It’s no secret that Americans care about their pets. Each year, the pet industry yields several billions of dollars in revenue due to the immense amount of pet owners in the U.S. Studies show that 68 percent of U.S. households are pet owners, which equates to 85 million families with furry friends. But, how many of those animals came from puppy or cat mills?
Between the time commitment and large expenses, getting a pet should not be taken lightly. Over the years of love and care, these animals become a part of the family. These are living and breathing beings, which means we should be more cognizant of the conditions they are brought up in.
Most of the puppies sold in pet stores originate from puppy mills or breeding facilities that are focused on making a profit rather than taking care of the animal. This causes dogs and cats to have serious health issues down the line. The conditions these animals live in are often dangerous and unregulated. Not only do many of these facilities force dogs and cats to breed, but each year, 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized in the U.S., because people are opting to buy rather than adopt.
In recent years, there has been more awareness around the issue with the phrase “adopt don’t shop” gaining traction. Animal lovers and social media influencers preach the benefits of adoption online as social responsibility becomes more and more important in our society.
“I have always grown up with dogs that my mom would buy from breeders, so I never understood the ‘adopt don’t shop’ thing,” says Carly Ciraulo who adopted her dog Cassius in the fall of 2017. “When I first got him he was scared, confused and sad, but after having him for six months I can truly see the difference.”
Cassius was found running on Kingery Highway before he was brought to safety at a local shelter. Ciraulo notes that adopting a dog is more fulfilling for the owner and the pet, because you and the dog can grow together. Cassius calmed Ciraulo’s anxiety, and she was able to give her pup the life he deserves.
Mia Borowski had a similar experience when her family adopted their dog Zoey. Zoey was given to her previous owner as a gift, but as the woman got older and her capabilities as a dog owner slowly diminished, this home was no longer a fit for Zoey. Borowski’s family adopted her and gave her a life full of love.
“Zoey was malnourished. Her hair was marred and yellow, and she wasn’t socialized so she was scared of everything,” says Borowski. “She brought so much happiness into our lives. She was who I would come home to every day and who I would talk to when I was sad.”
You don’t realize how much an animal can make a difference in your life, so why not make a difference in theirs? Adopting a pet is not only less expensive, but you can find a pet that will fit you and your lifestyle. If your schedule does not allow time to train and care for an energetic puppy or kitten, a shelter will have a wide range of ages, temperaments, and breeds. If you’re considering adding a pet to the family, check out your local shelter first. Choose the option that saves lives.
“Adopting a dog is amazing and every animal deserves to live the best life,” says Borowski. “ I truly believe Zoey got that.”