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Animal Shelters Wouldn’t Be So Crowded If Everyone Knew This

| Published on April 1, 2024

The love of a rescue pet: there’s nothing like it. Everyone who’s adopted a dog knows this to be true. So, why are there still so many pups in shelters?

Animal lovers and activists are on a mission to spread awareness about adopting pets over purchasing them. We can’t help but think: if everyone knew the good that rescuing does for their communities, that it saves countless lives, and that the love of a rescue pet is incomparable to anything else, don’t you think the shelters would be less crowded? After all, we believe that there’s a dog out there for everyone.

Rescue dog Kio // Image Source: Dina Fantegrossi

Animal shelters wouldn’t be so crowded if everyone knew…

…the shocking euthanasia statistics. According to the ASPCA, about 920,000 shelter pets (390,000 dogs and 530,000 cats) are euthanized each year due to overcrowding, and that’s in the United States alone. The number seems staggering, and believe it or not, it is a vast improvement from years past. Still, we have a lot more work to do.

Rescue dog Dexter // Image Source: Jennifer Nelson

Animal shelters wouldn’t be so crowded if everyone knew…

…that rescue pets are not “damaged goods.” There is a stigma that these animals have ended up in their concrete prisons because they have behavior problems or are “damaged” in some way. And while some pets do have issues to overcome – often stemming from abuse or lack of training in their previous home – there are so many more that were surrendered simply because their families decided they were an inconvenience. Too expensive. Too old. Too much shedding. Too much energy. Too time-consuming. Too much work with the new baby. These are common reasons that people give up their pets.

We understand that some people fall on desperate times and have to re-home their companions. But don’t those dogs and cats deserve loving homes, too? As for those “behavioral pets” we mentioned earlier, or those with disabilities, they still make wonderful additions to families who are willing to give them the love, understanding, and extra help that they need.

Rescue dog Rosie // Image Source: Dina Fantegrossi

Animal shelters wouldn’t be so crowded if everyone knew…

…what they were supporting when they purchased pets from a store or from backyard breeders. Buying a dog from an unknown or shady source could mean supporting a puppy mill operation. These animals live in filth and neglect and are churned out like lucrative goods as opposed to living beings. So if you don’t know where that “doggy in the window” came from, don’t buy it. Purchasing a sickly-looking pet isn’t considered “rescue,” either; you’re still funding a dark business. Instead, follow these steps from the Humane Society of the United States to report a suspected puppy mill (you may even get a reward).

Animal shelters wouldn’t be so crowded if everyone knew…

…that there was a dog out there to fit nearly every preference and lifestyle. That’s the beauty of browsing shelter dogs; you can find one that’s the perfect size, temperament, and age for your family. If you’re completely in love with a certain breed of dog, there are lots of purebreds in need of rescuing, too, with hundreds of organizations devoted to re-homing particular breeds.

From social butterflies to mellowed-out homebodies, we truly believe that there is a dog out there for everyone. And thanks to the internet, it’s easy to find a pup who’s your perfect match close to your home. As a side note, those who’ve never considered adopting a middle-aged or senior dog should. They make some of the best companions!

Rescue dogs Rosie, Kio, and Finch // Image Source: Dina Fantegrossi

Animal shelters wouldn’t be so crowded if everyone knew…

…the positive ripple effect they start by adopting a pet. You’ll save the life of the companion you take home, and free up space and resources for more animals to be taken in. The only reason that there aren’t more no-kill organizations is that the resources and funds simply aren’t available. The more pets that are adopted, the more can be saved. When you rescue, you actually save multiple lives at once.

Animal shelters wouldn’t be so crowded if everyone knew…

…that there is no love as unconditional as that of a rescue pet. You can have the most expensive breed of purest pedigree, but it doesn’t mean that they’ll gift you with the same indescribable loyalty and gratefulness as a rescue pup. At the end of the day, the love of your rescued purebred or mystery-mix mutt will make you feel like a million bucks!

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