According to the ASPCA, 6.5 million animals are rescued and brought to shelters every year nationwide, but not all animals are adopted to new homes.
Rescue animals come from a variety of situations and backgrounds. Often they are rescued from a situation of neglect, abuse or natural disaster. These animals can have behavioral issues as a result of neglect and are often not purebred. The chances of them becoming Best in Show are slim. They may not be able to tell you what they’ve been through or describe the pain they’ve endured, but their nonverbal communication is very powerful. In working with and adopting these types of animals, I have witnessed their strength and compassion. Some have survived near-death experiences and yet are willing to wag their tail, put on a goofy smile, and open their hearts to a new human companion. They have the means to live a happy life, but only for those willing to provide one.
Puppies and kittens in store windows are cute, fun and playful. They’re small and cuddly, warm and clean. They don’t remember where they came from, because now all they see is the inside of a plexiglass cage. They whine to be held and loved. They defecate in their bed and are bathed just before eager customers arrive. They are replaced immediately after purchase.
Supporting pet stores that buy from “puppy mills” is supporting puppy mill production.
The ASPCA estimates that 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized every year in the U.S. These are the animals left behind in shelters that may not be cute, cuddly, or well-behaved at first glance. They may be missing limbs or have severe health issues. They are often viewed as “undesirable.” They’re not always trained, and they may be aggressive to new owners. They can be more of a “burden” than the cute animals wrestling behind the glass.
Rescue animals often behave differently, but it doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of a loving forever home. Rescue animals bring joy, love, and warmth to households that are willing to be patient and kind when faced with a challenge.
Not all “breeders” are ethical. It’s not ethical to have an overpopulated, unsanitary, and abusive “farm” of animals. Pets that are purchased from these conditions can be healthy upon purchase, but often develop health issues later in life as a result of of their neglectful environment.
When choosing your next animal at a pet store, ask the vendor where the animals are coming from. Do your research on the facility, and recognize ways to prevent the support of “puppy mills” who are unethically breeding animals. Consider rescue over adoption and help give love to animals who need it most.
Visit https://www.aspca.org/adopt-pet to find a local shelter and save a life today.