Top 10 Reasons to Adopt from an Animal Shelter (adapted from Helping Hands Humane Society)
It's not just the right thing to do. It's the right thing to do for many reasons, these are some of them...
1. You save a life. All animals at a shelter are in need of a second chance. They have been lost, given up, or
abandoned. They are all unwanted and helpless. You are giving them a new life in a loving home.
2. You help break the cycle of pet overpopulation. There are not enough homes for all the animals that are
born every year. Adopting from a shelter helps weaken the pet overpopulation cycle. Each year 8 to 12 million dogs,
cats, puppies and kittens are euthanized because there are simply not enough homes for them.
3. You help stop cruelty in mass breeding facilities. Throughout the country, thousands of commercial pet-
breeding facilities and backyard breeders produce millions of animals for sale in pet stores and through newspaper
ads. Often known as puppy and kitten mills, these facilities repeatedly impregnate female dogs that spend their entire
lives in cages without human companionship. These unfortunate animals are often in intolerable environments,
forced to produce litter upon litter, and are destroyed after they become unprofitable assets. Adopting a shelter
animal means you don’t support such cruel practices.
4. You can take advantage of adopting an adult animal. Adult pets are great! Often they are already house-
trained and some can even “sit” or “stay.” You won’t have to deal with the “puppy phase” or the “kitten phase”
which means less of negative behaviors such as biting, chewing, clawing, etc. You will be able to see the personality of
the adult animal and won’t have to wait to see what you get.
5. You get a lifetime resource with shelter employees and volunteers. People who work at the shelter will be
a great resource to help you find information or resources for your pet. Their staff members work with animals every
day and have a wealth of information on many different issues.
6. You choose from a great selection of animals. Shelters offers a variety that you won’t find anywhere else.
They have specific breeds and also the greatest mutts you’ll ever find. Some shelters offer not only dogs, cats,
puppies, and kittens, but some offer other types of animals as well.
7. You adopt a pet who has received good care. All animals that come to a shelter are admitted by experienced
staff, including vet partners if there are no vets permanently on staff. They are given vaccinations upon arrival and go
through a behavior screening process.
8. You support a valuable charity and community institution. Sadly, every community in America requires an
animal shelter. When you adopt a pet from a shelter, you assist a not-for-profit organization, but also send a message
to others who will be asking you for years to come where you obtained your adorable pet. Shelters improve the
community by mandating that adopted animals be spayed or neutered. This requirement diminishes chances that
more unwanted animals will enter the world.
9. You pay less. Adoption fees are much less than the cost of purebred puppies or kittens sold for profit.
10. You encourage others to adopt animals from shelters. When your friends ask where you got your amazing
pet, you can tell them “at the shelter.” Your adoption may encourage others to do the same!
Why Spay or Neuter? (courtesy ASPCA)
PEACE OF MIND Did you know that a spayed or neutered animal is better behaved?
Males: Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unsterilized,
unsupervised males roam in search of a mate, risking injury in traffic and in fights with other males. They mark
territory by spraying strong-smelling urine on surfaces. Indoors, male dogs may embarrass you by mounting furniture
and human legs when stimulated. Don't confuse aggressiveness with protectiveness; a neutered dog protects his
home and family just as well as an un-neutered dog, and many aggression problems can be avoided by early
Females: While their cycles vary greatly, most female cats exhibit the following signs when in heat. For four or five
days, every three weeks during breeding season, they yowl and urinate more frequently sometimes all over the house
advertising for mates. Often, they attract un-neutered males who spray urine around the females homes. Female
dogs also attract males from great distances. Female dogs generally have a bloody discharge for about a week, and
can conceive for another week or so.
GOOD MEDICINE Did you know that a spayed or neutered animal will live a longer, healthier life?
Spaying a female (removing the ovaries and uterus) or neutering a male (removing the testicles) are veterinary
procedures performed under general anesthesia. Both surgeries usually require minimal hospitalization. The ASPCA
strongly recommends spaying or neutering your pet as early as possible. Besides preventing unwanted breeding,
neutering a male cat or dog before six months of age prevents testicular cancer and prostate disease. Spaying a
female cat or dog helps prevent pyometra (a pus-filled uterus) and breast cancer; having this done before the first
heat offers the best protection from these diseases. Treatment of pyometra requires hospitalization, intravenous (IV)
fluids, antibiotics and spaying. Breast cancer can be fatal in about 50 percent of female dogs and 90 percent of
female cats. For an older, seriously ill animal, anesthesia and surgery are complicated and costly.
RESPONSIBLE CARE Did you know that you can help prevent the suffering and death of millions of animals?
Almost everyone loves puppies and kittens, but some people lose interest when these animals grow up. As a result,
millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized annually or suffer as strays. Many of these are the
result of unwanted, unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering. Rarely surviving for
more than a few years on their own, strays die painfully by starvation, disease, freezing or being hit by cars.
JUST THE FACTS, PLEASE!
Myth: A female cat or dog should have a litter before she is spayed.
Fact: The sooner you spay your female, the better her health will be in the future. As long as a kitten or puppy weighs
more than 2 pounds and is 2 months old, he or she can be neutered or spayed. Many veterinarians practice perfectly
safe early sterilization. The longer a female goes unspayed, the greater the likelihood of developing mammary tumors
or uterine infections. In fact, a female spayed before her first heat (6 to 9 months of age) has one-seventh the risk of
developing mammary cancer as an intact female.
Myth: Spaying or neutering will alter my pet's personality.
Fact: Any slight changes will be positive. Regardless of the age when spayed or neutered, your pet will remain a
caring, loving and protective companion. Neutering will reduce the need to breed, and that has a calming effect on
many animals. Both neutered male canines and felines tend to stop roaming and fighting, and they also lose the
desire to mark their territory with urine.
Myth: Companion animals will become fat and lazy if they are neutered.
Fact: Absolutely not! Lack of exercise and overfeeding make pets fat and lazy, not neutering. Your pet will not gain
weight if you provide exercise and monitor food intake. Neutering is good for your pet, since sterilized pets tend to
live an average of two to three years longer than unsterilized pets.
Myth: Sterilization is a dangerous and painful surgery for my pet.
Fact: Spaying and neutering are the most common surgeries performed on animals. With a minimal amount of home
care, your pet will resume normal behavior in a couple of days.
Myth: Children should witness the miracle of birth.
Fact: Countless books and videos are available to teach your children about birth in a responsible manner. Letting
your pet produce offspring that you have no intention of keeping is teaching your children irresponsibility. Anyone
who has seen an animal euthanized in a shelter for lack of a home knows the truth behind this dangerous myth.
Many states and counties have established low-cost spay/neuter programs that make the surgery affordable. Many
cities also offer reduced licensing fees for owners of spayed and neutered pets. To find a low-cost program near you,
call your local humane society or shelter, or call toll-free (800) 248-SPAY.