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Adopt Don’t Shop

Are you considering bringing a new pet into your life? If you are, this is an incredibly exciting and life-changing decision.

When you’re ready to bring a new dog or cat into your life and home, we encourage you to “adopt don’t shop”! When you adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue, you are literally saving a life.

According to the ASPCA, every year in the U.S.A., an estimated 6.3 million dogs and cats enter shelters, 3.1 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats. When you adopt a rescue animal, you will change their life for the better.

Once you see the adorable photos and videos of a dog or cat at a shelter, it is very easy to become attached to your potential lifetime companion. But keep your heart and mind open as once you go to the shelter, you might meet and fall in love with a different dog or cat who will be the best fit for your life, family, and home.

But please adopt responsibly. When you’re looking to adopt a pet, always look for shelters and rescues that do the following:

  • Spay or neuter pets

  • Vaccinate all pets

  • Have strict guidelines for foster parents and adopters

  • Advocate for force-free, positive reinforcement training

  • Do home checks to see that you have a suitable home or lifestyle for the needs of the pet

  • Give you the most up-to-date information about the personality, behavior, and medical condition of the pet you’re looking to adopt

  • Are transparent about adoption fees

By adopting, you’re supporting the shelter by giving one of their beloved cats or dogs the best home and you’re also contributing towards the ongoing care of the other dogs and cats at the shelter. You’re changing lives of so many animals and people.

Dog named "Sun dog" who is blind. Photo Credit: Andrea Gung

But, all rescue dogs and cats have unknown histories. The shelters don’t know exactly what happened before the dog or cat arrived at their door. After you’ve adopted a dog or cat and they are becoming settled at your home, it is very common for your new pet’s traumatic experiences and exposures to be expressed as behavior problems that may include:

  • Resource guarding over toys, food bowl, food

  • Inappropriate toileting like missing the litterbox

  • General anxiety around certain locations, objects, people or other animals

  • Stress and fearfulness around certain people or other animals

  • Aggression towards specific animals or people

These behaviors are your pet’s way of communicating that they are stressed, fearful, traumatized, or anxious and need help! If you are struggling with your rescue dog or cat’s behaviors please find a force-free behaviorist or trainer in your area, or work with someone virtually. The Pet Professional Guild Directory is a great resource. Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it! Your dog or cat will thank you for asking for help. Behavior problems are the number one reason dogs and cats are surrendered to shelters. Learn more about this here.

When you adopt a pet, we understand that life with your pet won’t always be perfect, but it will be worth it.

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Thx for this Duo Duo! The effects of post covid continue so many shelters are already to capacity. The other thing I'd encourage people to consider are the impressive rescue organizations that don't operate through a shelter - instead they work through a rigorous network of foster homes. Paw Fund in San Francisco's east bay is one I'm familiar with.

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Thank you and you're right! Thank you for a great point.

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