It seems like “national days of celebration” pop up every day. Days like National Puppy Day on March 23rd or my personal favorite, National Napping Day on March 12th, are just some of the examples of the crazy days celebrated. One day in particular, however sticks out and should be celebrated by many. National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day is April 30th. This is a day to go out to your local shelter and go home with a new family member. It was created as a way to raise awareness for pets in need of adoption from shelters. I decided to interview Heather as she is someone familiar with the joys and pains of adopting.
Was Roxie the perfect pet? Did she have any health issues?
Adopting a pet, you never know if they will be “perfect”. The pet needs time to adjust to their new surroundings and other animals in the home if any. Adopting is more so about rescuing the pet and giving them a life a shelter would never be able to. Fortunately, Roxie was 5 months old when we adopted her and she did not have any health issues. She will turn 8 in June and is still in excellent health!
What made you want to adopt?
When we put down Luke, our veterinarian made a donation to a local pet shelter in his name. Once we received the card from the shelter, we knew our next pet would be adopted from them. We wanted to rescue a dog from the confines of cement floors, fenced in walls and, most importantly, the possibility of euthanasia.
What would you advise people who are thinking of buying a pet?
Puppy mills are an epidemic in this country. Females are being bred continuously while kept in the confines of a small kennel with no human interaction. Warehouses full of kennels, one on top of another, are being found all around the US full of female dogs to serve one purpose – having puppies to be sold to the highest bidder. I don’t know about you, but the thought of this breaks my heart. Dogs are expensive. To properly take care of a dog, expect to spend at least $750 a year – this number only increases as the dog ages. The obvious expenses are dog food and annual shots. However, there is a need for grooming, flea and tick prevention, boarding, health screenings, etc. Also, will the dog be chained up in a yard or spend the majority of a day in a kennel? If the answer is yes, PLEASE DON’T ADOPT OR SHOP. Pets need human interaction and are intended to be companions not after thoughts. But to answer your question, there are so many innocent dogs out in the world being euthanized at alarming rates because humans are irresponsible. There’s something special about shelter dogs. It’s like they know you rescued them from an unbearable life. Having four dogs, one of which came from a breeder, the love of our rescued dogs is undeniably different.
What is the hardest aspect about adopting a shelter pet?
You don’t know the history of the pet. Roxie is extremely timid and shakes uncontrollably at loud noises. It’s heartbreaking to know she was obviously mistreated before I rescued her. When I brought her home from the shelter, I immediately put her in the bath tub. I ran warm water over her under fed, frail body for 10 minutes before the water turned clear. No dog deserves that treatment.
Is adopting as expensive as buying?
The cost of adopting a pet is much more inexpensive as opposed to buying from a breeder. From time to time, shelters offer specials for adoptions as well. I paid $125 for Roxie and she was already spayed, microchipped and had her first round of shots. You would pay more than $125 just to spay or neuter a pet!
Where can you go to adopt a pet?
Both Richmond and Columbia County, as well as surrounding counties, have animal services. Some counties have Humane Societies as well. A simple Google search can identify the location closest to you. Most shelters have Facebook pages as well which post photos of the current animals up for adoption. Save a life. Adopt don’t shop!