Adopting a pet is one of the greatest ways to add warmth and joy to your household, and selecting a pet from a shelter enables you to save a life at the same time.

Unfortunately, quite a few misconceptions exist regarding shelter animals, and these only serve as needless barriers to shelter animals finding the loving homes they so rightfully deserve.

Novocastrian Photography

Myth #1: Shelters Don’t Offer Purebreds

According to Dr. Jules Benson, the VP of Veterinary Services at Petplan Pet Insurance, 25% of all dogs in shelters are actually purebreds – a statistic that greatly discredits the common claim that all shelter animals are “mutts.” Purebred animals are surrendered for the same reasons mixed breeds are, so their presence within animal shelters across the nation is not surprising.

Myth #2: Purebreds Make Better Pets

Purebred animals and mixed breeds both offer excellent companionship. And when it comes to general health concerns, mixed breeds typically have a lower chance of being born with inherited congenital diseases, and that makes for lower veterinary costs in the long-run.

Myth #3: Shelter Animals Are Sickly

Some people automatically assume animals in shelters are sick, and these people are misinformed. Many shelter pets are very healthy. In fact, animals from shelters and rescue groups are 5% less likely to need unexpected veterinary care than animals purchased from pet stores.

Martha Smith-Blackmore, former president of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, reiterates shelter animals’ health: “In well-run shelters, animals receive vaccinations upon intake and are fed a high-quality diet.”

Myth #4: Shelter Animals Aren’t Well-Behaved

Shelter pets often receive training and socialization prior to adoption in order to help make their transition into new homes easier. Also, most shelters will allow you to spend time with your potential pet to experience its temperament first-hand.

Sadly, some people mistakenly assume feral cats in particular are not able to easily and comfortably transition, but that’s simply not true. Although shyness and fear are typical characteristics of a feral cat, these traits can quickly lessen with patient and consistent human interaction.

Myth #5: Shelter Animals Are Older

All age ranges of animals can be found in shelter settings, so you can easily find puppies and kittens alongside senior animals. Keep in mind that while babies are certainly adorable, older pets are usually already well-trained and may require less work initially (as anyone who has endured puppy training knows all too well).

Myth #6: It’s Better to Get a Free Pet

This is one case where “free” isn’t exactly a bargain. Adopting an animal from a shelter or through a rescue group typically involves a nominal adoption fee, but in the long-run, you’re actually saving money on veterinary expenses. If you simply adopt an animal for free, you’re responsible for an extensive list of medical services:

  • Spaying/neutering ($150-300)
  • Distemper vaccination ($20-30, 2x)
  • Rabies vaccination ($15-25)
  • Heartworm test ($15-35)
  • Flea/tick treatment ($50-200)
  • Microchip ($50)

Myth #7: Something Must Be Wrong With a Surrendered Animal

Pet owners have numerous reasons for surrendering their animals. In fact, the main reasons pets are given up include:

  • Owners are moving (7% dogs, 8% cats)
  • Allergies (8% cats)
  • Owners having personal problems (4% dogs and cats)
  • Too many, or no room for litter mates (7% dogs, 17% cats)
  • Owners can no longer afford the pet (5% dogs, 6% cats)
  • Owners no longer have time for the pet (4% dogs)

Most of the time, these reasons have nothing to do with the animals themselves.

Benefits of Adopting a Shelter Animal

There are plenty of excellent reasons to adopt a pet instead of shopping for one.

1. Saving Lives: Shelters have tragically high euthanasia rates, so adopting a shelter animal literally means you’re saving a life. In addition, for every animal adopted, rescue groups can focus on saving another animal that needs help, so the whole process is truly a win-win.

2. Ending Puppy Mills: Purebred animals are often bred in deplorable conditions, and the animals suffer as a result of overcrowding, poor hygiene, little socialization and extreme physical demands. By adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue, you send the message that backyard breeders won’t be supported.

3. Making Dreams Come True: Each shelter animal is waiting for his or her forever home, and many of these animals have experienced distress from owner surrenders and lives lived on the mean streets. You have the opportunity to give an animal a life it has only ever dreamed of, and what could be more rewarding than that?


Kayla MatthewsKayla Matthews is a pet-loving productivity blogger with a passion for animals and especially big dogs! To read more articles by Kayla you can follow her on Google+ and Twitter, or at


Image by Novocastrian Photography

By Natalie Hennessy 10 days ago at 1:25 pm 0 Comments

When you are preparing to welcome a new pet into your home, you will need to make a few changes to ensure that your new furry friend will be safe inside and outside the home. If you've never owned pets before, you might have to make a lot of adjustments—you will have to get rid of things, move things around, and invest in a few things that will get your house pet-ready. Consider the following tips when getting your home ready to welcome a new pet.

Pet Proofing Your Home & Yard

Install Fences and Playpens Inside and Outside

Just as you would do for a baby, you can keep your new pet out of high risk areas using safety nets (this may be necessary if your new pet is a flighted bird), removable fences, and playpens. If your new pet is a puppy or kitten, and you are in the potty training process, it is a good idea to invest in a playpen, or plastic gates so that your pet won't wander into every room in your home and ruin the carpet. This is also a good idea for young animals if you have steep stairs where the little ones could fall and hurt themselves if left unsupervised. Until your pet gets a little older and more mature, these playpens will help you to keep track of them and keep them safe from harm.

Put All Hazardous Chemicals and Products Out of Reach

There are many household and yard care products that could be lethally poisonous to a new pet. Cosmetics, cleaning products, fertilizers and pesticides, medications, skin and hair care products, detergents and car supplies like antifreeze are all dangerous for pets. Be sure to move these behind locked doors or to high shelves. The professionals of Pest Free Now suggest that if you have your home or yard sprayed for pests, you make sure to keep your pets away from the sprayed areas because some pets will try to eat the chemicals that are meant to kill bugs or rodents.

Cover All Electrical Outlets and Wires, Cables, and Cords

Electrical outlets are not just fascinating to young humans - those small dark spaces can be alluring to young pets as well. Cover them with child-proof safety covers before your pet arrives. In the same way, electrical wiring can at the least induce a nasty shock and at worst cause a fire if your pet starts chewing. Buy pet-proof cord and cable minders or run your cables up and over the walls (instead of down along carpets or behind tables) to be sure your pet cannot get to them.

Keep Plants Out of Reach

There are many plants that, when ingested, are toxic to animals and humans. Some plants can provoke a rash just with casual contact (like brushing the leaves). Be sure to put all of your plants - inside and out - behind barriers such as netting or fencing or up out of reach of your new pet (for instance, hanging plants can pose less risk to all but pet birds).

Keep an Eye Out for Small Objects

Even if you do not think your pet will be harmed by chewing on your child's shoe or sock, you need to know there are instances where pets have died from complications of ingesting laundry, the stuffing from toys (even supposedly "pet safe" toys), panty hose, shoe laces, and other small items. If you can imagine a child gumming it, you can assume your pet might do the same. So be sure to remove it out of harms way before your new pet arrives.

You will soon learn what types of things pose a hazard for your particular pet, but take as many precautions before hand as you possibly can. If you need more suggestions or advice about how to pet-proof your home and surrounding area, the American Humane Society has a list of suggestions on their website about precautions to take before bringing your new pet home. Animals are curious, mischievous creatures, and unless you take the necessary precautions, they will get into everything. After a quick walk-through of your home, you will soon be able to remove any hazards, making it a safe place for you, your pet, and the rest of your family.


Dixie Somers

This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write about business, women's interests, or home and family. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband, three daughters, and a spunky Jack Russel Terrier who makes life interesting! You can follow her on Twitter: @DixieSomers


By Natalie Gomez on Mar 05, 2014 at 2:35 pm 0 Comments