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Top 10 Reasons You Should Consider Adopting an Animal From a Shelter

Dog saved life

Curious about the top reasons to welcome a furry friend from a shelter into your life? Brace yourself for a revelation! Picture this: you type “animal shelters near me” into your browser, and suddenly you’re on the brink of discovering a multitude of lovable companions waiting for a forever home.

The sheer abundance might just blow your mind—because, truth be told, the world of homeless pets is more vast and varied than you might have imagined. Those occasional encounters with feral dogs and cats? Just the tip of the iceberg in the grand tale of our four-legged friends.

If you’re reading this, it’s possible you’re thinking about getting a pet and considering avenues to help make this possible. When you want to get a companion animal, multiple channels can make this happen, and if you are not yet sure what animal is best check out our dedicated article on the best animals for kids.

If you are eager to find exactly what you need feel free to jump ahead!

Pet Adoption Stats

By Russell Meseroll –, Public Domain,

Every year, about four million animals are adopted from shelters, mostly dogs and cats. But other animals such as rabbits and friendly rodents are not exempted. Of this four million, 50% were cats, 45% were dogs, and 5% contained other four-legged and two-legged friends.

Bringing home a new pet is super exciting. And adopting this new pet from a shelter or rescue adds just that extra layer of feel-good to it. A lot of the reservations people have about adopting shelter animals is the thought that they won’t be getting enough time to create a bond with the animal before it reaches maturity. But shelter animals are just as loving and loyal as any pet you train from birth. Besides, in their case, you know what you are getting, and they won’t grow up to switch up on you.

Additionally, pet adoption has become more popular and accessible. And there are now several ways to find an adoptable pet for your family. You have city and county animal shelters, non-profit shelters, and other rescue groups. All of which are full of pets who have lost their homes for various reasons. Most of these reasons are of no fault of theirs, and a couple of them include:

  • Owners moving to apartments where they don’t allow pets.
  • Unplanned litters due to unspayed or neutered pets.
  •  Divorce.
  • Owners losing their jobs or their homes.
  •  Abandonment.

Because of this and many other reasons, a lot of wonderful pets are at shelters and rescue homes. Waiting for someone to come and pick them up. You’ll be doing this animal a world of good by deciding on any of them as your new companion. A great part of Reasons You Should Consider Adopting an Animal From a Shelter.

What’s wrong with buying pets from pet stores?

By Alvesgaspar – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Recently, the truth behind pet stores and puppy mills has come to public attention. The activities going on behind these businesses are just not pretty looking. Any store that deals in selling puppies or kittens routinely procure them from professional breeders who you’ll imagine will be better informed to take good care of these animals. Instead, commercial breeding mills aim for output above all else.

Additionally, dog breeding requires a good lot of time and effort. When money-making is the goal [which is the case with commercial readers], costs need to be kept at a minimum, and this means making a profit would take priority over the health and welfare of these animals.

Previously, it used to be that people were interested in purebred dogs and designer dogs for the bragging rights. More so than their companionship. This is why many people have turned to commercial dog breeders.

Now, times have changed. People are starting to realize the nonsensicality of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars buying purebreds. For many people, what matters is the animal’s personality and not its family line. And animals in shelters have just as much personality as those purchased from breeders. Besides, you’ll find purebred animals, dogs especially, in many shelters and rescue homes if that is what you fancy.

Buying a pet and adopting one might not seem all that different. Still, when you make the conscious decision to buy pets from a breeder or pet store, your decision would have lasting ramifications and not necessarily the good kind. Many reasons why you should need to read the Reasons You Should Consider Adopting an Animal From a Shelter.

Why adopt from a shelter?

By Alachua County – adoptable dog, Public Domain,

There are numerous reasons to adopt from a shelter. When you visit a shelter, you’re greeted with the sounds of the animals before you even see them. Amidst all the noise, you’ll be getting a happy wag from a potential companion, and probably you will see a kitten brush against your legs [at least that was the scenario in my case].

Even though you may have no idea about the history of that cute feline or canine you are considering, you’ll find that there are huge benefits to adopting a shelter animal.

Suppose the tail wagging and soft purring are not enough for you. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should adopt from an animal shelter. You might never want to consider another option after this.

You’ll be getting an animal well cared for

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Pamela Boehland –, Public Domain,

Animal shelters are full of happy and healthy pets waiting on someone to come and take them home. From vaccination to training, shelter animals get adequate care from experienced and trained professionals. Many volunteers passionate about rescue animals also care for them, and adequate veterinary care is also provided for shelter animals.

Any trouble a shelter animal might have with adjusting to a new environment, such as aversion to cats or inability to get along with other dogs, will be well addressed by a specialist long before the dog leaves the shelter.

You’ll be saving a pet’s life.

Blind Mom Dog Dumped In Landfill Refuses To Leave A Box Hoping To Be Reunited With Her Babies
Blind Mom Dog Dumped In Landfill Refuses To Leave A Box Hoping To Be Reunited With Her Babies. Image by Animal Shelter via YouTube

Over one million shelter animals are reported to be euthanized yearly in the United States. This is because even with the high amounts of pets coming into shelters, not many people consider adoption as an option when searching for a pet. However, there have been some uplifting developments in this regard. According to the ASPCA, the number of dogs and cats euthanized in US shelters has seen an annual decline from a high of 2.6 million in 2011. Still, this doesn’t negate the fact that so many animals never get a second chance. The number of animals euthanized by shelters could be significantly reduced if more people adopt pets instead of buying them.

With this in mind, there’s no better reason to adopt a shelter animal because all shelter animals deserve a second chance at a caring home. Sadly, a lot of the dogs found in shelters were either lost or abandoned. And some of them even ran away from their abusive owners.

Unfortunately, there are not enough homes or shelters for the sheer number of pets born each year. And some still roam freely on the streets. When you adopt a shelter animal, you save a deserving animal by allowing them to be part of a family again. While at the same time freeing up shelter space desperately needed by another animal for survival.

You’ll be getting a trained animal.  

Two Cuddling Shelter Cats
The two Cuddling Shelter Cats; Luna and Louis. Image via @goldenpaws, Youtube.

There are a couple of reasons why even well-trained animals will still end up in this sad situation. Many shelter animals are pets that end up there because their owners could no longer provide them with proper care. Perhaps because of sickness, or they may let them go for a couple of other reasons.

Most shelter animals will already be housetrained and will be able to recognize simple commands and house manners. This means you’ll be getting a leg ahead in the training department if you decide to adopt from an animal shelter or rescue program. If you are a person who doesn’t have the time to put into adopting and training a young pup or kitten, adopting an older shelter animal may be the best option for you.

You’ll be putting up a fight against pet mass breeding.

Missing Dog Travels 1,300 Miles To Discover Her Owner Doesn’t Want Her. Image by @hsomcshelter via Insta
Missing Dog Travels 1,300 Miles To Discover Her Owner Doesn’t Want Her. Now she is with her new owners. Image by @hsomcshelter via Insta

Another reason why you should adopt a shelter animal is that pet adoption discourages mass breeding by commercial pet breeders. Across the country, thousands of backyard breeders and commercial pet breeding facilities produce millions of animals to be put up for sale in pet stores and online auctions.

These establishments, often known as puppy mills or kitten mills, repeatedly impregnate female animals that they keep for their entire lives in caged captivity without any real companionship.

Also, these unfortunate animals are often put in intolerable situations, forced to produce litter upon litter until their bodies can give no more. Afterwards, they are considered unprofitable assets and discarded by euthanization or other means.

Puppies or kittens bought from pet stores come from cruel mass breeding facilities most of the time, the same facilities where their mothers are confined to tiny, unkempt cage with little to no veterinary care [Especially in the case of commercial backyard breeders].

You might be thinking, how does my adoption from a shelter put a stop to mass breeding? Believe it or not, your actions will make a big difference. Adopting from a local shelter instead of buying from a pet store or breeding mill supports the community. This is while also changing people’s perception of shelter animals.

You’ll be supporting a valuable charity or non-profit organization

Baylor the Puppy Shaking in the Corner. Image by HeadWater Animal Shelter via TikTok

While consciously, this might not be a reason you consider adopting a shelter animal. Non-profit organizations play an undeniable role in today’s society.

Sadly, every American community is in need of an animal shelter. When you choose to adopt a pet from an animal shelter, you’re assisting a non-profit organization which has put in much time and personnel to care for these animals. Also, you’ll send a message to others who might be asking you how you obtained your adorable companion in years to come.

Shelters help improve the community and the life of these animals by endorsing the spaying and neutering of pets before adoption to diminish the possibilities of more unwanted animals coming into the world.

Non-profit organizations in charge of shelters also let you support an important cause. You can help their cause by adopting an animal, volunteering, or donating to them to keep these organizations well-funded and growing.

You won’t be paying exorbitant sums for a shelter animal

Dog Cries Every Time He's Touched
Homeless dog behind bars in an animal shelter. Image via deposirphotos.

Purebred dogs sold in pet stores cost a lot of money. Rare breeds like the Tibetan Mastiff or English Bulldog can cost you upwards of $3000 to purchase as puppies. Alternatively, animals adopted from a shelter can save you a lot.

When you adopt from an animal shelter, the animals usually get regular health checkups and scheduled vaccinations. And it may already be spayed or neutered. Some even come microchipped with a collar and ID tag. This saves you a lot of money, considering standard adoption fees stay within the $100 – $600 range. Depending on the procedures the animal has had to go through  –  still a far cry from ultra-expensive purebreds.

You’ll have a variety of options to choose from

Homeless dogs in animal shelter cage.
Homeless dogs in animal shelter cage. By belchonock via DepositPhotos

What are you looking for? A puppy or a kitten? A pig or a hamster? A calm dog well ahead of the tiring puppy stage? A cat in its senior years? Perhaps you are a nut for purebreds?

Whichever kind of furry companion you’re looking for, you can almost be sure you’ll find a perfect fit at one of your local or online animal shelters.

Unlike pet stores, you’re not limited to puppies and kittens when adopting from a shelter. And you find mixed breeds and purebreds in abundance in varying sizes.

Side note: black dogs and cats are often overlooked when people adopt from animal shelters. So if you come across a lone black cat or dog, take some time to give special consideration to these little darlings.

You’ll know exactly what you are getting

shelter dog accepts its first treat
Shelter dog accepts its first treat. Image by Rocky Kanaka via YouTube

Shelter animals sometimes live there for months or even years. This allows their caregivers and handlers ample time to understand the dog or cat’s personality. Whether they’re shy, loving, sociable, etc.

When you purchase a young pup or kitten from a breeder or pet store, you truly don’t know what you might end up with when they are fully mature. Young puppies sometimes turn out to be a surprise with regard to their size, weight,  and temperament at maturity. By adopting an older animal, you know you can handle it physically because it will be at full size and weight.

Because many shelters are invested in helping these animals find homes they can live in forever, most shelters and rescue programs put these animals through an evaluation process to uncover the animal’s temperament before being released for adoption. Personality traits of the animal, such as fear and anxiety, would be revealed. So you can be sure of what you are dealing with earlier on and figure out a way to best cope with your new companion.

You’ll be offering a second chance to a deserving animal

Cat and Dog
Cat and Dog Together. Image via Depositphotos

It is quite unfortunate that practices such as overbreeding and the irresponsible selling of animals into the hands of the wrong people are the reason why so many intact animals end up in animal shelters. Some of these animals have not been given any manner of household love or care before they even end up in these shelters.

Beyond just helping an animal in need, you’ll be allowing the animal to find its voice, to be itself and get a second life at being a pet beyond the confines of a shelter or rescue. You’ll also be allowing them to start anew in a world where second chances don’t often come by, and they’ll thank you for it.

You’ll be saving more than one life.

Cat and Dog
Cat and Dog Together. Image via Depositphotos

Overburdened shelters take in millions of lost, stray, and abused animals yearly. When you adopt a pet from a shelter, you’re saving two lives; the life of that animal and also the life of the other animal you just vacated space for. This is true even when you are adopting from a no-kill shelter [shelters with a strong policy against euthanization].

By adopting from a shelter, you are helping make space for another animal in need and giving them an opportunity to become beloved companions to someone else.

Not only that, the cost of your adoption goes directly towards the betterment of shelter facilities and hospitality, making it easier to give better care to new animals being brought in.

Animal shelters near me: How do I locate them?

Happy young Bernese puppy. Image by via depositphotos

Locating an animal shelter isn’t a strenuous assignment. Almost every community has pets in need of good homes. For starters, search through websites around your city or county; most municipalities have facilities for housing homeless animals. Many shelters and rescue groups also showcase these pets in an online gallery for you to see, making it easier to get an idea of what kind of animal you be adopting.

Take a Stand – Reasons You Should Consider Adopting an Animal From a Shelter

Cute Puppy. Image via DepositPhotos

While it is true that you may find reputable breeders who regularly check the health of their breeding stock and maintain healthy breeding practices, these are few and far between. You are more likely to find unscrupulous breeders who are purely in it for the money and don’t give a heck about health tests, vaccinations, or basic animal needs such as comfort. For every animal you adopt, one less purchase is made from a puppy or kitten mill. Our furry companions, thank you.

You might also like these articles: Top Dog Breeds for Beginners, or the Top Animals for Kids. Thank you for reading the Top 10 Reasons You Should Consider Adopting an Animal From a Shelter.

Does SPCA adopt animals?

Cat and Dog
Friendship of pets. Pets care concept. Image via Depositphotos

Yes, the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) typically facilitates the adoption of animals in their care. They work to find loving homes for animals in need.

Can you adopt dogs at SPCA?

Cat and Dog
Cat and Dog Together. Image via Depositphotos

Yes, you can usually adopt dogs from the SPCA. They often have a variety of dogs available for adoption, including puppies and adult dogs of different breeds and sizes.

How does the SPCA deal with stray animals?

domestic ginger cat
A domestic ginger cat. Image by Michael Sum via Unsplash

The SPCA is often involved in rescuing and caring for stray animals. They may provide shelter, medical care, and attempt to locate the owners of lost pets. If the owners cannot be found, the SPCA may put these animals up for adoption to find them new homes.

How many dogs are adopted from shelters each year in the US?

Cat and Dog
Cat and Dog Together. Image via Depositphotos

The number of dogs adopted from shelters each year in the USA can vary, but it is estimated that millions of dogs are adopted from shelters annually. The exact number fluctuates depending on factors such as adoption campaigns, awareness, and the availability of dogs in shelters.

What are the largest animal rescue organizations in the US?

Cat and Dog
Adorable little kitten and puppy sleeping on bed indoors. Image via Depositphotos

-The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
-American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
-Best Friends Animal Society
-Rescue Bank

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