The Value of Pet Adoption
When seeking a four-legged addition to the family, pet adoption is often an option that is overlooked. Because animals in adoption shelters are sometimes viewed as pets with “problems,” people can be hesitant to explore this route. On the contrary, the Michigan Humane Society says that pets are handed off to shelters due to factors outside of their temperament such as divorce, financial hardship, illness, or death of a primary caregiver.
The other alternatives that pet-seekers tend to gravitate towards are buying an animal from a breeder or a pet shop. Nevertheless, these alternatives can perpetuate other issues that can be viewed as problematic.
Even though many breeders are responsible and dedicated to maintaining certain breeds, the costs of the animals they sell can be incredibly expensive. Purebred puppies are typically priced between $200 and $2,000, while the prices of kittens range from $300 to $15,000 according to the American Kennel Club.
Pet Shops vs Rescue Shelters
Pet shops also are known to focus more on the profit versus the quality of the animals they sell. Many shops actually receive their dogs from puppy mills. Puppy mills are places where dogs are typically raised in harsh, unsanitary conditions. In this environment, dogs will often not receive the proper care and nutrition that they require. This causes many over-priced puppies that are sold to have poor health or genetic defects.
In contrast, unlike most pet shops, adoption shelters provide basic health care for animals through standard fees. Depending on the organization, adoption fees can range from nothing to several hundred dollars (Petfinder). However, because these fees are used to cover the animal’s medical care, choosing to find a pet through shelters still ultimately ends up saving families more money.
Many pet-owners often do not recognize the economic value that comes out of pet adoption. The economic value has nothing to do with the organization’s economic profit, but it is about receiving the highest quality pet for the lowest cost possible. This is why many organizations become dedicated to finding animals that are physically and emotionally qualified to be part of a caring family. Shelters want to ensure that families are prepared to care for all of the animal’s needs. Not every person is equipped to nurture a sick cat back to health, have the patience to raise a puppy, comply with the needs of animals that have genetic issues such as blindness, etc.
Pet adoption facilities, like the Michigan Humane Society, additionally house 25-30 percent purebred animals that are available for adoption because of some family’s desire for a specific pet.
Cat vs Dog Pet Adoption
Pet adoption institutions have become more involved with addressing the issues surrounding animal homelessness that many individuals are not aware of. For instance, the importance of cat adoption is becoming more prevalent because of outside factors that skew the number of cats that are adopted.
Cats face a higher mortality rate in shelters as a result of the different ways people take in their feline friends free of cost. On average, 65 percent of cat owners receive their pets from acquaintances or family members, and 20 percent of owners take in strays. This is why institutions such as Maddie’s Fund have been promoting the concept of free cat adoptions.
Maddie’s Fund has taken great strides to ensure that there is an increase in cat adoptions. Waiving the adoption fees has proven to have improved results. In June of 2012, shelters and rescue groups made a difference by participating in the third Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathon where 2,600 dogs and cats found new homes.
Pet adoption centers often search for adopters that will provide a good home for these animals. Petfinder offers questions for potential adopters that help define what makes a good home for pets. Having other pets in the home is usually a good indicator, since it shows that the adopter has involved pet ownership. It is also important that there is space for the pet to exercise and play. Some rescue groups complete home checks for this reason. If the potential owner lives in an apartment, then they should clarify if they are allowed to own pets in their building. A good home should also have no indications of abuse or neglect. Instead, good homes should come from a place of patience, nourishment, love, and understanding.
Are You Ready to Adopt a Pet?
Opening up your home to a new pet can be such a rewarding experience for families. Studies have shown that pets can even improve one’s mood and health. Pet adoption facilities can help in making this connection and finding the perfect pet for you! The pet adoption process can be viewed as the best option because it ultimately benefits all parties involved.
If interested in adopting a pet or finding an adoption center near you, the ASPCA Adoption Center provides a searchable database with more than 13,000 local humane societies or animal control organizations. Finding a pet adoption center is a way to bring potential pet owners just one step closer to helping with this meaningful contribution.
Alexandra Zuccaro is a recent graduate from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A in English. She a strong interest in journalism and hopes to pursue a career in the field.