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Why You Should Adopt a Pet From a Shelter

Make a difference in an animal’s life. There are positive reasons for both the animal and the human to adopt a pet from a shelter.

Adopting a pet brings many joys. There are countless animals in shelters begging with their puppy-dog-eyes to find a forever home—animals that went through trauma, abandonment, hunger, or all three.

You can make a difference in an animal’s life, and your own, by adopting a pet from a shelter or a pet rescue.

The Statistics

According to ASPCA, “approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year.” Of those animals, cats and dogs specifically, “approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year.” That means only half of the animals taken in by shelters are adopted out. Many more animals are out there than shelters can house. Therefore, every animal adopted from a shelter opens up a spot for a new potential pet.

In 2011, the numbers averaged 2.6 million instances of euthanasia.

While some of the chipped strays are reunited with their human families, those numbers are lower than that of euthanized animals. Humane euthanasia is not ideal; however, it’s a positive sign that there is a reduction in euthanasia cases and a rise in adoption. ASPCA shares that in 2011, the numbers averaged 2.6 million instances of euthanasia. By 2018, the number of cases decreased to 1.5 million. Every time someone adopts an animal, it helps to reduce this number further.

With so many cats and dogs in animal shelters, there’s a high probability of finding your perfect match for a furry partner.

Pets Need People

Shelter animals come from different backgrounds. Some are born without a human family, unwanted, behavioral issues, health issues, or neglected by their owners. Many shelters help pets through relocation, medical needs, and some provide training and behavior assessments. They aspire to optimize chances toward finding a family for homeless pets.

There are multitudes of stories concerning traumatized animals taken in by shelters, shaking and afraid. Through care and patience, these animals learn that they can trust again. They can find excitement and a new craving for life. That’s what you could bring to your new fur baby—hope, joy, safety.

One category of adoption to keep in mind is the senior pets. The ones that are seen as too old. These animals tend to already be set in their personalities, easy-going but still active. They need less management than a puppy. As ASPCA states, “many are already housetrained,” so you don’t need to worry about training. They long to be loved too, and you may be what they’re looking for in a human.

People Need Pets

Shelter animals need people, but people need animals too. While you are looking for a companion, there are all types of animals in shelters seeking a loving home.

By adopting a pet from a shelter, you may gain unexpected benefits. The HelpGuide explains that “pets, especially dogs and cats, can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular health.” Ultimately, your positive moods are boosted by caring for animals. Pets attune themselves to their humans. As the connection between you and your pet becomes stronger, a developed sense of comfort and safety is brought on by mere presence.

Loneliness can become less an issue, if not a complete non-issue, when you have an animal companion by your side. The HelpGuide also noted a side effect of a pet is that fur parents “over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.” This shows healing qualities of pets in our lives.

Socialization is vital for various species.

Touch starvation is an honest feeling for people, and it’s something animals experience too. Socialization is vital for various species. Luckily, we can gain this through the connection of humans and pets and socialization with other animal lovers.

Adopting a pet from a shelter not only brings joy to an animal’s life but to yours as well.

There are multitudes of ways to help animal shelters, from donation to adoption. Or maybe you’re called to foster. If you’re looking for an animal, we encourage you to seek out your local shelters and rescues first. Many rescues cater to specific breeds if you have a breed in mind. But the diamond in the ruff companion might be closer than you think. Check In with your local shelter. You may find that pet you’ve always felt called to but haven’t met yet. They’re waiting for you.


No matter where you plan to adopt a pet, please be well informed of your decision. It’s a big commitment to take in another living being. Here are some links to help you as you prepare to be a new fur parent:

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