If you’re thinking about adding a new puppy to your family, why not consider adopting one from a local animal shelter or you city Pound?
Most pounds and rescues are overflowing with dogs in desperate need of a loving home. You may think that only older or ‘problem’ dogs end up in shelters, but you’d be wrong!
Many older puppies and adolescent dogs (between 9 and 12 months of age) are surrendered to shelters every day. And often ‘oops’ litters (unexpected or unwanted puppies) or abandoned mama-dogs or litters, end up there too. Even purebred dogs and puppies can be found in animal shelters and pounds across the country (estimates of purebreds in shelters range from 25 – 40% of all homeless dogs).
The facts and figures surrounding homeless dogs in the United States are horrendous, and heartbreaking. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, approximately 2 MILLION dogs enter US shelters every year. And it gets worse – statistics gathered by other groups are even higher, sometimes up to 8 MILLION + surrendered dogs every year! When you factor in that it’s estimated that only 1 in 10 homeless dogs will ever be adopted, it’s a truly staggering and tragic picture.
These puppies and dogs are homeless through no fault of their own, and the majority of them will make just as healthy, loving and wonderful pets as any puppy you can get from a breeder.
A purebred puppy from a breeder can easily cost $1000 – $1500 (and frequently more), whereas a purebred, rescued puppy often doesn’t cost more than $300 – $500. A mix-breed homeless puppy will be a lot less, depending on what the individual pound or shelter charges.
There are also other financial savings. When you adopt a puppy from a pound or rescue center, it will most likely be have been spayed or neutered and be up to date on all shots. You may even get extra ‘perks’, such as a discount on training classes or something similar.
Of course, saving money shouldn’t be a major consideration. Much more important is the fact that you could actually, literally, be saving a life! Not all pounds or rescue shelters are able to have ‘no kill policies’ in place, and millions of dogs are euthanized every year. This is despite that fact that they’re perfectly healthy, temperamentally sound and want nothing more than a home and family to call their own.
An adolescent/older puppy or dog is more often at risk of being ‘put to sleep’ as they’re passed that ‘cute puppy’ stage. However, these homeless dogs can make superb pets and are easier to take care of, and settle in faster, when they’re given the chance of a new home.
Little puppies are adorable, but they’re HARD WORK and very time and labor-intensive. Even slightly older pups (4 months plus) are easier to housebreak and train than an 8 week old ‘baby’ puppy. Mature dogs (anything over 12 – 18 months) are usually well-mannered, often already housebroken and at least partly obedience trained, and are out of the ‘chewing everything’ stage. All definite pluses!
If you think you could adopt a puppy or dog, and give it a chance at a better life, go to your local City Pound or rescue shelter and talk with the staff about the homeless dogs there. They’re usually very helpful and knowledgeable, and are more than happy to help you pick just the right canine companion.
Obviously, any puppy or dog needs a little time to adjust to a new home and family. But lots of love, attention, patience, toys and a good diet are all they’ll need.
So, go on, give it some thought! Adopting a homeless pup may turn out to be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. The puppy or dog you take home will be one of the lucky ones, but you’ll be lucky too…lucky to have found a loving, faithful four-legged friend to share your life with.