Who Let the Dogs Out

They are everywhere. They share our homes, our beds, our seat on the couch. They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and temperaments. They can be calm and they can be high-strung, but one trait is universal throughout them all: they are man’s best friend.

Almost every child in suburban America grows up with a canine companion, a furry ball of energy that serves as a playmate and protector, one who playfully endures the trials and triumphs that arise throughout a child’s life. Just like humans, no two dogs are alike. Each has a unique personality, a singular bark, a particular toy preference and they all long to be loved.

Unfortunately, dogs do not magically appear upon doorsteps nor do they come in the mail. While there are a seemingly infinite number of dogs to choose from, often the place to start the search for the perfect companion can begin right around the corner at a local animal shelter.

In the United States alone, there are over 50,000 community animal shelters that serve as temporary homes for a wide variety of  cats and dogs looking for a forever family. As a result of improvements within the shelter system and a wide range of legislative guidelines, shelters are clean and efficient establishments that provide housing and medical care for millions of dogs each year.

Due to the non-profit nature of most shelter organizations, it is significantly less costly to adopt a canine companion as opposed to purchasing an expensive purebred. While the low price may be an enticing incentive, shelter dogs have also be known to live longer than purebreds due to their increased genetic diversity.

Outwardly, the benefits of adoption are financially significant and the process itself can be emotionally rewarding. Many of the dogs in shelters were abandoned or rescued as strays and the purpose of the shelter system is merely to provide a transitional home for these canines as they await a permanent residence.

In today’s society, individuals often fixate on material possessions which are new and advanced, hoping to attract the attention and admiration from their peers. While this is an unavoidable phenomena in light of modern day advancement, a canine’s value can rarely be determined by his pedigree. Personality, lovability, and loyalty cannot be measured by a breed standard.

Overall, adoption can be a transformative experience for both the adopter and the adoptee. Through animal shelters and the adoption programs offered, families grow and dogs with less than ideal beginnings  are given second chances and the opportunity to love and be loved by a forever family.

Photo Courtesy of Cameron Martinez
Photo Courtesy of Cameron Martinez