Dogs are often referred to as "Man's Best Friend." If dogs were truly Man's Best Friend though, why are we letting so many of them stay homeless in animal shelters or on the streets? Why are we paying breeders thousands of dollars instead of going to our local Humane Societies or pounds to rescue a pup that really needs a home?

I have five rescues at my home right now. Each has a different story. Each is an integral part of our family. Each could be in a totally different scenario if they were not adopted by my family.

My old man, Chippie (14), was left on the side of the road to die. He's a brown lab, around two years old when we brought him home. Neither my family nor the pound where we adopted him from was sure whether he was beaten or hit by a car however, one of his back legs had to be amputated. He is a Mama's boy. He follows my mom around like he is her shadow. He loves food and laying in the front yard. You would never know his past by his present circumstances.

Next is my girl, Amber (13). She is a beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback, just six weeks old when we adopted her. She was a breeder's pup, left at the local pound because she didn't have the ridge on her back like Rhodesians are supposed to have. She has lived with us her entire life and has become my best friend. She loves to be splashed with water while people are in the pool, and loves to sleep on the couch. One "defect" in her physical appearance could have ended her life if my mom didn't adopt her in time.

Then comes Buddy (10). He is a Corgi mix, also just a puppy when we got him. He was lucky enough to be at a rescue shelter called the Lost Angels instead of a pound or other kill-shelter. He's funny looking because of his long ombré tail. But he loves to sleep under the couch and chase my other dogs around the yard. His short legs usually leave him far behind the pack but he tries his best. I could never imagine not having him around.

Faith (6) is next, and she's a story. We aren't quite sure of her breed, a testing site said she is a Plotthound. However, my mom was just helping a friend look for a dog at the local pound when the technician pointed out they had a three-legged dog - which intrigued my mom because we already had one tripod. Faith was rescued from a drug home where her owner kicked her until her leg was broken and never took her to get it fixed. When the police busted the couple for drugs, they found her and the result was the amputation of her back leg. Ironically, she and Chippie are missing the same leg. She is so sweet and loves to cuddle, it's so shocking to believe someone abused her in her past.

Lastly, and newest to the group is Mia (4). She's a beautiful yellow lab mix and was already almost a year old when we adopted her. A family friend owns a local-natural pet supply shop near our home. On one visit my mom saw Mia and was told how she was left outside the shop, infested by fleas and ticks. The owner took her in and cleaned her up and began searching for her a forever home. Obviously, we are her forever home and couldn't be happier to have her here. She loves stuffed animals and having her belly rubbed.

All five of these babies could have had horrible endings if it weren't for people like my mom who adopt instead of shopping for dogs.

According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.3 million dogs are brought into shelters each year in the US. The cost of shopping for a dog could be in the thousands, while adopting a shelter animal only requires the fees associated with taking care of that dog for however long it was in the shelter.

Adopting saves not only the dog but money too.

For more information about shelter animals, adoptions and donations check out https://www.aspca.org/.