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By Stephanie Brown

Looking for a Furry Companion? Adopt a Pet Instead of Buying One

You may have wanted to have a pet for quite some time but have put it off for whatever reason. Now, you’re ready to open your heart and home to a four-legged bundle of joy. There are so many places where you can find an animal companion, but you don’t know where to start.

Millions of animals are looking for a forever home, and perhaps yours will be the one for some lucky dog or cat. For the animal, the choice can literally be a matter of life or death.

Shelters in the United States are brimming with animals in desperate need of a loving home. Through no fault of their own, these animals have been abused, abandoned, or left behind by their deceased owner.

It’s hard to believe that anyone would deliberately hurt an innocent animal for his or her own pleasure, but there are. These are obviously people with untreated mental conditions that should be nowhere near a helpless animal, much less any other part of our society.

It is truly heartbreaking to hear about some of the horrible acts of cruelty that these animals have had to endure. All of these four-legged creatures deserve a second chance at a good life.

Instead of spending hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars for a purebred pet, stop by your local shelter and adopt a dog or cat that will quickly become your new best friend. Unfortunately, since these shelters are always overcrowded, a large number of the animals are euthanized yearly.

There are no-kill shelters, but they fill up very quickly. Thankfully, there are animal rescue organizations that have foster homes for displaced pets until someone offers them a forever home; which is where you come in.

There are many reputable animal shelters to choose from. One such entity is The Humane Society of The United States. They are the country’s largest animal protection organization and have a wealth of information about the care and protection of our furry and feathered friends. They also have locations that have dogs, cats, and other animals ready for adoption.

If there isn’t a local Humane Society chapter, you can look in the Yellow Pages under “animal shelter,” search the internet or visit The Shelter Pet Project and enter your desired search information.

Whichever shelter you decide to visit, a member of the staff will take you on a tour of the shelter so that you can look at all the adorable faces and see which one tugs at your heartstrings the most.

Like any adoption service, there are certain preliminary steps that must be taken before you can bring your new friend home. The hardest part of the process is deciding which dog or cat will become your newest family member.

There are cats and dogs from every age group; ranging from pre-adolescents to senior citizens. Once you have interacted with an animal and you have chosen the one that you want to go home with you, there is the matter of filling out paperwork, which usually includes a background check and paying an adoption fee.

Selecting an animal from a shelter enriches your life as well as the life of the pet, not to mention, keeping that pet from meeting an early demise. Once you look into the eyes of an eager cat or dog, how can you say ‘no’ to them?

Your new “bestie” will love you forever and provide you with some of the best memories you’ve ever had. There are no words to describe the joy that an animal companion can bring to your life. It’s a win-win situation.

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