I have always bought my pets from a pet store, at least since I had been living on my own. Growing up, my parents let me have hamsters, guinea pigs, fish, most of them from pet stores, although I do believe the fish were from my 7th grade science class (Oh, how I miss you, Paul McFishy).
My first cat, Molly, was from a pet store. Later on, she got a brother, Elvis, from a box of kittens in a shopping center. Otis, my loveable orange tabby, was also purchased from a pet store. To be honest, I never considered animal shelters for a few reasons:
1. Didn’t know where any local shelters were located
2. No real means of transportation to get to and from
3. Too much money to pay out up front for an animal
About 9 months ago, I started volunteering at The Animal Haven, having just felt the joy of rescuing a kitten and being able to find it a home. I had realized that there were thousands upon thousands of homeless pets that were just searching for a home where they can roam free and have a chance to love & be loved. It was shortly thereafter that I realized that there are tons of reasons to choose shelter adoption.
There are some folks out there, however, who strongly object to shelter adoption. Here are some objections as to why people won’t adopt from a shelter, and reasons why they should:
Objection: The price for this animal is too high! I shouldn’t have to pay $(insert dollar amount here) for a cat/dog if it’s not a purebred!
Answer: I actually have two things to say about this:
- Price – Ok, so maybe $100 or $200 for an animal may seem like a lot to pay up front, and that doesn’t even include a litter box/food/dog house, etc.. However in most cases, the animals that are adopted out from shelters have already had all of their vaccinations, been tested for a variety of medical issues including heartworm, FIV, Leukemia, etc.. plus they have also been spayed/neutered. The altering of animals bought at a pet store alone can cost more than the price of adopting a shelter animal who has already had the proper medical attention. In the long run, adopting from a shelter can save you hundreds of dollars!
- Breeds – You’d be surprised how many purebred animals pop up at animal shelters. Just because a shelter animal is in fact a shelter animal doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a mix or “mutt”. Owners surrender their pets for many reasons. Lately, many of them are due to home foreclosures or overall financial stress. Our shelter recently received 2 Abyssinian cats who were gorgeous. We’ve also had a Bloodhound, beagle and sharpei, all of whom are purebreds.
Objection: Animals at a shelter are usually abused animals and probably are mean and will bite me/my kids/visitors/my other pets.
Answer: Totally understandable. However, again, not always the case. While shelters may take in abused animals, I’ve typically found that the cats and dogs that have been surrendered to Animal Haven have fantastic personalities and are just looking for loving homes. While there are some cats or dogs that may bite or scratch, they can be the exception to the rule. I’ve also seen many cats and dogs have personalities that have changed over time to gentler and sweeter animals. If you do have other animals or young children in the house, definitely speak to the shelter’s staff about your home situation so they can be sure to help you find an animal that is a good fit.
Objection: Why would I adopt from a no-kill shelter? If I don’t adopt from there, they won’t be put down, right?
Answer: This is a tough one. No matter if you choose a no-kill shelter or not, you are saving a homeless animal. No-kill shelters will keep animals until they are either adopted, or until they are extremely sick to the point of fatality. While that ensures the animal a long and happy life at the shelter, that also prevents the no-kill shelter from taking on animals from places that do euthanize if the animal isn’t adopted after a certain time period. And just because a no-kill shelter keeps the animal for life until adoption, doesn’t necessarily mean that the animal wants to be at the shelter for their entire life. No-kill shelter animals are looking for homes just as much as regular shelter animals. Regardless of whether you adopt from a regular shelter or a no-kill you are still giving an animal a home.
Shelter animals can be the best choice for a family because they can be the most loving pets you could have. Now that I have one store-bought and one shelter animal, I think I have a great balance. My shelter pet (a 1-year-old cat) is extremely loving, sweet, and is a good snuggler. She is also great with my older cat, as she is used to being around other cats thanks to the folks at Animal Haven. It was a great match!
So, next time you are considering a pet, consider shelter adoption and give a homeless animal a home and family!
**Note: Prices for shelter adoption may vary. The prices used in this blog do not necessarily reflect the rates at Animal Haven, North Haven, CT.