Saving a Life This Christmas

Dozens of dogs are languishing in local pounds, waiting for their "forever home."


Every year at this time thousands of people flock to their local pet stores to find a cute puppy as a Christmas gift.

After all, what would make a loved one squeal for joy more on Christmas morning than a puppy or kitty under the tree?

While you’re spending probably hundreds of dollars on such a gift, across town in your community dog pound or shelter are countless lonely dogs, some of them probably last year’s Christmas gifts who were given up after they outgrew their cuteness, biding their time in a concrete kennel and just longing for a little play time and human interaction.

Why not adopt one of them as a Christmas gift instead?

Here, according to the Connecticut Humane Society’s Alicia Wright, are some of the benefits of adopting a dog from your local pound:

  • First and foremost “You’re saving the life of an innocent animal.” Actually, Wright points out, you’re saving two lives because when you adopt a pet from the pound, shelter or rescue group, you’re freeing up space in that facility for another abandoned dog to be taken in. “The statistics really say it all,” Wright adds. “In the U.S. alone 5 to 7 million animals become homeless every year and only half live to find a new home. Those that do face the prospect of euthanasia if the shelter becomes pressed for space. “When you adopt, you’re making a direct impact on reducing pet overpopulation.”
  •  There’s a significant financial benefit to adopting from a pound or shelter. Some pedigreed pooches bought from a store or breeder can cost in excess of $1,000 and then you have to pay for their vaccinations, neutering and other medical care. Connecticut pounds often charge about $50 for their animals but then hand out $50 neutering vouchers if the animal has not already been fixed.  Many shelters and rescue groups, including the Humane Society, also see to a dog’s medical care when they are taken in. The Connecticut Humane Society has various fees for adoption, depending on the animal’s age. For a list of them and to see the animals available for adoption, click here.
  • Adopted dogs usually aren’t as much work as a new puppy. Many have come from homes where they were trained before they were given up. Many shelters, Wright said, also now train animals in basic commands, such as sit, stay, come and heel. Pound puppies often are also already house broken.
  • Sometimes, you can get a purebred dog for a fraction of the cost. Some 25 percent of dogs given up to shelters or the pound are purebreds, Wright said. “So you can perhaps get that boxer or golden retriever without having to go to the breeder.” The dog won’t have official “papers,” she added, but those pedigrees are important only if you intend to breed the animal or show them.

“There’s lots of wonderful real benefits to adopting an animal through a shelter or a rescue group,” Wright said. But making that gift a surprise may not be the best way to go about it. Choosing a new family pet should be a decision the family makes together, she said.

And the Humane Society, she added, particularly discourages buying puppies at pet stores.

“Ninety-nine percent of dogs at pet stores come from puppy mills, which are essentially a breeding factory,” she said. Dogs used for breeding often are kept in cages, aren’t taken out to play or exercise and don’t get appropriate medical care, she said.

“It’s really a very inhumane situation.”

Some large pet supply stores, such as Pet Smart and Petco, she added, don’t sell puppies but act as liasions of sorts for rescue groups, keeping rescue animals at their stores for adoption and holding adoption events for local rescue groups.

Above is a partial listing, with photos, of dogs available for adoption from your local pound. To see a more comprehensive list of dogs available for adoption in your area, click here.

Stephanie December 16, 2011 at 04:35 PM
Thank you for sharing this!!... Adopt from a Shelter and save a life from being PTS instead...and keep the hundreds of dollars in your pocket .. Dont buy from these puppy Mills which breed under cruel conditions... If you DONT BUY them, they wont have as many litters to sell... help put them out of business which will help control the population as well. Please check out Middle Mutts on facebook, a non-profit rescue group which arranges rescue and transport from high-kill shelters all along the eastcoast to rescue groups to save these pets. Each are vetted out and spayed/neutered... Volunters are always needed to help with transports. Thank you!!
Eileen McNamara December 16, 2011 at 04:51 PM
Thanks for the advice and info Stephanie! Puppy mills are a horror and it's also sad to see the large number of pitbulls still showing up in shelters. Having adopted two myself I can tell you that they certainly are victims twice over, first by owners who train them to fight, then by the public that labels the entire breed as vicious.
Stephanie December 16, 2011 at 06:24 PM
Im actually in the process of trying to adopt a Pit mix from a N. Carolina high kill shelter... I helped in his transport with Middle Mutts, from the New York boarder thru the CT. leg of the transport. He is currently in VT being vetted out and Neutered, but once I know if he is good with cats, he may be headed back to CT!... My Boo needs a playmate... Paws crossed! He was the most loving little dog...couldnt be close enough to absorb enough love from me. Just wanted attention and to be next to someone... I pray he is good with the cats. Pitts are a very loving breed, as are all others.... Its the humans who train them to be mean, and then on top of that place the label of killer upon them. :(
Sonya Simpkins December 16, 2011 at 06:28 PM
Yay for shelter dogs! Thank you for posting this, rescue dogs are the best. I have two, myself, and they are the sunshine of my life. Here are two amazing stories about dogs who rescued their humans. http://www.ilovedogs.com/2011/12/reader-rescue-stories-savannah-and-wiley/
Eileen McNamara December 16, 2011 at 09:04 PM
Good luck with the adoption!


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