Thinking about bringing home a furry friend? While pet stores and breeders do brisk business homing dogs, there are plenty of reasons to opt for an animal that's been rescued instead. Such as:
1. YOU’LL SAVE A LIFE.
Dogs currently housed in shelters are often faced with an unfortunate future. If they don’t find a home, they might get shuttled to another, less humane shelter—or worse. By adopting a dog, you're ensuring he or she stands a chance at enjoying their life to the fullest.
2. THEY’VE GOT SOME TRAINING.
An animal that was once part of a family or has spent time around shelter volunteers has probably been taught some basic facts about life with people, including sitting, staying put, and where to deposit their business. By adopting a slightly older dog, you’ll be saving yourself plenty of puppy-promoted trouble.
3. THEY’RE HEALTHY.
Dogs who have been through the shelter system need to be up to date on their shots and have likely already been spayed or neutered. It doesn't mean your dog will never have issues, but you’re more likely to be starting with a clean slate.
4. YOU CAN STILL BE PICKY.
While pet shops and breeders seem to have a wide variety of animals to choose from, so do shelters—many of which can let you search their population by age or size.
5. THEY’RE OFTEN MORE MATURE.
Older dogs who have already expended their puppy energy are much less likely to tear into furniture or put wear on carpets. By adopting a mature animal, you’re helping preserve your living space.
6. THERE ARE NO SURPRISES.
A new puppy—especially one from a pet store where the owners don’t know the dog’s parents—can get bigger, more (or less) personable, and might develop a personality that’s not compatible with your household. On the other hand, by rescuing an adolescent or adult animal from a shelter, its attitude will be on display from the moment you meet.
7. THEY MIGHT COME MICRO-CHIPPED.
Dogs in shelters have often been fitted for a microchip in the event they wander or become lost, which can save you both money—and grief—in the long run. One study showed that just 22 percent of lost animals without microchips were returned to their owners, while more than 52 percent of microchipped animals were.
8. YOU CAN RELAX WITH ONE.
A slightly more mature dog that isn’t bursting with energy is one that’s more likely to enjoy lazy days outside or in front of the television—which is a huge plus if you’re someone who doesn’t always have the time, or the energy, to keep up with a puppy’s activity level.
9. YOU CAN GET A PUREBRED.
It’s a common misconception that rescue shelters are the exclusive home of mixed-breed dogs. If you have your heart set on a particular type, you can find breed-specific adoption centers or take a look at a general population center: roughly 30 percent of all dogs up for adoption are purebreds.
10. YOU CAN TRY ONE OUT.
Once you accept ownership of a pet at a pet shop or breeder, it’s generally yours for life. Many shelters, however, go the extra mile to find the best fit for their animals and prospective owners and will allow you to take a dog home for a weekend to see how he or she integrates into your lifestyle. If you’d like to try something longer-term, but aren’t quite ready to adopt, consider fostering an animal from a local shelter.
11. THEY CAN HELP YOU RELAX.
Numerous studies have shown that having a canine companion can lead to increased happiness. If you’re suffering from any kind of condition requiring therapy, you might want to inquire about whether a dog could be a beneficial addition. Researchers believe that bonding with a dog can increase levels of oxytocin, a “feel good” hormone.
12. YOU CAN ALWAYS TEACH THEM NEW TRICKS.
You don’t need a puppy in order to reinforce good habits or teach some cool party tricks. Older dogs actually have a better attention span than younger ones, making it simple to teach them behaviors that will help them better relax in your household.
13. THEY’RE GREAT WITH KIDS.
The youthful exuberance of puppies can be stimulated even further by hyperactive kids, resulting in a small tornado of energy tearing through your home. Opting for an older dog, however, means they’ve probably already gotten used to having little people around and won’t be influenced—or annoyed—by enthusiastic human playmates.
14. THEY CAN BE GRATEFUL.
Okay, so we have no hard science to back this up. But after spending weeks, months, or even years in a cramped cage, a dog that’s brought home to an open living space and a yard is probably going to experience some post-shelter euphoria.
15. YOU’LL BE A SOCIAL MEDIA HERO.
Selfies with your rescue dog: priceless.