Whether you’re currently in the market for a four-legged companion or have considered becoming a future pet owner, why not save a life this spring and adopt your new best friend from a local animal shelter? In addition to welcoming a new member to your family, you can also celebrate National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day on April 30 as well!
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, over 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide each year. That means that there are almost eight million animals patiently waiting to find a family. And with a variety of different breeds and personalities, animal shelters offer the perfect place to find your future pet.
“There are plenty of homeless animals that need a new chance in life,” John Dinon, director of Ingham County Animal Shelter, said. “A lot of people get it in their head that, because an animal is in a shelter, there is something wrong with it. That’s not the case at all. We have a lot of great animals here.”
In 2016 alone, Ingham County Animal Shelter had 1,563 animals become adopted. And as a veteran animal adopter who has rescued a dozen dogs himself, Dinon is aware that there are some stigmas of adopting a pet.
“More often than not, animals end up in shelters because there an issue with the previous owner’s life,” Dinon said. “The owner may have been in a situation where they couldn’t care for the animal anymore or realized they made a mistake by getting a pet that they weren’t ready for. It’s not the animal’s fault.”
While the stereotypes about adopting from a shelter unfortunately live on, senior marketing major Julie Liddle is proof that rescuing a pet can be one of the most rewarding experiences. She and her family adopted Abby, their German Shepherd/Pit Bull mix, from an animal shelter in Liddle’s hometown of Orange County, Cali.
“I think adopting your pet is just as gratifying as it is important,” Liddle said. “You give the animals a home they might not have been able to have, and in return you receive unconditional love that you wouldn’t have had without them.”
For both Dinon and Liddle, rescuing animals is worthwhile, but it is a big commitment. And before you make that big decision, you should understand the responsibility you are assuming before you sign the adoption papers.
“We [at Ingham County Animal Shelter] have a pretty extensive application and screening process,” Dinon said. “We do landlord checks, we insist that everyone in the house agrees about getting a pet and we don’t adopt to people that are getting the animal as a surprise gift.”
As you plan to save a life this spring and adopt from an animal shelter, understand that adding a new fur ball to your family is something you must be prepared to do. The animals themselves have been highly evaluated, medically checked and trained. They are ready to find their forever homes; you just need to make the first move. Your new furry friend will appreciate you.
“Don’t discount shelter pets,” Dinon said. “Shelter dogs and cats are not damaged goods, and they make some of the greatest pets.”
For more information on adopting, visit Ingham County Animal Shelter on Facebook or at ac.ingham.org.