Adopting: Giving an Animal a Second Chance at a Happy, Loving Life

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 at 9:51 PM
Adopting: Giving an Animal a Second Chance at a Happy, Loving Life by Becca Martin

One of the most rewarding feelings of adopting an animal from a shelter is knowing you are giving an animal a second chance at a happy, loving life. Animals come into the shelter from all walks of life and are generally either owner surrenders or strays. Adopting a dog from a shelter is such a great thing. They are so appreciative of the love and affection you are going to give them. The adoption fee for your pet also helps the other animals in the shelter and the new ones coming in.

Dogs end up in shelters for reasons they cannot control; they don’t want to be there. But adopting an animal from a shelter is a great option. Most shelters spay and neuter their animals before they are put up for adoption, along with vaccinating the animals and giving them physical exams. Some even microchip their animals in case they get lost in the future, so they can be reunited with their new family and won’t end up back in the shelter. Less than 2 percent of cats and only 15-20 percent of dogs are returned to their owners, according to

Adopting from a shelter is a much more humane choice than buying an animal from a breeder or pet store. As appealing and cute as puppies appear in stores, they generally come from puppy mills, which are usually awful places. Animals are bred and bred, over and over, until they are no longer needed; profit is more important than the needs of the animals. They are treated as a product instead of a living creature that needs love and attention. These dogs also can have a lot of health problems because they are not given the proper care they need and do not receive vet treatment when they’re sick. The ASPCA estimates that there could be as many as 10,000 puppy mills in the United States with breeders breeding 10 dogs to 1,000 at a time. If you are set on having a purebred dog, check out your local shelter.

Approximately 25 percent of dogs in the shelter are purebred dogs and if you want a puppy, you guessed it! Shelters have puppies too. Shelters are great places to adopt animals, but because of people not properly caring for their animals or making a commitment to an animal they cannot keep, approximately 8-12 million animals enter shelters nationwide each year. And of those million, 5-9 million are euthanized each year, approximately 60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats, according to That number is way to high. There are shelters that are “no kill” or “low kill,” that only euthanize in cases that animals are terminally ill where it is more ethical to euthanize or in extreme behavior cases.

Now, when you think you are ready to adopt an animal make sure you consider the 10 pet commandments before you commit to giving an animal their forever home.

1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years. Any separation from you will be painful to me. Remember that before you adopt me.

2. Give me time to understand what you want from me.

3. Place your trust in me. It’s crucial to my well being.

4. Don’t be angry with me for long. Don’t lock me up as punishment or tie me outside. You have your work, your entertainment and your friends. I only have you.

5. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don’t understand your words, I understand your voice when it’s speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me — I will never forget.

7. Remember before you hit me: I have teeth that could easily hurt you, but I choose not to bite you.

8. Before you scold me for being un-cooperative, obstinate or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I’m not getting the right food, or I’ve been out in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak.

9. Take care of me when I get old. You will grow old too.

10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say: “I can’t bear to watch,” or “Let it happen in my absence.” Everything is easier for me if you’re there. And always remember that I love you unconditionally and will forever.

Becca Martin is a Staff Writer for The Spectator.

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