The best place to find your fur-ever friend is at an animal shelter. Approximately 7.5 million animals end up in animal shelters across the United States every year. Almost 4 million of those are dogs, and the other 3.5 million are cats. Animals end up in a shelter for many reasons, and the most common is owner surrender.
Landlord does not allow pet
Cost of pet maintenance
Owner having personal problems/illness/death
Does not get along with other pets
Having no time for pet
Shelters are filled with animals that need suitable homes, and some of these animals have never had a home. Some were homeless and lived on the streets before they were lucky enough to make it to a shelter. Most of the animals in shelters are mixed, which means their parents are different breeds. Studies actually show that mixed breeds are healthier than purebred animals that many breeders sell. When you think of an animal shelter, you probably just think about dogs and cats. But you can find other animals at shelters, too. Many shelters have rabbits, birds, turtles, ferrets, snakes, guinea pigs, and many others up for adoption as well. If you are thinking about a pet for your family, please look into adopting a shelter pet! They are amazing and they deserve a second chance!!
I worked for the Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT) for almost a year as an Animal Adoption Counselor and Kennel Tech. I cared for some wonderful animals and found homes for them. Animal Adoption Counselors help match potential owners with shelter pets for a minimal fee, that goes toward vaccines, micro-chipping, and to spay or neuter your new pet. These services are significant reasons to get your new friend from a shelter and are less expensive than buying from a breeder, on top of having to pay for these exact services through a vet. Plus, when you adopt a shelter pet, you are saving a life! Animal shelters have limited space and do not have enough money to take care of all the animals they house when they become ill and have to be euthanized. Unfortunately, this happens to healthy animals, too.
While working for HSNT, I also became a foster dog parent. Snickers was my first foster pup and a Lab/Pit mix. She contracted kennel cough (canine infectious respiratory disease). I brought her home on medication to recover away from the other animals. Tanner was immediately taken with her. She stayed with us for several months and was quite the escape artist. She could get out of the kennel in a flash. I wish we could have adopted her, but it was not meant to be. A wonderful family that lived out in the country adopted her. Mya was our second foster pup to come home with me. She was an albino Australian Shepherd pup and was half blind and deaf. This little girl stayed with us for a month before she was adopted. She found a wonderful fur-ever home. Hoss was an English Mastiff and my third and final foster dog. He was five years old and an owner-surrender that was heartworm positive. We ended up adopting Hoss as he was undergoing heart-worm treatment. Sadly, Hoss was only with our family for eight months, before he passed away from heart failure. Even after treatment, the damage was just too much for his body to sustain. My family was blessed to have been able to give him a loving home, even for just a short time.
Want to become an animal foster parent? Check out your local animal shelters. I am sure they have a foster program in place!
Hoss - Mya - Snickers
DEAR FOSTER MOM:
There I sat, alone and afraid,
You got a call and came right to my aid.
You bundled me up with blankets and love,
And, when I needed it most, you gave me a hug.
I learned that the world was not all that scary and cold,
That sometimes there is someone to have and to hold.
You taught me what love is, you helped me to mend,
You loved me and healed me and became my first friend.
And just when I thought you'd done all you do,
There came along not one new lesson, but two.
First you said, "Sweetheart, you're ready to go,
I've done all I can, and you've learned all I know."
Then you bundled me up with a blanket and kiss,
Along came a new family, they even have kids!
They took me to their home, forever to stay,
At first I thought you sent me away.
Then that second lesson became perfectly clear,
No matter how far, you will always be near.
And so, Foster Mom, you know I've moved on,
I have a new home, with toys and a lawn.
But I'll never forget what I learned that first day,
You never really give your fosters away.
You gave me these thoughts to remember you by,
We may never meet again, and now I know why.
You'll remember I lived with you for a time,
I may not be yours, but you'll always be mine.