During a recent trip to my hometown, I visited the Animal Rescue League of Berks County. I was lucky enough to tour the facilities with Erin, a bubbly volunteer who works at the Customer Service desk. In addition to my tour of the kennels, I was shown the Book Buddies room, where children from the community come to read to kittens, and the meet and greet room, where a potential owner can spend time with an animal. Out of respect to their future families, I was not able to photograph any of the animals on site. However, I could tell that they were well taken care of in their temporary homes. They all had food and water, clean kennels, and a sprawling outdoor play area that is near. There were cats and dogs, both small and tall, licking their paws and wagging their tails in excitement when I passed by.
As a member of a family who owns a rescue dog, I believe that adopting and not shopping for pets is very important. It is clear that the passionate volunteers of the ARL agree with me. When asked why she thinks the adopt don’t shop phenomena is important Erin says, “Adopt, don’t shop is important because you can save a life by doing it. There are too many animals in shelters and many thousands, if not more, animals are euthanized each year in shelters due to lack of funds or space. Also, many adoption fees are $200 or less and include things like spay/neuter and shots. Purchasing a dog from a breeder or pet store, where you could pay up to $1,000 for the pet alone, may not include altering the pet or shots. In addition, a lot of pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills, which house far too many dogs, while keeping them confined to small cages in filthy, deplorable conditions. When people buy puppies from pet stores, they keep the puppy mills in business.”
According to the website of the Humane Society of The United States, 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized in the U.S alone due to overcrowding in shelters and too few people who want to adopt these animals. This is a heartbreaking statistic that needs to change. We can all do our part by promoting the adoption of pets.
It is the volunteers and employees of the rescue who keep the business running smoothly. They do a wonderful job of finding forever homes for their furry friends. Many of the staff members even foster and adopt the animals themselves. Since starting her position, Erin has fostered two rabbits, one senior cat, four dogs for a short period, two dogs under hospice care, and many kittens. These animals all need loving homes, and they truly deserve them. The next time you think about buying a pet from a breeder or a pet store, adopt one instead! Step on no pets and show some love to your local rescue shelter.