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 good 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 had the opportunity to care for some wonderful animals and find 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 great 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 'put to sleep' (euthanized). Unfortunately, this happens to even healthy animals.
While working for HSNT, I also had the opportunity to be 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. She was adopted by a wonderful family that lived out in the country. Mya was our second foster pup to come home with me. She was an albino Australian Shepherd pup, and was half blind and deaf. She stayed with us for a month and was adopted at our next adoption event through HSNT. 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 heart-worm 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 a animal foster parent? Check out your local animal shelters. I am sure they have a foster program in place!
Hoss - Mya - Snickers
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
Dear Foster Mom
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.
Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as
a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All of the recent arrivals had
no idea what to think, as they had never experienced a day like this before.
But the animals who had been waiting for their beloved people knew exactly
what was going on and started to gather at the pathway leading to The Bridge to watch.
It wasn't long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung low and
tail dragging. The other animals, the ones who had been there for a while,
knew what his story was right away, for they had seen this happen far too often.
He approached slowly, obviously in great emotional pain, but with no sign
of injury or illness. Unlike all of the other animals waiting at The
Bridge, this animal had not been restored to youth and made healthy and vigorous again.
As he walked toward The Bridge, he watched all of the other animals
watching him. He knew he was out of place here and the sooner he could
cross over, the happier he would be. But, alas, as he approached The
Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who apologized,
but told him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were
with their people could pass over Rainbow Bridge.
With no place else to turn to, the elderly animal turned towards the fields
before The Bridge and saw a group of other animals like himself, also
elderly and infirm. They weren't playing, but rather simply lying on the
green grass, forlornly staring out at the pathway leading to The Bridge.
And so, he took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting.
One of the newest arrivals at The Bridge didn't understand what he had just
witnessed and asked one of the animals that had been there for awhile to explain it to him.
"You see, that poor animal was a rescue. He was turned in to rescue just as
you see him now, an older animal with his fur graying and his eyes
clouding. He never made it out of rescue and passed on with only the love
of his rescuer to comfort him as he left his earthly existence. Because he
had no family to give his love to, he has no one to escort him across The Bridge."
The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, "So what
will happen now?" As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds
suddenly parted and the gloom lifted. Approaching The Bridge could be seen
a single person, and among the older animals, a whole group was suddenly
bathed in a golden light and they were all young and healthy again, just as
they were in the prime of life.
"Watch, and see," said the second animal. A second group of animals from
those waiting came to the pathway and bowed low as the person neared. At
each bowed head, the person offered a pat on the head or a scratch behind
the ears. The newly restored animals fell into line and followed her
towards The Bridge. They all crossed The Bridge together.
"That was a rescuer. The animals you saw bowing in respect were those who
found new homes because of her work. They will cross when their new
families arrive. Those you saw restored were those who never found homes.
When a rescuer arrives, they are allowed to perform one, final act of
rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor animals that they couldn't
place on earth across The Rainbow Bridge."
"I think I like rescuers", said the first animal.
"So does GOD", was the reply.