even give dogs a head start on housetraining and basic obedience before they’re adopted.
Another advantage to adopting is that shelter dogs are a real bargain! An adoption fee is much lower than the cost of buying a dog from a pet store or breeder. Most shelter dogs are spayed or neutered before adoption, so you won’t have to pay for the cost of surgery. Almost all shelters give their animals thorough physical exams and provide vaccinations. Some shelters even microchip their animals so that if they get lost, they can find their way home to their new pet parents.
How to Choose a Match of a Lifetime
A growing number of shelters have an ASPCA® adoption program called Meet Your Match® Canine-alityTM and Puppy-alityTM. This program is designed to help shelters make successful and permanent adoptions by matching adopters with the most compatible dogs. It not only makes adopting a shelter dog more fun, but it also helps adopters go home with the kind of dog they dream of having.
For the complete article and more great tips for adopting a new family member, visit Adopting a Shelter Dog.