Have you ever seen a stray on the side of the road and wished more than anything that you could pull over and bring them home with you? That is me. Every single day. I am extremely passionate, maybe too much so, about any and all animals. Maybe my heart is too big or maybe it is because I was raised around them, but I believe that all animals deserve a chance at a happy and healthy life.
Although I love all animals and do not discriminate, there is just something about a rescue animal that is so special to me. Since I have one of my own now, I can confidently say that adopting a rescue pup was the best decision I have ever made. I try to encourage people as much as I can to take a peak at a local rescue shelter or humane society before going to a breeder or pet store. Here are five reasons why I think you should adopt a furry friend.
1. It forces you to grow up.
I was on my way to get a beta fish with a few friends when I saw her. Every Saturday, local humane societies and rescues come to PetSmart in hopes of adopting out the many dogs and cats that deserve just one more chance. I did not even make it in to the store before I was locked in her big brown eyes and little puppy dog face. My decision was made. I went to the man who was in charge, asked how much she was and what she came with, and I wrote him a check. Did I have the money? No. Was I mentally prepared? Absolutely not. But is anyone actually prepared to save a life? I brought her home to my brand new apartment and my roommates came to love her like their own. I had to train her, let her outside several times a day, get her updated on shots and vaccines, and tend to her needs on a daily basis. I was happy to do it because I knew that I was giving her the best life possible, and I was also becoming more responsible by the day.
2. You become the most patient person on the planet.
Training a dog is not easy, especially a rescue. They tend to be a little more timid and scared. Punishing them for doing bad things is definitely the hardest part. You feel bad because you know they have not had the best life, but you know that you need to train them in order to teach them the ways of the world. It takes time, and it takes tons of patience. They are going to mess up and have accidents at first, but that is part of the whole process. You broaden your limits and give them time until they finally understand. It is an extremely rewarding feeling when they finally “sit” and “shake.”
3. They will show you unconditional love.
Adopting a dog or cat means making a commitment (hopefully) for the rest of their lives. You have friends, family, and people who love you no matter what. You know that these people have your back and would do anything for you. That is how your animal feels about you. Animals pick up on things that would actually surprise us humans. They know when you are sad, mad, happy, and everything in between. They will be by your side and although they cannot talk (maybe one day), they will always be there for you. That is called unconditional love.
4. Buying an animal from a pet store is risky.
Puppy mills that breed dogs to sell to pet stores show little to no regard for the well-being of the animals they’re breeding. Not only are the puppies born into overcrowded situations, but it is often extremely unsanitary. I have heard time and time again of situations where a puppy from a pet store, like PetLand or PetCo, has immediate health problems following their adoption. Although not every single puppy is from a puppy mill, that seems to be the case in most scenarios. Puppy mills are not good. I know that these puppies need homes too, but puppy mills need to stop being supported by the public.
5. You are saving their life, and sometimes they are saving yours.
Although many rescue shelters are considered “no-kill,” there are unfortunately some in overpopulated counties that have no other choice but to euthanize unwanted animals. The mere thought of that makes me so sad. There are so many families every day wanting pets that do not even explore the option of adopting. One simple step can spare an animal their life. I suffer from anxiety and depression and have had to take a low dose of medicine since high school. When I got Lyla, my life changed dramatically. She provided such a sense of comfort for me and I believe that I did the same for her. We are the perfect pair, and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to save her life, even though she was the one that saved me.