In honor of National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day on April 30, Helena Wayt, a veterinary student at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained some of the major reasons to adopt a pet from a shelter.
For one, Wayt said, you are saving a life and giving an animal a second chance. Additionally, adopting from a shelter allows space for another animal to be taken off of the streets and put into an adoption program. So really, you are making a difference in the lives of multiple animals.
“Another great reason to adopt is that the animals almost always come spayed or neutered, have been vaccinated, and are dewormed,” Wayt said. “Most shelters have their animals examined by a veterinarian and are aware of or are currently treating any medical conditions.”
Animal shelters also offer meet-and-greets to help you find the perfect pet.
“It is important that you choose an animal that fits your lifestyle,” Wayt said. “Puppies require frequent bathroom breaks and need to be trained and socialized. If you work long hours, an older dog who can hold their bladder may be a better choice.”
Some pets at shelters have been fostered or are currently in foster care. If this is the case, the pet’s foster parents can provide the inside scoop on how the pet behaves in a home environment.
“Once you have decided on a pet, you will typically fill out some paperwork and may receive some quick education on microchips, heartworms, and veterinary care,” Wayt said. “Sometimes, there is a great deal of paperwork or even background checks. But trust me, it’s worth it! This only means the shelter or rescue you are adopting from cares deeply about their animals and wants to ensure that they go to the best home possible.”
There is typically a fee associated with adopting a pet from a shelter, but this fee is usually significantly less than buying a pet elsewhere and paying for the same basic veterinary care that is provided in shelters, Wayt said.
It is important to remember, however, that all pets require life-long veterinary care beyond the services provided in animal shelters. Be sure to keep this in mind before adopting.
If you aren’t ready to adopt a pet, you can still make a difference for animals in shelters by fostering. A foster home can provide comfort for animals and allow them to show their true personalities.
“This is a great opportunity to work on some training with that animal and get to know them,” Wayt said. “As a foster parent, you can help find a perfect forever home because you will know exactly how that animal behaves in a home.”
If you are ready to welcome a pet into your home, consider adopting from a shelter. Not only will you be giving an animal a home, you will be giving other animals a chance to be put into an adoption program, too.