Shelter Pets: Help Spread the Good Word

I am currently “mom” to three cats and one gerbil. My kitties were all “rescues” from acquaintances that had failed to spay their own cats or who could no longer care for their pets. My gerbil came from a teenage girl who was breeding gerbils for an advanced placement science project on genetics. I have had three other gerbils as well, all rescues. I’ve also been mom to four rabbits in the past. All but one are shelter pets that were rescued from the local animal shelter.

It seems I am not alone in the ways I tend to acquire new pets. According to a November 2011 poll, 43 percent of the pet owners polled have been given pets by friends or family. Thirty-four percent are the proud parents of strays they took into their homes. Thirty percent have chosen to adopt shelter pets.

Only 14 percent of the pet owners polled reported purchasing their pet from a pet store, though 31 percent had purchased a pet from a breeder.

As pet lovers, we all know how important animal shelters and rescue groups are to animal welfare. I’m sure many of us make regular donations (of time or money) to the cause. One of the biggest things we can do to help is to get the word out about how great shelter pets are –so that more people who have never adopted will do so.

The benefits of adopting a pet from a shelter are many. Fifty-eight percent who have adopted a shelter pet said that doing so made them feel more socially responsible. Thirty-six percent said that they adopted from the shelter because they had more confidence in the staff than they would have at a pet store or with a breeder. Only 23 percent made the decision to adopt because it was cheaper than buying a pet.

Of all the polled pet owners who had adopted, a whopping 84 percent said that it was a totally positive experience. If you are the proud parent of a shelter pet or a rescued stray, spread the word. And consider a small donation to your local shelter or rescue group on behalf of your own pets this holiday season.

Pet store, breeder, friends or shelter? Where did your pets come from? Tell us in the comments!

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