The Pros and Cons of Shelter Adoption
Having worked in animal rescue as long as I have there are many things I’ve learned about shelter life and the animals that are subjected to it. Regardless of your state, county or city, the shelter near you is likely overrun and bursting at the seams with unwanted pets that are at best receiving the bare minimum to survive; at worst they see an end fate without ever being adopted.
While some shelters offer a better living environment than others, they all have the classic “atmosphere” of overcrowded runs, loud anxious occupants and high kill rates. It is these three reasons that I foster dogs and that I encourage everyone I can to take a look at the local shelter if they are interested in adding a furry pet to their home.
Benefits of Adopting A Shelter Pet
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of adopting is saving the life of an otherwise unfortunate pet that didn’t make it out. With the constant intake of unwanted animals, some shelters can only give a homeless cat or dog a couple of days to hopefully find that forever family. By choosing to adopt from your local shelter you have saved that pet from facing a death sentence.
A second benefit that many don’t consider is having the pet already spayed or neutered. Most shelters have an adoption fee that include spay/neuter at a fraction of the cost if you were to alter your pet with your private vet.
A third benefit is being able to ask questions about your potential new pets temperament and energy level. The shelter attendants can often assess dogs with other dogs and cats and can let you know if a particular kitty you’re interested in is doing well. All though it won’t be 100%, you can have an idea of your dog’s personality before you bring them home.
The Risks of Adopting A Shelter Pet
Regardless of how much I encourage people to adopt from their local shelter it’s important they understand the other side of shelter adoption; the risks. Perhaps the biggest risk you might take is common shelter illnesses such as kennel cough. Other health factors may already exist with your adopted pet that shelter staff are not able to recognize or diagnose prior to adoption. It’s always a good idea to have your newly adopted pet seen by your vet as soon as possible for an overall health check and signs of disease.
Perhaps another major concern is the inability to know the history of the pet you wish to adopt, especially when considering a dog. Depending on the past of some dogs, it can have a negative impact on their behavior – an impact that may not be noticed until well after your newly adopted pet has settled in. In some instances the behaviors can be so problematic you’ll need to seek professional training to get things back in order. But even when a trainer needs to be called, most behavior problems are corrected successfully and easily.
Although health and behavior issues are a risk, they are far and few between as 9 out of 10 pets selected from a shelter are healthy and easy-going pets as they adjust to their new lives. Don’t let fear of either stop you from visiting your local shelter and seeing who is waiting there just for you!
Thanks to our guest author. Mikki Hogan, trainer and publisher of http://www.mydogdidwhat.com has worked actively in dog rescue for over 12 years with an increase in high kill shelter rescues in the past three years. She aims to educate the community as well as assist new dog owners succeed with their canine companions through online advanced dog obedience training.