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14 Reasons To Adopt A Rescue Animal From A Shelter Instead Of Buying One From A Pet Store

by Desirée O

The decision to welcome a new pet into your family will not only bring you joy, it will enrich the life of a grateful animal — especially if you adopt a rescue pet from a shelter.

According to Animal Sheltering, the 2017-2018 American Pet Products Association (APPA) survey indicates that only 4% of dogs and 1% of cats were purchased from a pet store. Finding a pet from a shelter or rescue organization is a much more popular option these days. Around 44% of dog owners adopted their canine companions from a shelter or rescue, while the number is around 47% when it comes to feline friends.

And while there’s no denying that we love cats and dogs, your options aren’t limited there. Many shelters take in rabbits, birds, rodents, and other creatures looking for a new home. There are even rescue organizations that focus on specific animals like horses and reptiles!

If you’re thinking about bringing a loving critter into your life, here are 14 reasons to adopt a rescue pet from a shelter instead of buying one from a pet store.

1. You’re Saving a Life

1. You’re Saving a Life
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While the number of animals that are euthanized in shelters has dropped dramatically over the years (thank goodness!), it’s a sad truth that some animals are put down when shelters are overcrowded. In fact, according to the Humane Society of the United States, about 2.4 million healthy cats and dogs are put down in US shelters each year. That’s around one every 13 seconds.

Additionally, some older shelter animals simply pass away before they find their forever home.

When you adopt a rescue pet, you help to prevent both of these heartbreaking outcomes.

2. You Can Teach an Abused Animal About Love

2. You Can Teach an Abused Animal About Love
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Many shelter animals come from backgrounds of abuse and neglect. While it’s nearly impossible to imagine anyone wanting to hurt an innocent creature, there are some monsters out there who do just that.

Some pets need to be shown that there are humans in the world who will give them all the love they deserve. One of the most satisfying aspects of adopting a pet is earning the animal’s trust and forming a special bond.

3. You’re Helping to Fight Overpopulation

3. You’re Helping to Fight Overpopulation
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According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter US shelters every year. That means that there’s a desperate need for families to take in the current booming pet population and no need for pet stores to rely on unnecessary breeding.

There’s also a very good chance that your rescue pet will be spayed or neutered, which is another step that helps prevent additional animal overpopulation.

4. You’re Helping to Stop Puppy Mills

4. You’re Helping to Stop Puppy Mills
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There are an estimated 10,000 licensed and unlicensed puppy mills in the United States, according to the Puppy Mill Project. These facilities often operate under terrible conditions and breed as many dogs as possible, with little or no thought given to the health and well-being of the animals.

Unfortunately, there are pet stores that choose to get their animals from puppy mills, but by refusing to buy your pet from these stores, you’re also refusing to support the puppy mills behind them.

5. You Can Adopt an Older Animal

5. You Can Adopt an Older Animal
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While many pet stores sell only puppies, kittens, and baby animals, rescue pets come in all age ranges. Younger animals are still an option, but you can also opt for a slightly more mature pet (i.e., one that’s already outgrown its toddler rambunctiousness) or even an older laid-back companion.

6. You Can Adopt an Animal That’s Already Trained

6. You Can Adopt an Animal That’s Already Trained
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Training a dog isn’t necessarily easy, and we don’t all have time to take our pets to obedience classes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a perfectly well-behaved pet right off the bat.

Many animals who have already been through training end up in shelters and find themselves looking for a new home, which could mean your newly adopted dog might already sit on command (or your cat might know how to use a litter box).

7. The Pet Will Have Received Professional Care

7. The Pet Will Have Received Professional Care
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Animals at shelters and humane societies are checked out by a professional vet before they’re put up for adoption. That means you’ll not only know about any health issues your potential pet is dealing with, the animal will most likely receive treatment before you take it home.

8. The Pet Will Likely Be Microchipped and Spayed/Neutered

8. The Pet Will Likely Be Microchipped and Spayed/Neutered
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Humane societies and shelters want to do everything they can to give the animals who pass through their care the best shot at life. That’s why many will give dogs and cats a microchip (to help the animal find its way home if it gets lost) and neuter/spay the critters before handing them over to their new owners. These procedures can get pretty pricey, so the fact that rescue organizations often include them in the overall adoption fee is an added bonus for both you and your new pet.

9. There Are Endless Options

9. There Are Endless Options
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While you should definitely check out your local animal shelters and pet rescue organizations, if your ideal animal isn’t in your area, you can hop onto the internet to expand your search. Check out Adopt-a-Pet.com, North America’s largest nonprofit pet adoption website, to see pics of animals from across the country who are looking for their future families.

10. You’ll Get to Spend Time With Your Potential Pet

10. You’ll Get to Spend Time With Your Potential Pet
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When you purchase a pet from a store, you might get only a few minutes to interact with the animal before you have to make the decision to buy or walk away. On the other hand, when you adopt a rescue pet, the organization you go to will encourage you (and your entire family) to spend time with your potential pet. The staff might even let you take the animal for a short walk or outside to play before you decide if this is an ideal match.

11. You’ll Be Provided With Specific Advice and Resources

11. You’ll Be Provided With Specific Advice and Resources
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If you adopt from a shelter or humane society, there’s a good chance that it will provide you with a resource-filled package that gives you all of the information you need regarding animal care, routines, feeding, health care, and other helpful tips.

Shelters do thorough examinations, not just of animals’ health, but also of their personalities. The professionals you’ve worked with can also give you specific advice about your new friend, including ways to make sure that both you and your pet love your new life together.

12. The Adoption Process Is Easy and Fast

12. The Adoption Process Is Easy and Fast
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When you choose to bring a baby animal into your home, you sometimes have to wait weeks or months for the little one to be born and mature to the point where it can leave its mother.

However, when you adopt a rescue animal, you often don’t have to wait any time at all. Once you do a little meet-and-greet with your new potential pet and fill out some forms, you’re ready to head home together.

13. It Costs Much Less and the Money Helps Other Animals

13. It Costs Much Less <i>and</i> the Money Helps Other Animals
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When you adopt a pet from a humane society or shelter, the money you spend will go toward caring for the other animals who are still at the shelter. While it’s hard to imagine leaving any of the sweet critters behind, it definitely helps to know that your financial contribution will make their lives a little brighter until they find their own forever homes.

14. You Encourage Others to Adopt as Well

14. You Encourage Others to Adopt as Well
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When you adopt a pet, you show those around you how wonderful the entire process is. And hopefully, when they see how happy you are with your new animal family member, they’ll decide to do the same when it’s time for them to add an animal into their lives!