Sunday is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. Here's my plea as to why you should head to a shelter ASAP!

1. Shelter pets are healthy when you adopt them, as opposed to puppies bought from a pet store which may (unbeknownst to you) come from a puppy mill and could have 'hidden' illnesses that will leave them sick, and you in tears and broke. (Puppy Mills are a form of abuse, if you ask me.) Shelter pets, on the other hand, are examined by reputable veterinarians and come with all of their shots and quite likely are 'fixed', too. FYI, the Homeward Bound Adoption Center inside Freehold Raceway Mall is NOT a 'pet store.' It is part of the Monmouth County SPCA non-profit rescue shelter!

2. When you adopt from a shelter, you have access to the support of the services the shelter offers like future veterinary needs at reasonable prices and advice from those that work with animals every day.

3. The prices to purchase from a shelter are so much lower than paying a pet store or breeder. And usually they offer clinics for future treatments at a huge savings if you can't afford to go to a regular vet for all of your needs.

4. When you adopt from a non-profit shelter, you are supporting a wonderful non-profit organization that does so much for the community in terms of rescuing abandoned and neglected animals, taking in strays, and sometimes even prosecuting abusers. And, by showing off your new shelter pet and telling everyone that you adopted a shelter pet, you will be spreading the word about the benefits of shelter shopping!

5. When adopting from a shelter, you will find many amazing adult animals, and in some cases they are a better 'fit' than a kitten or puppy. Plus, with the adult animals, you already know the personality of the animal you are getting, which is a huge bonus. Adults animals often get overlooked because so many people have their eyes fixed on the baby animals. Adult animals really, really need someone to take notice of them and bring them home!

6. There is a huge variety of mixed breeds to choose from in a shelter (and sometimes some purebreds, too). That also means a big variety of personalities, so you have a much better chance to pick out the animal that is just right for your family.

7. Even if you can't adopt a shelter pet at this time, there are opportunities at a shelter where you can volunteer to come in and walk the dogs, take a dog home for the weekend, sit in the cat-portion of a shelter and give some love to the felines, or foster a dog, cat, puppies, or kittens. It will help you give some love to an animal in need, help an overcrowded shelter, and prepare you for when you ARE ready to adopt.

8. Many shelter animals already know their commands like 'sit', 'stay', 'paw', and 'lay down', and are leash-trained and 'potty trained'. Or the shelter may offer classes you can take your newly adopted family member to to learn their commands and positive behaviors.

9.. If you already have other pets at home, chances are a shelter pet will be more used to being around other animals. In a shelter, many of the potential pets are housed with or given play time with other animals, and get used to being around other dogs and cats...making it easier for them to adjust to the other pets already in your home. Also, a good shelter will allow and encourage you to bring your current pets to the shelter to spend time with the new pet you want to take home to make sure they get along.

10. Some people who are elderly or who get sick and diagnosed with a severe illness and can no longer care for their beloved pet must tearfully hand that pet over to a shelter and pray their animal finds a new home. There are also some people who are forced to move and can't find a place that will accept animals. It is a shame that landlords can turn away pet owners (who are usually some of the most responsible tenants) but that is for another blog. The bottom line is that there are pets brought to the shelter that have heartbreaking stories and just need another chance to be part of a loving family.

11. And the best reason to adopt a shelter pet: You will be saving a life. The cold, hard truth is that many shelters are overcrowded and can't find homes for all the animals. Therefore some shelters have to euthanize perfectly wonderful animals. If that doesn't make you want to run right over to a shelter and grab a pet, I don't know what will. You should also know that there are 'low kill' shelters that do their best to keep animals alive and well until they are adopted. Did you know that the Monmouth County SPCA  rescues pets from HIGH kill shelters and brings them to their Eatontown and Freehold locations to keep them safe and give them a chance to find their Forever Homes?




More From 94.3 The Point