Updated: Nov 28
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), over 6 million companion animals enter U.S. shelters every year. Of those, 3.1 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats. Each day, about 1,100 dogs and 1,400 cats are put down in shelters across the country. These numbers are staggering, and they don't even take into account the millions of animals who are abandoned by their owners each year without ever entering a shelter.
About 15% are euthanized every year. This sad reality is due to several factors: pet overpopulation, lack of spaying and neutering, and irresponsible pet ownership. While there are many loving homes waiting to adopt a shelter pet, the number of animals in shelters continues to exceed the number of available homes.
If you're considering adding a new furry friend to your family, please visit your local animal shelter or rescue group first. There are so many wonderful animals waiting to be loved, and you just might find your new best friend in one of them.
What Do Animal Shelters Do?
An animal shelter is an organization that takes in homeless, unwanted, or abandoned animals and attempts to find suitable homes for them. Many shelters also offer adoption services, spaying and neutering assistance, vaccinations, and other medical care. Some even provide training and behavior counseling. Shelters exist to protect animals from abuse, abandonment, and neglect. Animal shelters provide a vital service in our communities, rescuing animals in need and finding them loving homes.
Most animal shelters are non-profit organizations supported primarily by donations, fundraisers, and grants. Some may also receive government funding or income from fees charged for adoptions or other services. Animal shelters typically house dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small mammals. However, some may also take in larger animals such as horses, pigs, goats, sheep, and even reptiles.
Fetch the Sun is on a Mission
When we think about the number of animals who remain unadopted, it breaks our hearts. Instead of adopting more pets to our household - which is already full of kids, dogs, and cats - we started the Fetch the Sun animal shelter sponsorship program. Each month we sponsor an animal rescue organization and donate a portion of every sale to their mission of helping shelter pets find new, forever homes. We are extremely proud of this program and have donated every month since we began in 2019. We look forward to continuing our donations each month for many years to come.
How Can These Loveable Dogs Possibly End Up in Shelters
Dogs end up in animal shelters for several reasons. Some people surrender their dogs because they can no longer care for them, while others are given up because of behavioral problems. Other dogs come from puppy mills, where they are kept in cramped and unsanitary conditions. Some of these dogs have never had proper socialization or human interaction and as a result can be difficult to place in homes. Regardless of the reason, all of these dogs need love and attention in order to find their forever homes.
Some of these dogs have a range of health and behavior problems due to the inhumane conditions they were raised in. Fortunately, there are many animal shelters and rescue groups that work to rehabilitate and rehome these dogs. With patience and love, most of these dogs can go on to lead happy and healthy lives in forever homes.
Wait, Don’t Shelter Dogs Have Bad Behavior?
There are several misconceptions about shelter dogs that often lead people to believe that they are not good candidates for adoption. One common misconception is that all shelter dogs are aggressive or dangerous. This is simply not true. While it is important to be cautious when meeting any new dog, the majority of shelter dogs are sweet and loving creatures who just need a second chance.
Another common misconception about shelter dogs is that they are all sick. Again, this is not always the case. While some shelter dogs may have health or behavior issues, many do not. And even those who do often just need a little extra love and care to thrive in their new home.
If you are considering adopting a dog, don't let these misconceptions deter you. Shelter dogs can make wonderful, loyal, and loving companions. With a little patience and understanding, you may just find your perfect match at your local animal shelter.
Why Should I Adopt a Dog?
There are many benefits to adopting a shelter dog, including getting a loyal and loving companion, giving a dog in need a second chance at life, and potentially even saving money. Shelter dogs make great pets because they are often already housetrained and used to being around people. They are also typically very appreciative of their new homes, making them loyal and loving companions. In addition, by adopting a shelter dog you are giving a dog in need a second chance at life – something that they may not have otherwise had.
In terms of saving money, adopting a shelter dog is often cheaper than buying a dog from a breeder or pet store. Additionally, many shelters offer discounts on adoption fees for seniors and veterans. So not only can you feel good about giving a dog in need a loving home, but you may also be able to save some money in the process.
Are There Downsides to Adopting a Dog?
There are some potential downsides to adopting a shelter dog, though most can be mitigated with proper preparation, training, and patience. One issue is that some shelter dogs may have behavioral problems due to their previous living situation or abuse. This can make them more difficult to train and care for, but not impossible. Some shelter dogs may be sick or have other health issues. Most shelters have a veterinarian on staff, and they are great about diagnosing and beginning treatments. Finally, because shelter dogs may have had a difficult start in life, a few may be more prone to anxiety and stress. This means they may require more patience, love, and attention than other dogs.
Choosing the Right Dog for You and Your Family
There are several factors to consider when choosing a shelter dog for your family. The first is to assess your own lifestyle and see if it would be a good fit for having a dog. If you have a busy schedule or live in a small space, you might want to consider a smaller breed or a dog that doesn't need as much exercise.
Another important factor is to take into account the personalities of your other family members, especially any children. Dogs can vary widely in their energy levels and temperaments, so it's important to find one that would mesh well with your existing family dynamic.
Finally, consider what you're looking for in a furry friend. Do you want a cuddly lapdog or a playful pup? A dog with a lot of energy or one that's more low-key? Asking yourself these questions will help you zero in on the perfect shelter dog for your family.
Resources for Dog Adoption
There are a number of resources available for adopters of shelter dogs. The ASPCA website provides a wealth of information on choosing the right dog for your family, preparing your home for a new dog, and caring for your new pet. Other helpful resources include books such as Second-Hand Dog: How to Turn Yours into a First-Rate Pet by Carol Lea Benjamin, and websites such as The Shelter Pet Project.
Love and Be Loved
Adopting a shelter dog can be an amazing and rewarding experience for the right person. It's important to do your research before you adopt, to make sure that you're prepared for the responsibility of owning a dog and that you're choosing the right dog for your lifestyle.
Always remember, caring for a shelter dog requires patience and love. They may have had a difficult start in life and may need some extra time and attention to help them feel comfortable and secure. It is important to provide plenty of exercise, proper nutrition, mental stimulation, and training. With patience and love, your shelter dog will quickly become an important member of the family.