This is a post I should have written a long time ago, but it never really occurred to me. I write about my pets often on my blog, and if I haven't made it clear, they are a huge part of my life. We currently have three cats and a dog, and I truly can't imagine my life without them!
All of our pets were strays or in a shelter before we took them in. I just don't see the point in buying a pet from a store or breeder when there are millions of pets that need homes. I also choose to adopt adult pets, because you get a good sense of their personalities; but, there are still kittens and puppies at shelters and rescues that need homes.
Phoebe is about nine years old, and we got her in 2009. She was a stray that a friend of a friend had taken in, and was going to go to a shelter if someone didn't keep her. She was missing half her tail, and had (still has) a BB under her skin from being shot with a BB gun. I know pet owners shouldn't have favorites, but if I did, Phoebe would be mine ;) It took her a while to trust us and warm up to us, but once she finally let her guard down, she became so cuddly and loving.
I sometimes think that Phoebe has a sixth sense in that she knows when one of "her people" is upset, because she is there in a flash for cuddling. After my jaw and abdominal surgeries, she wouldn't leave my side. And whenever one of the family members is upset or crying, Phoebe is like a magnet to them. She's as light as air (you don't feel it when she jumps on the bed) and as soft as a rabbit. She has the prettiest green eyes, too! Phoebe has given us a few scares (like when she went missing for four days), but I protect her the best I can. I love this cat!
At first, I wondered if we'd made a mistake, because Estelle seemed almost rude. You could pet her exactly 3-1/2 strokes before she'd bite your hand, and she would then proceed to scold you with a strange series of meows. She was so odd! She's the most curious cat I've ever come across, also. If we bring anything new into the house, whether it's a big box or a bag of groceries, she's all up in there trying to figure it out.
Estelle likes to play the victim, also. She was very clear about the fact that she didn't like that we adopted a dog, and any time Joey would even walk past her, she'd meow and fall over dramatically (actually, she still does this). She's extremely dramatic, which is part of her "torti-tude" (I learned this word from a fellow tortoiseshell cat owner at a Purina event--apparently, torties are known to be vocal and have a bit of an attitude!).
Estelle's favorite place to sleep is on my shins when I have my legs up. It looks incredibly uncomfortable, but she is drawn to that spot. If I'm sitting on my hip, with my legs to the side, she balances on one of my legs. She's a very interesting cat, and we love that about her!
Monica is our newest addition. She is about eight years old, and we adopted her from an animal rescue this past June of 2016. She's a tortoiseshell, just like Estelle, but her hair is long. She absolutely adores human attention, and she loves being petted. When you pet her head, she'll rub her head all over your hand. If you dare stop before she's ready, she'll use her paw to tap you a few times on the hand to remind you to keep petting her.
Interestingly, she and Estelle get along pretty well. Estelle does not like other pets, and I was worried she'd bully Monica, but they tolerate each other better than I'd even hoped. Sometimes, I'll even find the two of them sleeping on my bed together.
Finally, we have Joey, the lone canine in our family. Adopting Joey was one of the best decisions we'd ever made! He is about 2-1/2 years old, and he's a black lab/chow chow mix. My kids absolutely adore him, and he's such a well-behaved dog! We got him from our local animal shelter, where he had been for about three months. He was brought in as a stray (which usually means the owner just didn't want him); and I feel so lucky that he was there the day we went to the shelter. The woman at the shelter said that black dogs are very difficult to adopt out, because they are "less desirable". It's a shame that people think that way, because they could be missing out on one of the most amazing companions. Like Joey!
All of that was a very long introduction to encourage people to adopt a pet instead of buying from a pet shop or a breeder. This is something I feel very passionate about, and I can attest to the fact that pets from shelters are just as amazing as the ones from breeders, if not more so. I really believe that they know that you chose them, and they are extra grateful.
A common argument against adoption is that "You don't know what you're getting from a shelter; when you get a kitten or a puppy, you don't have to worry about its past". When we got Joey, I was a little worried about that as well, considering that I have kids to think about. However, when you get a pet from a shelter, you can go to the shelter and spend some time with him or her to see if that's the right pet for you. We asked to see a few dogs, and they brought them one by one into a room with Jerry and me. I'm sure the shelter would let you take the dog for a walk, bring your family in, etc.
Another way to find an adoptable pet is through Petfinder. Petfinder is a website that lists literally hundreds of thousands of pets that are available for adoption. You can search by location, pet type, age, breed, etc. Some of these pets are at shelters and rescues, and some are in foster homes. As I type this, there are just under 300,000 pets on the site that are looking for forever homes (just typing that sentence brought tears to my eyes).
If you adopt a pet that is currently in a foster home, the foster owners can tell you a lot about the pet's personality as well--so, if you're worried about whether they will get along with other pets, kids, etc, you can always ask. We actually fostered Monica at first, and then adopted her because we liked her so much.
Petfinder is now celebrating its 20th anniversary! More than 25 MILLION pets have been adopted through Petfinder over the last 20 years. Their goal is to make pet adoption easier by connecting people with the right pets for them.
To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Petfinder put together a video that shows how adopted pets have transformed the lives of their adopters. When the video gets 1 million views, 20 shelters or rescues will receive a $10,000 grant from Petfinder Foundation. If you feel as passionately as I do about pet adoption, or found your own pet on Petfinder, Petfinder Foundation is asking that you share your story on social media using the hashtag #MetOnPetfinder.
You can find Petfinder on their website: www.petfinder.com
If you've been thinking about getting a pet, I strongly encourage you to at least go on the website and check out the pets that are available for adoption. It's so hard to look at the site and not want to take them ALL home!