Whether snuggles or playtime, anyone who’s adopted a pet can attest to the many benefits of rescue.
Though we celebrate rescue dogs all year round, October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month which makes it a perfect time to highlight what makes adoption so meaningful.
First and foremost, adoption often saves more lives than just the adopted pet. Millions of cats and dogs end up in shelters every year in the United States alone. Adopting gives your new pet a loving home, and it also makes room for another cat or dog in the shelter or rescue.
On a practical level, you’ll likely be getting a pet that has already been spayed/neutered and vaccinated.
If an adult or senior dog is more suited to your lifestyle, they’ll likely be house-trained and will only need a training refresher to settle into their new routine.
Adopting a pet encourages numerous health benefits, whether psychological, physical, or emotional.
Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) with shelter pets can help humans better manage psychological distress like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A recent study, funded in part by the ISAZ/Waltham Collaborative Research Award and C-P.A.W.W.® research programme, found that veterans with PTSD who walked shelter dogs experienced a positive impact on their perceived stress and PTSD symptoms.
As one of the first studies designed specifically to examine the effects of dog interaction on the mental health of military veterans, the 8-week study showed that this improvement was even more notable in veterans with higher levels of reported PTSD symptoms.
Pet companionship can also make us feel less isolated and lonely. Physical activity with our dogs, such as taking regular walks together, makes us healthier overall and keeps our bond with our pups strong.
Studies also show that pet owners are more physically active than non-pet owners, and that pets can help older adults get the daily amount of exercise they need. This might not come as a surprise, thanks to regular walks and play we get with our dogs. But the increased activity also benefits our adopted pets as walks can help them feel more confident and less stressed while giving them the physical and mental stimulation they need.
If you’re considering adopting a pet now, think about your lifestyle once the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted. Pet adoptions have been soaring worldwide over the past months, but this trend might also lead to surrenders, given owners’ lifestyle or economic hardships.
Behaviour issues may be another reason why owners send their pets back to shelters. Some dogs can develop separation anxiety if owners experience a sudden change in lifestyle - for instance, returning to their workplace. There are several ways to reduce the risk of your dog developing separation anxiety:
A good rescue center will prepare a newly adopted dog or cat for their new home and take time to spot and solve any behaviour problems. They will help you find the right match, ask you detailed questions and schedule a home visit and may even help you train your dog. They may also schedule visits following the adoption to ensure the pet is being looked after and thriving in their new home. If you’re looking for references, ask your veterinarian and any local animal charities.
Adoptable pets - of all ages and sizes - have so much to offer. To make sure both you and your new pet can make the most of the bond you’re building together, choose a pet that is the right age and breed for you and your family.
By understanding the breed makeup of the pet, you can learn all about:
By choosing adoption, you get to save a life (or more!) while finding a companion who provides endless and unconditional love.