A Young One is curious about the camera in March for the Friends of Mesquite Animal Control Adoption Event. (Photo: Jason Andrus)
It is April 30th and National “Adopt a Shelter Animal” Day. Americans left and right are posting their pictures with their loved pets who were adopted from Animal Shelters. Multiple celebrities and well-known animal lovers are doing the same.
According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®)that approximately 4.1 million shelter animals are adopted every year. It is almost split equally in half by pet species, approximately 2 million dogs and 2.1 million cats. Still, 6.3 million animals enter shelters every year with only about 810,000 returned to their owners.
Approximately 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized every year. It has declined since 2011 when 2.6 million animals were euthanized. The adoption rates have increased plus the success of returning strays to owners has also been more successful, thus resulting in the decline. Technology has played a part in this from microchipping to other pet location devices.
The Greater Good Charities reports that shelter pets make excellent pets because of 5 reasons total, but three of them are being emphasized as follows:
- Adoption is more affordable – Adoption fees from shelters are usually around $50-$60 and at times can be even free with “dropped fee days” and overcrowding problems of the shelter.
- Training can be easier – Most shelter animals are used to living with people and are partially trained. Shelter staff also get to know the animals brought in and work with them on training and help prepare them for adoption.
- You Get a Support System – The shelter has trained staff with knowledge of how to handle and train pets. They also provide classes and workshops to help you become educated about being a pet owner.
The National Institutes of Health under the US Department of Health and Human Services points out the mental health benefits of pets, especially shelter pets.
“Pets may also decrease stress, improve heart health, and even help children with their emotional and social skills,” stated an NIH article on The Power of Pets.
The NIH performed a study along with the Mars Corporation’s WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition. The study took 10 years and included studies of mental health on both people and pets. They even studied a wide range of animal pets including (but not limited to) dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, reptiles, fish, and more.
Studies on Human and Animal Interaction have a newer study and results have been mixed, but the NIH and Mars Corp. study saw the following results:
- Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure.
- Animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.
- Shelter animals crave love and care. Many have lacked it in the past from bad situations.
In reality, the benefits of pets have been proven study after study, all massively positive!
The Mesquite Animal Control is pushing this national day as an opportunity to get current shelter pets adopted. Check out their current shelter pets ready to be adopted.
All images are courtesy of Mesquite Animal Control and Petfinder. For more information about each animal, click on the photo to be taken to the Mesquite Animal Control Website.
ASPCA. (2022, April). Pet Statistics: Facts about US Animal Shelters. ASPCA. https://www.aspca.org.
Greater Good Charities. (2022, April). Five Reasons to Adopt Not Shop. Greater Good Charities. https://greatergood.org
NIH. (2018, February). News in Health: The Power of Pets. NIH. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/02/power-pets