The Importance of Pet Adoption
With all the extra time at home everyone has now, many people may be considering getting a new pet. But, just because your quarantined lifestyle may make sense for a pet, you really need to consider whether your post-social distancing life and schedule truly fits with the animal you may be welcoming into your home.
It’s important to do your research before you get a pet. You need to know how long an animal’s life span is, the annual costs for food, supplies and vet bills, and how much physical activity and attention your new pet may need. The life span is very important – some birds and reptiles can live a very long time and may even outlive you, so you could be adopting a lifelong companion.
It’s also important to adopt animals from your local animal shelters. These shelters work tirelessly to rescue animals from poor conditions, provide medical care including vaccines and spaying/neutering, and many go above and beyond to help wild animals living around us as well. Plus, by adopting animals from shelters, you open up more space for them to continue rescuing more animals in need.
And, of course, just because a recent “viral” documentary talks about how easy it may be to find or how “cool” it could look – don’t ever consider buying any exotic animal. These are wild animals and are not meant to be pets.
At Zoo Atlanta, we like to practice what we preach, including being responsible pet owners. So, hear from some of the Zoo Teammates about why they chose to adopt pets, why adopting is important and how their pets have impacted their lives!
Julia S., Public Events Coordinator
Adopting my dogs is probably one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. Rescue is so important for several reasons. First, it helps keep county shelters from reaching capacity, thereby allowing them to continue the lifesaving work that they do. Second, it pulls the financial support away from non-reputable breeding operations, an issue that is especially problematic for breeds like the pit bull terrier and associated “pit bull type” breeds. All three of mine are pit bull mixes, and all came to me through different avenues, with different backstories. Sparing the depressing details, I would rather take a moment to applaud the work of the agencies either responsible for introducing me to my dogs or helping support their transition into my home. Lifeline Animal Project (Atlanta, GA), Wags & Wiggles Dog Rescue (Cumming, GA), and It’s a Ruff Life (based out of New Jersey but facilitating adoptions all over the U.S.) Rescue dogs take work, there’s no doubt about it. A lot of them require extra TLC to achieve the behaviors and qualities you fantasize about when you think of bringing a canine companion into your life. However, witnessing the growth and development in each dog’s personality as they overcome their individual challenges has been the ultimate reward. There’s really no human-animal bond quite like what I have with my little pack of misfits. My only word of caution when it comes to pet adoption is that it’s ADDICTIVE. Rescue dogs are like potato chips. You can’t have just one.
Kathleen P., Web & Graphic Designer
I adopted Fort from the Atlanta Humane Society in 2009 in the last week of living in the dorms at Georgia State! He was 3 months old, so he is 11 now but still acts as lively as a puppy (though he snores like an old man). Javy (named for Javy Lopez formerly of the Braves), came a few years later in 2013 when my husband, Jonathan, adopted him from the Fulton County Animal Shelter. He was already a year old, and though he was reserved when Jonathan met him at the shelter, he has since blossomed into what a stranger once remarked as “the lickin-est dog you’ve ever met.” He loves meeting new people, and never misses the opportunity to give someone a big lick – sometimes even just in passing on walks! We rounded out our menagerie by adopting a cat named Lucas, also from Fulton Co., in 2016. All three love snuggling in a dog bed, but the cat definitely is the boss!
Melissa K., Manager of Public Programs, Education
The two cats and two dogs that we call our “babies” – all have backstories that involve being unwanted, left behind, or just not having a place to call home. Due to pet overpopulation, their stories are unfortunately not uncommon. Merlin, our black cat with a back leg that doesn’t bend, was found on a trip returning home from Florida, hobbling around outside of a gas station in a semi-feral state of being, eating out of the dumpster. Dinah, our very vocal, fluffy calico, was going to be taken to a shelter, but she was intercepted and brought home by my husband instead (these two are inseparable). Peppermint, our now-senior sweet yellow lab mix, was found on the side of the road as a tiny puppy when our roommate saw her stray mother get hit by another car. He stopped and found Peppermint there with her mother, who had died. Pixie is a purebred rough collie that is impressively intelligent and quirky. In her original home, she was acquired to be bred for collie puppies, but to make a long story short, she was given to us to provide her a more enriching family life. These were the brief backstories of just my four pets, and we crossed paths with each of them before they reached shelters which are bursting at the seams with loving animals that need homes! Remember when you are looking for a pet to check your local shelters, to please spay and neuter, and that pets are a commitment for their entire lifetime. In doing those things, you are literally saving lives. If we unite in responsible pet ownership, we can make sure that no pet is “unwanted.”