As the holidays approach, I hope you’ll think about whether you have space in your heart and home for a shelter dog or cat. According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are approximately 2.7 million healthy dogs and cats in shelters around the country. Only 30% of cats and dogs that are in people’s homes come from shelters. People are missing a great opportunity in shelter animals. I find this to be especially true of shelter animals, who somehow seem to know that you saved them. They never stop being grateful for it. And each one is unique; they’re little canine and feline originals.
In all honesty, pets are an expense and a responsibility. When you adopt a young dog, you can expect them to be part of your life for the next ten to fifteen years. That’s a real commitment. On the other hand, you’ll never get more unconditional love and gratitude from a single being.
We recently lost our beloved shelter dog, Mac, after 16 years. The joy, laughter and steady companionship he brought to our family cannot be overstated. Recently we adopted another dog, who had lived on the streets for three years. He has some hearing and vision impairment, BBs in his posterior, and two broken bones that healed themselves at odd angles. He’s also the most affectionate and completely happy creature I’ve ever known. To think that he suffered as he did, and survived to find himself finally in a safe place through the kindness of the caring people who brought him into the shelter, is to be uplifted in this season of light. I can only feel grateful to him for being a living embodiment of hope and love to our family every day.
I’ll hope you’ll think about adding a dog or cat to your family this year.