Will You Rescue a Pet
for the Holidays?

by Gary Le Mon

Why rescue a pet for the holidays?

It's no secret that millions of animals are euthanized every year because they have no home. Many people wanting an animal choose to buy one at a retail store rather than adopt from a local rescue. While the reasons for doing this may differ, there are always much greater benefits to adopting a homeless animal than buying one. Here are a few things to think about that might persuade you to open your heart to a furry little orphan this Holiday Season.

A cat or dog from a pet store can cost anywhere from $300 to $8000. This is because the store has to make a profit and so does the breeder. But the money spent on a store animal goes into creating more animals to put back into the store, thus increasing the pet population further and reducing the animal to a product.

A better way

Since they are non-profit organizations, rescues charge a donation of $50 to $300. This includes spaying or neutering the animal, preliminary vaccinations, and sometimes giving them a microchip in case they become lost or stolen. This fee goes towards pulling more animals out of high kill shelters or off the streets, paying for vet bills, setting up spay/neuter clinics, and the cost of supplies to keep the rescue on its feet.

As stated, an animal from a rescue should be spayed or neutered and in good health before being given to its new owner. This is to prevent them from becoming pregnant and increasing pet overpopulation. Most animals sold in pet stores are put in the window as soon as they are old enough to leave their mothers, sometimes sooner. They are not spayed or neutered and receive no shots or care from a veterinarian. Once sold, the store can recommend a veterinarian nearby, but the medical costs come out of the consumer's pocket.

Population control

One of the main reasons rescues exist is due to the pet overpopulation. It is the goal of every reputable rescue to spay or neuter each animal in their possession and to educate the general public on the importance of altering their pets. Since the main concern of a rescue is the animal's wellbeing (why they rescued it in the first place), veterinary care is standard.

Human contact

In a pet store, the animals stay in cages or tanks until adopted by someone, often having little to no human contact beforehand. They may be socialized with their littermates or kept separately.

Many rescues have foster parents who socialize the animals not only with humans but other animals as well. It is important that the animal interact with its own kind or with animals it is expected to live around to ease the initial adjustment period.

Rescue a Pet from a Store or Shelter?

A pet store employee's job is to make a sale by showing all of the positive points of their animals and getting the customer to take one home that day. A volunteer at a rescue is there to make sure the animal fits the lifestyle of the potential adopter so the adoption is beneficial for both the animal and the human. If a potential adopter is not satisfied with the selection at a rescue or has a specific animal in mind, rescues will often recommend another rescue where their choice might be available.

Adopting an animal from a shelter also comes with a support system. If you adopt from a rescue, they are always there to answer your questions, give advice, even help you look for the animal should it become lost.

The truth is what it is

Ultimately, an adoption fee to a rescue is supporting the decrease in homeless pet population and not encouraging the birth of more animals. Buying a pet at the retail store does the opposite. I know and respect a large number of honest and responsible dog breeders and pet store owners, and do not wish to offend any one of them. But the truth is what it is. If one considers these facts when getting a new pet, they may not only bring more joy to the world, they may also find themselves a new best friend for life.

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