Great pets aren't so much born as they are made. They become great pets because they have owners who love them, take care of them and spend time with them. Almost any dog or cat can be a great pet, given the chance.
Several years ago the humane society in the city where I lived was celebrating a milestone anniversary with an alumni pet show. In order to be entered in the show, an animal must have been adopted from that shelter. The categories were things like “Waggiest Tail” for dogs, or “Longest Whiskers” for cats.
A reporter from the local television station exclaimed, “All these animals came from the shelter??” He could hardly believe what he saw. The pets were beautiful, with clear eyes and shiny, healthy coats. They were active and happy and, well, nothing like what the reporter was expecting from animals that were homeless and abandoned - until they were fortunate enough to be adopted.
It truly is amazing to see the transformation that takes place when a dog or cat is taken home, fed, groomed, cared for, and loved. It didn’t matter which animal took home a ribbon from that pet show. The truth is, every pet there was already a winner.
That truth has a flip side. Every shelter animal that must be euthanized could have been someone’s great pet – happy and healthy, if only it had an owner who would love and care for it. And that’s the tragedy of pet overpopulation. Dogs, cats, puppies and kittens who have the potential to become good pets and companions never get that chance, simply because there are too many of them and not enough homes.
The solution, the only solution, is to reduce the number of pets born. The surest way to guarantee that is to have your female pet spayed or your male pet neutered. If you’re concerned about whether you can afford it, talk to your veterinarian, local shelter or rescue group about reduced cost options in your area. And consider adopting your next pet from an animal shelter.
This is the start of puppy and kitten season, when more animals are surrendered to shelters than at any other time of the year. With lots of tender loving care, you too could have a new best friend who’s a real winner. You may not change the world by adopting one animal, but you sure will change the world for that animal, and maybe for yourself, when you’re speaking of pets.