The Reflection

Gull Lake High School's Online News Source

Should we adopt purebred or shelter pets?

Over 10 years ago, my family and I drove from our new home in Richland to a tiny, quaint animal shelter in the heart of Battle Creek. The weather was cold and wet, so my siblings and I were packed in the car with our bulging winter coats. In the shelter, I shied away from the dogs who barked way too loud and turned to the cat room which was where my family was going. That small room was jam-packed with cats of all kinds (but mostly tabby).  

Everyone went to their own area and marveled at the felines and reacted to their different personalities. Meanwhile, I was petting a few cats that came to inspect me, and then one cat came to my tiny, knobby knees. A brown, rotund, tabby started rubbing on my kneecap with his cheek and even scraped his large canine against it too.  I smiled in child-like curiosity and called for my family in excitement.

Mr. Jingles is caught being photogenic once again. Image by Lily Page

It isn’t uncommon for someone at an animal shelter to get a feeling of importance when looking at that specific animal. This animal fills their heart with joy and makes them realize this is the pet they were looking for.  According to the ASPCA, almost 4.1 million animals are adopted every year from animal shelters, which there is no greater amount in dog or cat adoption.  With 4.1 million people with that feeling I just talked about, it’s obviously a universal experience. 

While 34 percent of dogs are adopted through breeders, which is 11 more than the number of dogs from shelters found by the APPA. As for cats, only three percent get adopted from breeders each year, yet shelters have a 29 percent increase.  When it comes to getting a pet from a breeder or shelter, I believe adopting from a breeder often comes with more routine care, so I’d adopt from a shelter if your concern is with how much care the pet will take after getting it home.

Even if I did find the perfect cat that chilly, March afternoon, I have more pets from breeders in the present day.  My two chihuahuas are like my siblings as they take up two opposite, but strong personalities behind their intimidation tactics.  My parents put a lot of thought into adopting my eldest dog eight years ago as they favored cats more, thus created a long list of previous feline pets to their past.  Chihuahuas were dogs both my mom and dad were not familiar with outside of media since Disney’ Beverly Hills Chihuahua wasn’t about dental care or coat grooming.  

I remember the preparation for me was to stop asking questions about the dogs.  By the time we brought home Buster, he was in the hands of Minnie, which could have been the cause of their twin terror every time they are let outside. To elaborate, these two dogs, no longer than a ruler, have the agility and speed to fly into oncoming neighbors, catching them completely by surprise. These pups are purebred and seem to show more health issues after years of care than my cats that were picked up from the dirtiest spots though. 

Buster (left) and Minnie (right). Image by Lily Page

My round, brown tabby cat, Mr. Jingles came to my family with an age range because he was a street cat for so long, so the shelter predicted this feline to be seven or eight years old.  Over 50 percent of adopters, according to ASPCA’s research, prefer more young and spry candidates, which my family would have been no different if Mr. Jingles didn’t make the cut.  Within those 10 years, he showed no signs of health issues until the last few years of his life.  There were skin allergies making him lose patches of hair, but it took a veterinarian to finally clear them.  It’s worth noting that he was reaching the geriatric stage of his life, which meant he was abundantly old and high maintenance.  After all leaps and bounds, Mr. Jingles stayed the same grumpy, sassy cat my whole family loved.

My dogs deal with health issues even though they haven’t reached the age of 10 (noted most small dog breeds live from 15 to 20).  Minnie, my eight-year-old, suffers from anxiety, so she likes to hide for most of the day, yet she still makes her presence know when the front door opens.  Buster, however, is a cute little five-year-old dog that has encountered many allergies on his paws, requiring an injection of medication to help the condition disappear.  It’s still worth noting that he’s obviously still an adorable dog, in my opinion.  I mention these things because my family’s past animals, who were adopted from the wildest situations, were interestingly healthy.  The cat we have now, Bruno is a sly, charming, young cat that was found in a snowbank last winter.  He had an upper respiratory infection and it took a couple of weeks for us to get it taken care of.  Since then, Bruno has been healthy and happy in his much warmer environment.

Adopting an animal no matter where they came from brings joy into people’s lives. I believe that it’s better to adopt a shelter pet that has seen neglect and hardships. I’d rather have a cat with only one eye than a high-maintenance Persian cat because there’s only so much I can do outside of my existing schedule. I’d like to point out that I have no intentions of shaming people who adopt from breeders because I understand the concept of getting a baby animal to raise them to adapt to your household environment. But have empathy for animals who deserve another chance because I grew up around a cat that my family gave our cat a second chance too.  You couldn’t see a happier cat than Mr. Jingles. It was so hard seeing him pass. I miss his loud meowing complaints every time I leave our house.  With that being said, please consider giving a shelter animal a chance the next time you’re looking to adopt.

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