It is a lovely time of year. A beautiful blanket of snow out, cozy fireplaces, holiday decorations, and family. For some, however, it is not so lovely. It is a concrete floor, a small place for some fresh air, and a fence between them and everyone. Sounds like a shelter doesn’t it? Cold, lonely animals are spending the holidays wishing they had families while people are buying puppies and kittens from pet stores for their loved ones.
The problem with this is not only the forgotten pets in a shelter are growing rapidly, but many people buy a kitten, do not get it spayed or neutered and toss it out when they do not want it. This creates a whole new problem. There is an animal on the streets who cannot survive on its own, free to breed when and wherever it pleases, creating more animals to go to shelters.
It is a viscous cycle that will likely not end anytime soon. When you adopt from a shelter, the adoption fee is usually not a high one. At the Elizabethtown Animal Control Center, there is a $15 adoption fee and a $6 licensing fee. You pay 1 total of $21 to bring home a new pet. At the E-town pet center you pay anywhere from $20-$40 for a kitten.
I am not knocking the E-town pet center by any means. I have been a customer there for several years for my small pets that you do not find at a shelter, Their small animals (rabbits, hamsters) come primarily as donations; accidental breeding and easy to sell. I also have a snake I feed and I buy my rats from them. For long-term furry companions however, I check the shelters first.
When you buy from a breeder, you are usually getting a purebred animal. Let’s face it, mutts and mixed breeds are way cuter a lot of the time. Sometimes you can get the looks of one breed and the personality of another in a win/win situation. We had a border collie mix growing up. He had the looks and personality of the border collie and the size of a sheltie. We also had a lab/ rottweiler. She had the build of the rott, but the personality and coat of the lab. However she had the size of something larger than both. We never had issues with people threatening our family even though she was a sweet dog. Both dogs were rescues. All of our dogs have come from shelters or adopted from someone on their way to drop off the dog at one.
We hear it all the time, adopt from a shelter. It has all but been ground into our brains. But this is the time of year that if you are going to gift someone a furry friend, gift the furry one a second chance. Change the cold concrete floor to the floor of a nice home. Change the barrier between you and them to a loving belly rub. Change the small outdoor pen to a nice walk or run in the park. Change an animal’s life from a shelter, someone else will buy the puppy in the window.