Adopt, Don’t Shop: Why Adoption and Rescue Matter

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What Shelter Life Looks Like

Envision an animal shelter full of anxious dogs, crying out for attention. Some howling at all hours of the night, just patiently waiting for their next walk or meal. Imagine the dogs (and cats) at extra-crowded “high kill” shelters, most of whom face the horrible fate of being put down due to lack of space, resources, and homes. These dogs are waiting for someone with a big enough heart like you to come and adopt/rescue them!

The Numbers Don’t Lie

According to the ASPCA, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year (including 3.3 million dogs, and 3.2 million cats). Conservative numbers state that of those animals, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year.

That means that 670,000 dogs — or 20% of dogs that enter animal shelters — and 860,000 cats — or 27% of cats that enter animal shelters — are euthanized annually. The good news is that adoption numbers are encouraging —approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.6 million dogs and 1.6 million cats).

 

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Millions of dogs and cats are euthanized at shelters every year due to lack of homes.

 

The High Cost of Breeding

So, with pet overpopulation an ongoing issue, why would anyone still purchase a dog through a breeder or pet store? Sadly, breeders’ primary interest is making a profit from breeding animals; in contrast, animal shelters and rescue organizations are dedicated to finding homes for dogs and cats rather than making money.

In fact, adoption fees are minimal particularly in comparison to the high costs charged by breeders and pet stores. Plus, nearly all pet store dogs come from horribly cruel puppy mills, which are rampant with abuse and neglect. Furthermore, just in terms of logistics, why drive many miles to an out-of-state breeder or even ship a dog on an airplane (which is not only dangerous but traumatic for animals), when you can drive just down the street and adopt an amazing pet?

Breaking Down Stereotypes

Despite common misconception, most shelter and/or rescue dogs are perfectly “normal” —happy, healthy dogs. Sadly, dogs and cats end up in shelters for many reasons. Often, their owners can no longer take care of them or are unable to keep them, so they surrender them to an animal shelter.

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Sadie, a Hurrican Harvey survivor, is just one of the many dogs adoptable through STAR.

In the case of rescue groups, the aim is to get animals, particularly dogs, out of “high kill” shelters as soon as possible, giving them a chance at life. Once out of that stressful environment, many dogs thrive in foster homes before getting adopted out to their forever homes. The importance of rescue cannot be underestimated, and the statistics only paint a partial picture of the larger issue.

In terms of placing animals in homes, shelters and rescues do their due diligence to ensure that dogs (and cats) are placed in good, appropriate homes, whereas most breeders and pet stores don’t and will sell a dog to just about anyone for a profit. Not only is this lack of oversight irresponsible, but is also a major safety issue and often ends up leading to MORE dogs in shelters as are owners find they cannot handle a particular type/size/breed of dog.

My Adoption Story

Furthermore, I can tell you from my own experience that it is SO worth it to adopt/rescue a dog. Ten years ago, my husband and I rescued our own dog from a shelter! My own dog came from a shelter ten years ago, when my husband adopted him. Our now 12-year-old pitbull/terrier mix has the same personality and spunk as he did when we first got him and he still has lots of love to give! Plus, he came to us trained with basic commands and a file full of paperwork that included basic health info, vaccination dates, microchip information, etc. Adoption made it easier to make him part of our family.

So, please — adopt, don’t shop. Visit your local animal shelter or rescue organization, in person or online. If you cannot take on the responsibility of adopting/rescuing a dog, you can always help by volunteering. Most non-profits could not function without volunteers, and many (like us!) are actually are 100% volunteer run. Other ways to help include sharing posts on social media or attending a local fundraising event to raise money for a good cause. Together we can help these animals find loving homes!

For a listing of pets available for adoption, visit our Survivor Tails website or Facebook page.

This post was written by STAR volunteer Kerry Richards. If you are interested in helping with the STAR blog, please contact marketing@survivortails.org.

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Fostering 101

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Fostering 101

A quick scroll through social media and you will likely see tons of pets in need of foster homes. Fostering animals is critically important to saving lives. And while many people want to help, we understand there is a lot of information to digest. Here we answer some fostering FAQs and highlight ways you can help.

What Fostering Means

Fostering a pet means taking them into your home for a limited period of time before they find their forever home. Survivor Tails is a foster-based rescue which means that we do not have a shelter location. All of our animals are in foster homes before they are adopted out. That means we could not survive without appropriate foster parents for our pups — you literally help us save lives!

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Fostering an animal can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the situation and the dog’s age, breed, temperament, and other criteria. Some pups take longer to adjust to their new surroundings, so patience is essential when fostering an animal. We currently foster in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and we adopt out to both of those states as well as New Hampshire.

Why Fostering is Important

Without foster homes, we would not be able to rescue dogs (and cats) from high-kill areas, particularly in the south. By providing a safe home to dogs and cats, you are the first stop on the path to a new life. Many of the animals we rescue have been through some tough times are unsure of what love and happiness feel like. By welcoming them into your home and family, you are offering them hope and kindness. Plus, most dogs do not thrive in a shelter environment; many animals open up much better in a home.

Fosters are the much-needed bridge to a forever family for our animals — and sometimes the first kind word and soft touch they ever experience.

What Is Expected of Me?

Once you welcome a foster pet into your home, you are expected to love, care for, and be patient with the new (temporary) addition to your family. You will need to walk and play with your dog, help them establish a routine for potty breaks, and help teach them the basics. Since many dogs come from uncertain situations, the specific needs are determined by the individual dog; for example, some dogs need more help learning commands while other might need a refresher in housebreaking. As mentioned above, being patient and caring are critical to helping your furry pal adjust.

You will also provide updates, feedback, and photos of your foster friend. The more information we have on a dog, the better job we can do finding him or her the best possible forever home. We want all of our dogs and their people to be happy, so keeping us up-to-date on behavior, training, and temperament is essential to our cause. We LOVE pictures and videos — and so do potential adopters!

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Is Fostering Expensive?

Not at all. In fact, it is pretty much free! Survivor Tails covers all expenses except for food and toys. All animals arrive fully vetted and spayed/neutered if of age. If anything happens and your foster becomes ill or injured, we cover all veterinary costs. We also provide the foster pup’s ID tag, leash, martingale collar, harness, and a carabiner clip. We can also supply a crate if needed. Plus, we offer plenty of instructions and support to help your new buddy adjust to your home.

Why Should I Foster?

It’s no secret that dogs are the best! And, science has proven that people with pets are happier and live longer. Perhaps you can’t commit to adopting right now; fostering is an excellent way to get some furry love and help an animal in need. Plus, there is no better feeling than helping an animal in need!

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Ready to Save a Life?

Great, here are some ways to proceed:

Questions? Feel free to reach out to foster@survivortails.org for more information. We have lots of info to share with potential fosters and adopters.

Ready to fill out a foster application? You can find one here!

Want to see some of the dogs (and cats) in need of a foster home? Visit our Facebook album! More of a cat person? Fear not! While we tend to need more homes for dogs, we love to help our feline friends as well!

Can’t foster, but still want to help? Please start by sharing this post and consider making a much-appreciated financial donation.

Also, check out our website check out our website and social media pages for more information!

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