This semester, one of my classes has requires students to go to the local animal shelter, Companion Animal Alliance to volunteer. I have only been about four times, but so far, it is an incredible life-changing experience. I have always been one to advocate for rescuing or adopting over going to Pet Land and spending ridiculous amounts of money on a dog when there are so many animals who need homes.
In fact, my family's dog, Chevy, is a puppy that I found at a rescue shelter. He is the sweetest, most loving dog, who is grateful for every second he gets to spend with us, and us with him. My family now swears by adopting and rescuing because of how well and rewarding it has turned out for us.
When I volunteer, I pretty much go through the same routines. I walk the dogs, play with them in the play pin, bathe them if they need it, and help do housekeeping around the shelter. It doesn't sound like much, but the impact it has on the dogs, and the people who work there is significant. They are always needing help because this particular shelter has to take in every animal that is brought in to them. So while there may be 15 general workers, there are over 300+ animals that need caring for. The dogs are cooped up in the kennels all day, and it is so important that they are walked at least once a day to prevent them from going in their kennel, or holding it in and getting bladder infections.
Also, they require love and attention to not only stay sane but to prevent anxiety and depression from getting too high,(yes, dogs mental health matters just as much as humans). This small amount of time that I get to spend with them a few times a week is really so much more than just "taking the dogs for a walk." It is showing them love, and happiness, something rare to find when stuck in a kennel 23 hours a day.
All that these animals could possibly want is a great home, with someone to just love on them. It really rubs me the wrong way when people ignore that factor completely just because they want a specific breed. Shelters have the stereotype of having mostly older dogs that are mixed brees, but that is not always the case. Full bread dogs are sent in every day. CAA is always overrun with puppies, and every time I go to volunteer, there is always a new set.
Puppies are always the dogs to get adopted first in the shelter. People love puppies. How much different are 1-year-old dogs from puppies though? They maybe have a tad bit less energy, but they are most definitely still young dogs. It's time for people to step out of their comfort zones, and stop buying dogs for show. Adopt them for the feeling you get when you're around them. Adopt them to show them that a loving home does exist. Adopt them to save their lives.
There are so many shelters in the United States, probably so many around you, where dogs and cats are waiting to be adopted and taken to a loving home. Next time you're looking to adopt, check your shelters first!