Where Did You Get Your Pet?

The majority of people with pets, 61%, did not get any of their pets from animal shelters. You might wonder how we would know that. Well, last year Maddie’s Fund and the SPCA of Northern Nevada released a survey conducted by the University of Nevada, Reno.

This may sound like bad news for the animals in shelters, but actually I think it holds a great opportunity for them. You see, the survey also revealed why people had not adopted pets. Understanding why, we can take steps to address concerns and lay misconceptions to rest.

The most common reasons given were a desire for a specific breed and for a kitten or puppy. Other people said that they feared it would be too difficult or emotional to choose an animal from a shelter or that the animals might be less well-behaved or unhealthy. A few said it might be too costly to adopt a pet.

Purebred pets

Statistically, 25% of dogs in animal shelters are purebreds. On any given day, you can find handsome Retrievers, Chihuahuas, Siamese, Persians, and numerous other purebred pets in local animal shelters. If you are patient, you can find a dog of almost any breed, but if you are having trouble finding the pet of your dreams in a shelter, there are purebred rescue groups for both dogs and cats that specialize in a specific breed.

Younger pets

Each summer and fall area shelters have a large array of charming kittens. This summer we even had many Siamese kittens. Puppies can be a bit harder to come by, but they are still found in shelters. You can even look online for the pet of your dreams through adoption websites, such as PetFinder.com.

Good feelings

Some people worry that adopting a pet may be a sad or depressing experience. But most people who have actually adopted a pet report that is has been fulfilling and rewarding. After all, how often do you get to save a life? Knowing that you have will make you feel great!

I have heard a few people say that they might feel guilty about the pets that they see in the shelter, but cannot adopt. If that is a worry, you can adopt from a no-kill shelter. Our community has three to choose from, including Nevada Humane Society, the SPCA of Northern Nevada, and Pet Network.

Good health

The majority of animals in shelters are healthy pets who just need a loving home. In fact, it’s standard practice in our shelter, and many others, to spay or neuter and vaccinate every pet. We also stand behind their health by offering care for any ailment that may develop related to their time at the shelter. Occasionally, cats can become stressed when they move into a new home and can come down with a little cold, but most are easily treated and back to good health in no time.

While most pets in shelters are in great shape, some people find that adopting a special-needs pet, one that is older or needs a little extra care, is something that has great meaning for them. The bond that develops with a pet that really needs you is especially deep and rewarding.

Good behavior

Most animals in shelters are there though no fault of their own. Moving, loss of a job, or some other lifestyle change are among the most common reasons why pets end up in shelters.

Often, the secret to a well-behaved pet is finding one that is a good fit for you. Adoption counselors at your local shelter know the animals and they are trained to help you find a pet that will be a good match. Perhaps you are looking for a couch-potato dog or a lap cat to keep you cozy through the winter. Maybe you would prefer an active dog who will inspire you with exuberance on the morning jog or a cat that will make you laugh so hard at his antics that you forget all your cares.

Shelters have the largest selection of pets in any community, so you have the best chance of finding your furry soul mate there.

The cost of pet adoption

I could argue that pet adoption at any price is a bargain, given that you get a wonderful new friend, but the truth is that pet adoption is very affordable. Many local shelters, including Nevada Humane Society (NHS), offer special prices during adoption promotions. Senior citizens are often eligible for further discounts. At NHS, the Seniors-for-Seniors Program allows people 55 and older to adopt a pet 6 or older free of charge.

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