More than 11 years ago ready to become a pet parent I stepped into the local animal shelter and perused the cages to find a new companion animal. The shelter was filled to capacity, mostly with pit bulls and other large, abandoned dogs. In one cage I saw a mound of mismatched fur and realized I had found “the one.”
It was difficult to describe the dog’s appearance. He looked like a cross between an Ewok and Gizmo the gremlin. He was around 3 months old and had been found wandering the streets alone. His cage was marked “terrier mix,” so there was no way to fully know the breed or how large the puppy would get.
Despite the way he started his early life, the dog wagged his tail and was very affectionate to me. Idecided to take the plunge and adopt him. Eleven years later, my dog Happy is still a part of my family. I can say I’ve never met a more laid-back, well-behaved and relatively trouble-free dog and that comes with a history of many pet dogs growing up and my father even having owned a pet shop at one point. If Iever choose to welcome another dog into my home, I’m certain I’d go the adoption route.
Pets in shelters
According to the ASPCA, many of the shelters operating nationwide are independent organizations, and there is no reliable means of tabulating just how many dogs enter their shelters every year. It is estimated that anywhere between 5 to 7 million companion animals enter a shelter every year. Approximately 3 to 4 million are euthanized, and only 15 to 20 percent are returned to their owners due to microchip or tag identification. The National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy says most of the pets are destroyed simply because there is no one available to adopt them.