Thinking of adding a pet to your family? Here are five reasons to adopt your new best friend.
1. If you adopt, you'll save a life
Around 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States each year, simply because too many people give up their pets and too few people adopt from shelters. Many shelters are at capacity, and staff members sometimes need to make very hard decisions to euthanize animals that haven't been adopted.
The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. By adopting from a humane society, animal shelter, rescue group or the local animal control agency, you'll help save the lives of two animals — the pet you adopt and a homeless animal that can be rescued because of space you helped free up.
2. When you adopt, you get a healthy pet
Animal shelters and rescue groups are brimming with happy, healthy animals just waiting for someone to take them home. Most shelters examine and vaccinate animals when they arrive, and many spay or neuter them before putting them up for adoption. In addition to medical care, many shelters also screen animals for specific temperaments and behaviors to make sure families find the right pets for their lifestyles. Not all animals end up in shelters or with rescue groups because they've been abused or done something "wrong." In fact, most animals are given to shelters or rescue groups because of "people reasons," not because of anything the animals have done. Things like a divorce, a move, lack of time and financial constraints are among the most common reasons owners give up their pets.
3. Adopting will save you money
Adopting a pet from an animal shelter or rescue group is much less expensive than buying a pet at a pet store or through other sources. And since the shelter likely already shouldered the cost of vaccinating and spaying or neutering your new pet, its adoption fees likely are a real bargain.
4. Adopting a pet will make you feel better
Pets have a way of putting a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Not only do animals give you unconditional love, but they have been shown to be psychologically, emotionally, and physically beneficial. Caring for a companion animal can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment and ease feelings of loneliness and isolation among all age groups. Pets can help your physical health as well — just spending time with an animal can help lower a person's blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and dog walking, pet grooming and even petting provide increased physical activity that can help strengthen the heart, improve blood circulation and slow the loss of bone tissue. Put simply, pets aren't just good friends; they're also good medicine and can improve a person's well-being in many ways.
5. If you adopt, you won't be supporting puppy mills
Puppy mills are "factory-style" breeding facilities that put profit above the welfare of dogs. Most animals raised in puppy mills are housed in poor conditions with improper medical care, and the parents of the puppies are kept in cages to be bred over and over for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever joining a family. After they're no longer profitable, breeding dogs are simply discarded — either killed, abandoned or sold at auction. Puppy-mill puppies are sold to unsuspecting pet store customers, over the Internet and through newspaper classified ads to whoever is willing to pay for them.
Marketed as coming from great breeders, well-rehearsed sales tactics keep money flowing to the puppy mills by ensuring that buyers never get to see where the pups actually come from (a vital step in puppy-buying). Many of the puppies have serious behavioral and health problems that might not be apparent for months, including medical problems that can cost thousands of dollars to treat. Unfortunately, a lot of people are not even aware that puppy mills exist, so when they aren’t aware they’re supporting this cruel industry.
By adopting instead of buying a pet, you can be certain you aren't supporting cruel puppy mills. Puppy mills will continue to operate until people stop purchasing from them. Instead of buying a pet, visit your local shelter or contact a local rescue group, where you will likely to find dozens of healthy, well-socialized puppies, kittens and adult pets — including purebreds — just waiting to find a special home.
Find your new best friend today at one of these four local rescue centers.
Hilton Head Humane Association
Location: 10 Humane Way, Hilton Head Island
Hours: 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. daily
Contact information: 843-681-8686
Description: Hilton Head Humane is a no-kill animal shelter determined to improve the lives of homeless dogs and cats. The shelter spays and neuters its animals and provides a caring, loving home for dogs and cats until their forever homes are found. Hilton Head Humane also owns and operates The Litter Box, a thrift store that benefits the animals at the shelter.
How to help: Make a donation or volunteer at Hilton Head Humane. The shelter is a nonprofit funded solely by private donations, memberships dues and fundraising efforts. Donations can be made online at hhhumane.org or mailed to P.O. Box 21790, Hilton Head Island, SC 29925. Volunteers are always welcomed and are a vital part of the HHHA. To become a volunteer, contact Franny Gerthoffer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured Pet: Milan is a Rottweiler who has been in and out of the shelter for about four years. She once had some aggression issues, but she is now a loving and trustworthy companion who is looking for a forever home.
Palmetto Animal League
Location: 56 Riverwalk Blvd., Ridgeland
Hours: Noon-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Contact information: 843-645-1725
Description: Palmetto Animal League owns and operates an adoption center, community clinic and thrift store. The adoption center is a no-kill living space for more than 150 cats and dogs awaiting adoption and also serves as the group’s headquarters. Its mission is to give neglected animals a second chance in a nurturing environment.
How to help: The group relies on volunteers and donations. If you’re interested in volunteering, check for the times and dates of orientation sessions at palmettoanimalleague.org. Donations can be made online and are used right here in Beaufort County.
Featured Pet: Tink is almost 3 years old and has been at Palmetto Animal League since 2013. She has lots of energy and loves to play with other dogs, but she is not a big fan of cats or children. She also likes long walks and bike rides. Tink is looking forward to finding her forever family!
Noah’s Arks Rescue
Location: 4084 Spring Island, Okatie
Hours: Adoption events are held regularly in the Lowcountry, including at PetSmart in Bluffton on most Saturdays
Contact information: 843-540-6755
Description: Noah’s Arks Rescue is a nonprofit group, but is not an animal shelter. NAR offers emergency medical, surgical and rehabilitation to abused or ailing animals that otherwise would be euthanized. The group’s mission is to educate the public about the ethical treatment of animals and to save the lives of animals that have been abused.
How to help: Donations are accepted online at noahs-arks.net and help cover the animals’ extensive medical bills. You can choose the specific animal you would like to help, or donate a little each month to help all the abused animals at Noah’s Arks.
Featured Pet: Primetime is 6 years old. He was hit by a car as a puppy and has been with Noah’s Arks Rescue for almost his entire life. He is still looking for his forever home and is a loyal and loving pup. Primetime also enjoys belly rubs and the beach.
Camp Green Dog
Location: 1190 Argent Blvd., Ridgeland
Hours: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily
Contact information: 843-208-3647
Description: Camp Green Dog is a cageless daycare, boarding and grooming program. Its Camp Green Dog Foundation helps foster and support animal adoptions in the area.
How to help: To donate to the nonprofit Camp Green Dog Foundation, call 843-208-3647 to discuss a tax-deducible gift. Volunteers are also always welcome at Camp Green Dog, whether it be for a week or a year. Foster an animal in need or adopt an animal to give it a second chance!