Right now, there are thousands of animals sitting in kennels watching people walk by, look at them, and leave.
Right now, there are also people spending thousands of dollars to find a dog that looks a way they like.
Cue “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan.
But in a more serious tone, this is a prominent issue that many pet owners create. Pet stores and animal shelters sound like the same thing, and yet are completely different. A pet store is a retail business that sells animals and products for them (leashes, collars, food, etc). An animal shelter is a place that takes in animals that are abandoned, lost or surrendered.
Shelters are even used to rehabilitate and help wounded animals. On a less positive note, some are legally authorized to euthanize animals as well. Reasons could be that the animal was sick, has potential behavioral issues, or did not get adopted quickly enough.
“Adopt, don’t shop” is a phrase referring to adopting animals from shelters instead of puppies from pet stores. People using this phrase could be called animal rights activists; I prefer calling them the more proper label, decent human beings.
When it comes to shopping for animals, celebrities are a big part of the issue. An example would be singer Justin Bieber paying $35,000 for kittens. The kittens were part-exotic Savannah breed cats from a breeder.
“Justin Bieber could inspire his fans around the world to save a life by adopting a cat from a local animal shelter — rather than fueling the dangerous demand for hybrid cats,” said the animal rights organization PETA.
For reference, $35,000 can buy a Tesla Model 3, an island, or a yacht vacation. That kind of money being spent on cats that look like tiny leopards may seem alright to a millionaire, but it’s not ethically correct.
Adopting animals over shopping for them has more benefits than one would think. Robin Coleman, adoption program manager at local shelter Woods Humane Society, added a few points to this topic.
“Definitely the number one benefit in my opinion is that you’re saving a life,” Coleman said. “Not only are you saving that life that you’re bringing into your home but you’re making a spot available for the next animal to come in.”
Additional perks of adopting instead of shopping are that many animals come already spayed or neutered. Many animals that go through the shelter system have already been with an owner, are somewhat trained, and socialized with other animals. Save a dog from the pound and save the hassle of potty training puppies.
A lot of shelters like Woods Humane Society are non profits. Rather than filling the pockets of a business, donating to a shelter can feed its animals and provide an overall better environment. Some shelters even give vaccinations and obedience courses for animals after they’ve been adopted.
When searching for the right animal for one’s family, some important things to know are how well it is going to fit in. How well they interact with small children or other animals in the house are key factors to some. At a shelter, one can narrow animals down to the qualities that are necessary to the owner.
Besides one of the most obvious reasons for adopting (how inexpensive it is compared to puppy mills), the difference is mainly in the animal’s life. Taking an animal out from behind the kennel walls and giving it all the love it deserves is one of the most rewarding things a human can do.
“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that dog, the world will change forever,” said author Karen Davison.
By the way, Arnie (the dog in the photo), got rescued!