Animals aren't designer bags or shoes. They're living creatures that we call our best friends.
But too often people forget that. Instead of focusing on the joy and love that comes with pet companionship, too many of us obsess about a particular pedigree. Now you can find breeders of all kinds, creating designer dogs in situations that often resemble sweatshop factories.
Meanwhile millions of loving animals who did nothing wrong, just weren't born with the right "papers," languish in shelters.
Beautiful Animals, Ugly Numbers
If they're lucky they'll be adopted into a new home. If they're not they'll be one of the thousands of animals that Chicago-area shelters put to death each year.
In 2015, the Chicago city shelter took in 4241 dogs and 3092 cats.
295 dogs and 94 cats were adopted.
1235 dogs and 263 cats were euthanized.
1768 dogs and 2436 cats were taken to rescue groups
Even at rescue groups these pets' future is uncertain. Most municipal and nonprofit shelters do not have the time, money or other resources to hold unlimited numbers of animals indefinitely.
Open the Cage, Open Your Heart
The only answer to the endless euthanizing of healthy animals is to adopt. No animal was born to live in a cage. Adopting a homeless pet doesn't just help the pet, it helps you too:
Adopting a pet costs much less than buying one.
You'll get low-cost spaying, neutering and vaccination services.
"Purebred" often means "born with serious congenital defects." Ask any owner of a purebred dog about its medical condition and life expectancy. Shelter pets, on the other hand, tend to be "mutts" with vibrant health and no inbred defects.
You'll see love light up their eyes every time they look at you.
Whether you find your new friend at a city shelter, rescue group or in an alley, when you open your door to that lonely pet you'll fill your home and your heart with love.
Shelter pets have been chosen for special programs that bring companionship to seniors, wounded veterans and survivors of trauma. You won't find breeder-provided animals in these programs. There seems to be a special bond between people who have experienced life's sorrows and these special pets.
Many of these are older animals, who make great companions. Older pets usually:
are calm and quiet
require less maintenance than a new puppy or kitten
have a known medical history
have fully developed personalities, so what you see is what you get
are used to humans and our mysterious way
It's like those bumper stickers that pet owners sport: "Who rescued who?" When you take in a homeless pet, both your lives will be transformed.