Adoption gift certificates are a great idea for friends or families looking for a pet
Last updated 12/31/2021 at 12:39pm
LOS ANGELES – Americans are inundated each year by classic images of bow-bedecked puppies or kitten-stuffed stockings, so it's not surprising that many families bring pets home for the holidays.
Not everyone considers this, but where those pets come from can either help or hurt efforts to end the killing of pets in America's shelters.
Best Friends Animal Society encourages families and individuals who are thinking of getting a new furry friend this holiday season to choose the adoption option by taking in a homeless pet from an animal shelter or rescue group, rather than buying from a breeder, pet store or online retailer.
Opening your home to a shelter pet in need means that money is diverted away from backyard breeders and the inhumane puppy mill industry that churns out millions of puppies annually to supply pet stores and online retailers.
This is also a critical time to adopt because adoption saves lives. While adoptions were up the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the last six months have proven challenging for animal shelters. Intake has been higher, staffing has decreased, and adoptions have dropped, resulting in overcrowded shelters and thousands of pets waiting longer than usual for homes.
Data from late summer showed shelter challenges and downward adoption trends, including a dramatic decrease in staff levels at shelters which is causing reduced operations and a lower capacity for animals. As a result, many shelters are struggling to keep pace with public demand.
"Whatever life has in store, having a pet makes everything better. Pets provide constant companionship while drastically reducing stress, which many of us can really appreciate these days," said Julie Castle, CEO at Best Friends Animal Society. "The holidays are a great time to adopt and we hope to get a record number of dogs and cats into loving homes this season. And this year, it's more important than ever to consider and appreciate what pets give back to us in return."
"Numerous studies have revealed that the presence of pets is beneficial for our physical and mental health. The companionship of animals has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety, helping people to feel calmer and more secure during difficult times," Castle added.
Adopting is a good investment too. Adoption fees generally cover the pet's spay/neuter surgery, health exam, vaccinations, microchip ID, and often other free starter goodies that vary from group to group.
"One thing people often don't realize is the quality and variety of animals available through shelters and rescue groups," Castle said. "Across the country there are always amazing purebreds, mixed-breed dogs, cats, puppies and kittens of all ages, types and sizes looking for homes. Even the popular designer dogs find themselves in need of rehoming when their owners face situations like job loss, divorce or housing issues."
Potential adopters also can check http://www.petfinder.com to see the adoptable animals waiting for homes locally, regionally and even nationally. While adoptable pets may seem scarce at times in some areas, there are currently more than 106,400 dogs and puppies, and 124,000 cats and kittens looking for homes on petfinder.com.
Potential adopters can also check our website to find links to adopt from Best Friends, or from one of our more than 3,500 Network Partners across the country, including the Fallbrook Animal Sanctuary, https://fallbrookanimalsanctuary.org/. If you're not ready to adopt, consider fostering a pet from a local shelter or rescue group.
What about pets as gifts?
Although research has shown that pets received as gifts are not necessarily loved less than those adopted by more traditional means, there are better alternatives to choosing a pet for another adult or family as a surprise.
Selecting a pet is a very personal decision, as pets' personalities vary even when you know what breed someone is looking for. There's also age, gender, activity level, hair length, and other considerations, so it's best for the adopter to choose what pet will be ideal for their own family and lifestyle.
For this reason, Best Friends suggests purchasing an adoption gift certificate from a shelter or rescue group, rather than an actual pet, to allow the recipient to make the choice themselves. To make the gift cuter and more substantial, you can assemble a basket of pet supplies, toys and treats to go along with the adoption certificate.
When it comes time to bring home a new pet, few people will argue that adopted animals reward their people with a depth of unconditional love that pets from other sources don't seem to rival. They seem to know they were given a second chance, and they spend their lives repaying their people.
For more information, visit bestfriends.org.
Submitted by Best Friends Animal Society.