Thursday, September 13, 2012
Pet Smarts: Adoption supports shelters, offers many breed options — even pure-bred
Amanda Chism Briggs
Sheabel Pet Care Center
Everyone knows that they have two primary options when looking for a new pet; they can either buy a pet from a breeder or pet store, or they can adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue group. What most people do not know is that there are significant advantages to adopting a pet that go beyond the feel-good factor of saving a pet who might otherwise be euthanized and supporting a good cause.
Adopting rather than purchasing a pet makes good economic and practical sense.
KyForward file photo
Most shelter pets are available for a very reasonable adoption fee, which can vary depending on the policies of the shelter or rescue group. For that fee, you get a pet that is not only up to date on primary vaccines, but is also spayed or neutered. Many shelters even support you should your pet become ill shortly after adoption. Here in Lexington, our local Humane Society partners with many veterinary clinics, including Sheabel, to offer a complimentary veterinary exam, and if your new pet is found to be ill, the Lexington Humane Society will provide you, at no additional charge, with certain prescription medications that might be needed to treat your pet.
Shelters and rescues also temperament test the pets in their care, which increases the chances that your new pet will be a good fit for your family. Animals that do not like cats, dogs, or children are only allowed to go to homes that are compatible with their needs. Most rescues will also begin basic obedience and house-breaking with the animals in their care, which not only increases that animal’s chance of getting adopted, but also makes the transition easier on the adoptive family.
But what if you want a pure-bred pet?
Many people believe that if you want a pure-bred pet, you have to purchase it as a puppy, but this could not be further from the truth. Pets end up in shelters for many different reasons, most of which have nothing at all to do with the pet itself. For example, one of the most common reasons owners give for surrendering their pets to a shelter is moving to a new home where they are not permitted to keep pets. Because of reasons such as this, pure-bred animals are also likely to find themselves in a shelter or rescue group.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, an estimated 25% of dogs surrendered to shelters are pure-bred.1 If you are looking for a particular breed or type of pet, check out www.petfinder.com. Petfinder lists adoptable pets of all species by breed, size, age, and zip code, so you can search all of the rescues in your area in one website. Alternatively, stop by the Lexington Humane Society from time to time to see what purebred dogs are in need of a loving home. If you have your heart set on a Standard Poodle or a Siamese cat, you might find just the pet you are looking for at a local rescue.
Adopting a pet is a good investment. You get a pet that is at least partially vaccinated, spayed or neutered, temperament tested, and possibly has some training, making your job as an owner much easier. You can find any kind of pet in rescues, even pure-bred dogs and cats, and you do not have to be worried about inadvertently supporting a puppy or kitten mill.
By adopting, you also support your local rescues, which do far more for the community than just take in stray pets. Shelters and rescues combat unwanted litters by offering reduced cost spaying and neutering to the community, and often offer vaccination clinics for owners who cannot afford routine care. By helping to keep the community’s pet population healthy, shelters and rescues partner with your veterinarian and health department in keeping the whole community healthy. As always, if you have questions about choosing a new pet, your veterinarian is available to give you guidance.
Amanda Chism Briggs is a pet nurse at Sheabel Pet Care Center. She graduated from Georgetown College in 2006, and is currently working toward an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology. She has been working in veterinary clinics since 2007.