Bringing a new pet into your home is an exciting time and it’s amazing how quickly those furry, feathery or scaly friends become a member of the family. While you can buy your new pet from a reputable breeder or from a family or friend, adopting a rescue pet has many benefits for you and your family, the pet and animal welfare as a whole, so this is an option that is worth considering.
A second chance
Pets find themselves in rescue shelters through no fault of their own. Some have been abandoned, some have been surrendered by owners who are unable to care for them while others have been removed from conditions of cruelty and neglect. When you adopt a rescue pet, you not only give those animals another chance at a happy, healthy life, you also free up space in the shelter for future animals in need.
The right pet
Just like people, animals have their quirks of personality that make them better suited for certain environments. When choosing a pet, it is important to make sure it will fit your lifestyle. This is not just about space in the home and access to the outdoors, but also how it will interact with family members. If you have small children, for example, you need to make sure your pet will be comfortable with the noise and excitement of family life. If you have existing pets, you need to ensure your new arrival is happy to be with other animals.
Rescue shelters generally take great care in matching pets to owners to make sure the pets go to a suitable home, and you can be confident that your new pet is the right fit. In the New York area, you can see how this works at the Humane Society of New York, where if you are interested in a pet, you can view their profile to see all their details, including any particular needs. You start by filling out an application form so they can see if any animals in the shelter are suitable for you, beginning a process that includes a home visit, so when you bring home your new pet, you can be confident it is the right fit for your family.
Up-to-date health care
At a rescue shelter, a pet’s healthcare needs have been provided, so any immunizations, flea treatment and worming medication is up to date. If the animal has any existing conditions, you will know of these in advance, allowing you to make an informed decision of whether you can meet the pet’s needs. They will also usually be already spayed/neutered and microchipped if appropriate, making that one less task for you to worry about.
Owning a pet is a financial commitment, but adopting a pet from a shelter can reduce the initial cost as the adoption fee is generally considerably less than if you were buying from a breeder. Additionally, as stated above, healthcare is likely to be up to date so you can concentrate on longer term veterinary care.
Long term support
Rescue shelters do not forget about their residents when they go off to their forever home. Instead, they are generally happy to be contacted for advice and support both as you settle your pet in and if you have any difficulties in the future. It is worth finding out what is available at your nearest shelters, but some will offer veterinary facilities where you can access treatment, often at a reduced cost if you hit challenging times.
Improve animal welfare
While there are reputable animal breeders who care about their animal’s welfare, far too many pets sold in pet stores or online still come from puppy mills or the equivalent for other animals, where breeding animals are kept in poor conditions and forced through too many pregnancies with no thought to their wellbeing or the health of the offspring. By purchasing a rescue pet, that’s one less pet purchased from these mills. When your friends and family see how well a rescue pet adoption can go, they will be more likely to consider a rescue shelter if they want a pet, helping to put inhumane breeders out of business.
Rescue shelters often also carry out wider work for animal welfare, such as affordable veterinary care for owners on a low income or the spaying/neutering of feral cats. Your adoption fee can go towards this valuable work as well as helping maintain and improve the shelter for future animals that need their care. Additionally, many owners become involved in fundraising for the shelter that helped their pet in its time of need.
With so many benefits to adopting a rescue pet, this is certainly worth considering if you are thinking about bringing a new pet into your family.