Why You Should Get Your Kids' Pets From An Animal Shelter

Haley and Slater, from left. Awwww! :)

Are you considering getting your kids a pet? If you don't have kids, are you thinking of getting a pet for yourself? I don't have to tell you that there are a lot of things to think about. What kind of animal do you want to get? Why do you want a pet? Are pets allowed where you live? Will you be able to put in the time and money to care for it? These are just a few of the questions we ask ourselves when we think of taking a pet into our homes. Once you do decide you want a pet, where will you get it from? While I don't have anything against private breeders or pet stores for cats and dogs (provided the animals are treated well), I am a strong advocate for animal shelters. All five of my cats are from shelters; that's two of them above! You may have already thought of this, but here are some more reasons you should consider adopting a cat or dog from a shelter as opposed to a pet store.

First and foremost, animals in shelters are there because they need homes. Either someone had to give up their pet, or they found an animal that didn't have a home to begin with. Regardless of how a pet got there, shelters can only take in so many animals. While some will end up at 'no-kill' shelters that do not euthanize animals, many others are not so lucky. The length of time varies from agency to agency, but animals in 'regular' shelters-such as the city pound-only have a certain amount of time they will be kept for adoption before the agency is forced to euthanize them. I say 'forced' because, as I said before, there is only so many animals the agency can support. The reason I call my shelter kitties 'rescues' is because that is exactly what they are-they were 'rescued' and given a home. When you adopt an animal from a shelter, you are essentially giving that animal a second chance.

Another reason to adopt a pet from a shelter is that many shelters 'foster' their animals-the animals are taken care of and socialized with humans and other animals while awaiting a permanent placement. This is very useful when adopting a dog because he will likely already be 'housebroken' before you adopt him. If you've ever had to house-break a dog, you know how much time and effort it takes! As for cats, getting them used to being around people and other animals in a home setting can make a big difference in how they adapt to a new space. Even if they haven't lived in a 'home' setting, shelter animals have usually been around people before and can adapt much easier than one who hasn't. Pet stores, on the other hand, don't always socialize their animals or even let them outside a confined space.

If I listed every reason to get a cat or dog from a shelter rather than a pet store, I'd be here all night. If you think you might want a dog or a cat, you can do an internet search for animal shelters in your area. They usually have photo listings, and many even come to pet stores on the weekends for 'adoption fairs'. Who knows, you might fall in love with one and have to bring it home with you right away! Don't get carried away, though, or your furniture and carpets might get *really* scratched up...in other words, they might look like mine. :)


  1. Those cats are adorable! But I agree, 'rescues' are the best. I got my Daniel Tiger from a shelter and he has been with me through a lot of stuff. He's such a good cat.

  2. Very convincing post. You persuaded me.