Pet Adoption: the Hard Facts

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
My experience working at PetSmart Charities has motivated me to pledge to adopt my next pet. The stories I’ve heard, and the experiences I’ve had, have really had an impact on my perceptions.

A kitten adopted at a Phoenix eventMy experience working at PetSmart Charities has motivated me to pledge to adopt my next pet. The stories I’ve heard, and the experiences I’ve had, have really had an impact on my perceptions.

But the hard facts played a role, too.

8 million pets will end up in shelters this year in North America. Four million of them—or about 11,000 adoptable pets every day—will be euthanized.

It’s a huge problem to solve, and getting more pets adopted is one of the best ways to do it.

Our research shows that the top reasons people don’t adopt pets from shelters are:

  • The desire for a specific breed or type of pet
  • Uncertainty about shelters and the pet adoption process

Adoption misconceptions
In reality, local animal shelters and rescue groups offer a variety of healthy, lovable and, often, purebred pets who need a home because they are lost or their owners can no longer care for them. In the U.S., an average of 20% of all adoptable pets are purebred. There are many rescue groups that specialize in finding homes for specific breeds or types of pets.

In addition, responsible organizations, like our partners, screen pets for health and behavior concerns. They're honest about the pet’s needs, history and health issues, if any. Plus, they often provide training to get pets ready to be part of the family. Many organizations offer a number of important services such as health screenings, vaccinations, micro-chipping and spay and neuter.  These services are made possible through adoption fees and donations.

Plus, when you adopt a pet, you make room for more pets at animal welfare organizations. You’re giving other homeless pets a better chance of finding a home.

The bottom line is: when you adopt, you save a life. But you also enrich your own. I’ve heard so many wonderful stories from adopted pet parents via our website, social media channels and adoption events. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Diane Kaiser adopted a Chihuahua named Lara at our recent adoption event in Phoenix. The following day Lara saved Diane’s life! Diane was having an allergic reaction, and Lara woke her up. Diane was able to call 911 and get the treatment she needed. Lara was so happy to see her when she returned to the hospital.
  • Ace,  was originally branded as too feral to be adopted. A volunteer with the local Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program took him in as a foster, and he became a natural part of their family. Now, he loves to play fetch and make his owners laugh.
  • Emma Rose was walking on three legs when she arrived at the Humane Society of Sullivan in Indiana because one of her back legs was missing its paw. Like most dogs with missing paws or limbs, she made do with her circumstances, running around and looking for affection from every person she met. To ensure a happy and pain-free life, veterinary staff decided to amputate the rest of her leg. After her recovery, Emma Rose was available for adoption. Within a few hours, she found someone to love—a local veterinary technologist and certified canine and equine physical therapist.

What story do you tell about your adopted pet? Does he have a funny habit that you fell in love with? Did she help you through a hard time in your life? Tell us about your pet and how they enrich your life. Your successful, positive stories of pet adoption can inspire others to consider adopting homeless pets.

Plus, we may pick you as our featured adoption story of the week.


Christina Gibbs

After the loss of my dog Chaz, who came from a PetSmart Charity and we had him for 12 amazing years, I adopted Colby. He was a german shepherd mix at the NHSPCA. I never thought I could get over the loss of Chaz and feared that it would prevent me from loving Colby as much as I could. Colby had such a personality and it showed quickly after we had adopted him. He had the biggest fetish with cats. Even a ceramic cat would get Colby all worked up. Colby loved the snow almost as much as he loved water. I couldn't keep him out of the baby pool we bought for him and constantly had to wipe his paws before coming back inside. I taught him to spin in circles as a trick but he decided he loved doing them so much that he spun around everytime he got excited. Colby and I became best friends and I took him everywhere with me. We had Colby for only one year before we lost him to a very aggressive cancer. He was only 3 years old so this came as a huge shock to us. It tore my world apart when he passed. I never thought I would be able to love another dog the way I did before but Colby made it easy. Colby was so unique and helped me overcome the loss of Chaz. He gave me the greatest year of my life. And although I wish I had more time with Colby, I would adopt him all over again even if I knew I'd only get one year with him.

I can't thank shelters and charities enough for what they do. They have given me many best friends throughout the years. I live by the moto, "The best gift in life is a second chance." Shelters and the people adopting give second chances to so many animals. But really, it's the animals giving us a second chance.


I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, Christina. Thank you for adopting Chaz and giving him a wonderful life.


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