By Beth Guerra, DVM
While browsing at a garden store the other day, I struck up a conversation with a woman who had a poodle riding in her cart. We got to talking about dogs, and I told her I had several, including a Yorkie mix. She said that she had always wanted a Yorkie, but couldn’t see spending $2500 for one. I told her all my dogs were from various shelters, and that she should look into adoption. I warned her she may not find a purebred Yorkie, but most certain could get a mix. She said she didn’t even care if the dog was purebred, she was just a fan of the breed.
This was my first encounter with someone who was not aware of pet adoption as an option instead of purchasing from a pet store or breeder. Every pet I have had throughout my childhood and adult life was adopted, either as a stray or from the local humane society. I have adopted cats, dogs, rabbits, and birds through shelters. All of them have been spayed/neutered and fully vaccinated. Plus, the adoption fee is usually less than $250!
The shelter is often thought of as a place where pets are taken when they are no longer wanted. In reality, pets end up at shelters for various reasons, but the common denominator is that they all need good homes. Due to the extensive variety of breeds, ages, and dispositions, you will rarely walk out of a shelter without finding the perfect pet for you or your family. Most shelters have a veterinarian on site, or one that works closely with the organization, to examine each pet fully and administer any medical care that may be needed. Shelter employees and volunteers often spend lots of time evaluating each pet’s personality and how it may interact with other pets and people. They work hard to ensure that each pet is adopted into the right home.