Did you know that each year in the U.S., over 4 million adoptable dogs and cats are killed due to overpopulation? At the same time this is happening, thousands of puppies and kittens are churned out of "pet mills" to be sold in pet stores around the country.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help. You can donate money to the ASPCA, volunteer at your city's animal shelter, or help spread the word about no-kill shelters in your area. Or you can do the most helpful thing of all — you can adopt a pet. Take a look at some of the benefits of adopting a pet.
Many pet owners claim that the best dogs and cats to own are "mutts." In fact, many animal experts agree that when you compare mixed breed dogs to purebred dogs from questionable breeders (like the ones that sell to pet stores), the mixed breeds are healthier, because they carry more genetic variety.
But there's nothing wrong with purebred dogs either! Sadly, purebred animals are abandonded just as often as mixed breed animals. Sometimes more, especially when an owner doesn't consider the special needs of a purebred before buying one. But this means that you can still adopt, even if you want a specific breed of animal. If you do want to own a specific breed of dog or cat, contact breed specific rescue groups.
Buying a purebred dog or cat can be an expensive venture. For example, purebred boxer puppies can cost as much as $500 or more if you are buying a female. A shelter animal, on the other hand, won't cost much more than the adoption fee. But don't think adopting will be free either; adoption fees cost $150 on average, which is the best way shelters have found to discourage people from adopting who won't be good owners.
The key to choosing a pet that will be a suitable companion is personality. And at shelters, you'll find plenty of that! You'll also find a wider variety of ages, meaning that if you would prefer to adopt a companion animal that is out of his puppy or kitten stage, you'll be able to do so. Most shelters allow you to meet and visit with any pet you are interested in adopting, and offer plenty of help and guidance for choosing the right pet for you or your family.
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