Christmas and New Year’s Eve are over and resolutions are made, so that means Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Department stores are already putting up their pink and red decorations and filling the aisles with stuffed animals and chocolate. This year, instead of buying from a store, please consider adopting your four-legged love.
According to the ASPCA, approximately 7.6 million animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Each year, approximately 2.7 million of the animals in those shelters are euthanized. That’s like killing every person that currently lives in the United States because there isn’t enough room on the earth for them.
There are different shelters and rescues from which you can adopt your furry love. All shelters put resources into programs that will hopefully reduce the need for shelters. In the Greenville area, the largest shelter from which to adopt is Greenville County Animal Care. This shelter works for the county. It is an “open admission” shelter or “kill shelter”. It accepts all animals with no age limitations, behavioral requirements or health standards. It receives funding from the county and state.
The largest “limited admission” shelter or “no-kill” shelter is the Greenville Humane Society. They do not accept animals without appointments and have a very thorough screening process. They are only able to take in animals based on space availability, and these animals MUST be adopted out because they do not euthanize any pet. They do not receive any government funding and rely solely on donations to fund their facility.
There are numerous rescues in the Greenville area. Rescues are also “no-kill” and can only accept animals based on space availability. They also rely solely on donations. There are rescues that take in all animals, some that only take dogs, some that only take cats, and even some rescues that only take in certain breeds. So, for example, if you know you want a golden retriever, there are rescues in Greenville that only adopt out golden retrievers, so you could adopt instead of purchasing a pure-blood golden retriever from a breeder. Each rescue would need to be contacted separately to find out what animals they have available for adoption and what their adoption process is. It can vary from rescue to rescue.
Both Greenville County Animal Care and the Greenville Humane Society have a questionnaire you can fill out to find out what pet is best for you, and if it is a dog, what breed in particular would fit well with your lifestyle. As with any new pet, you must take the time and energy to let your new family member get used to the new surroundings, and establish firm boundaries and schedules. You cannot expect your new dog or cat to be completely comfortable within a day or two. Generally, the longer an animal is in a shelter, the longer it will take them to adapt to a new home. This is true whether it is a single-pet household or if you are introducing a new member to an already established pack. Training courses with your new pet and an experienced trainer can be beneficial during this transition period, as well.
Here’s to a great 2019 and a loving Valentine’s Day with both 2-legged and 4-legged creatures. Remember, this year, don’t shop; adopt.