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Riley Heruska
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The choice to expand your family through the addition of a furry friend is not a small one. There are hundreds of aspects to consider: allergies, breed, size, energy level, medical needs, etc. Most experts would recommend that you spend a couple of months researching before deciding on a pet. Whatever animal you choose will most likely be your responsibility for years, so you need to know what you’re getting into.

Perhaps the most important part of the decision is whether to buy from a breeder or to adopt an animal from a shelter. From the standpoint of anxious pet parent, both sides have their benefits. However, rescuing an animal from a shelter or pound is not just a preferable option: in most cases, it is the right option, and here’s why.

You Will Be Saving a Life

Every year, more than 6.5 million animals enter shelters, and about 1.5 million of those companion creatures are euthanized eventually due to a lack of space or funds to care for them. Although the number of cats and dogs entering shelters has declined pretty substantially over the past few years, there are still millions of happy, healthy creatures in need of a home.

Cats are more likely to end up euthanized than dogs, and black dogs and cats are sometimes less likely to be adopted. Some breeds of dogs are also more likely to be put to sleep, especially pit bulls. In fact, almost half of the dogs euthanized each year have some pit bull in their genes. If you pride yourself on rooting for the underdog, then adopting one of these animals would be an excellent way to make a difference and maybe even save a life. Being a hero is that easy.

It’s Way Less Expensive

Puppies from breeders can cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. Depending on the caliber of the breeder and the type of dog you’re looking into, you could be facing a bill that costs more than your rent. So, why shell out megabucks and encourage overbreeding when you could be helping one of the millions of creatures without a home?

That’s not to say that rescuing an animal is completely free. There are always costs associated with getting a new pet: spay/neuter fees, vaccinations, new products from the petstore, microchips. However, these are all things you would pay for no matter where you find your new best friend. Sometimes, adoption agencies will even help you cover a few fees, making a rescue animal an even more cost-effective option.

You’ll Help Wage War on Cruel Puppy Mills

Puppy mills tend to breed large numbers of puppies in unsanitary, overcrowded environments. Puppies are raised in borderline abusive cages, and many of them end up with health problems later on, including anxiety issues or more serious blood and respiratory diseases. People have been working for decades to eliminate these mills, but the fight is fairly slow. By refusing to go to a puppy mill or pet store, you take away profits from a disreputable industry that needs to disappear. To learn more about puppy mills, you can visit www.aspca.org/animal-cruelty.

More than 2,000 animals across the country are put to sleep every day due to lack of funds or space in kill shelters. Although many shelters now have no-kill policies, we’re a long way from bringing that number of necessary kills down. If you’re thinking about welcoming a dog or a cat into your home, consider making the moral choice to save a life and support the elimination of pointless euthanizations. You’re new best friend will thank you for it.

Click here to see a list of reputable animal shelters in the DFW area you can visit. 

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