We know you’re faced with many options when considering the addition of a new four-legged family member. You can find countless adorable, puppy-eyed faces that will pull on your heartstrings in pet stores, at breeders, and even on Craigslist. However, the best options for a furry companion can be found right in your local animal shelter. There are many misconceptions about shelter dogs being difficult, badly behaved, or aggressive, but most dogs end up in shelters through no fault of their own. Dogs come to the shelter when their owners move or get divorced, or because their owners were lazy, neglectful, unprepared, or abusive. Though they may have experienced a tougher road in life, shelter dogs, like any other dogs, just want to be loved and cared for by a human companion. In celebration of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, here are the top reasons to adopt a shelter dog.

Saving Lives

The unfortunate reality is that there is an overpopulation of animals that results in overcrowding of shelters and unnecessary euthanization of millions of animals per year in the U.S. When you adopt a dog from a shelter, you’re saving that dog by giving it an improved quality of life in a forever home. Additionally, the adoption of a dog frees up space in the shelter for another dog to take its place and eventually find its own forever home.

Fighting Puppy Mills

Most of the dogs found at pet stores, seemingly reputable breeders, and, yes, even on Craigslist come from massive breeding facilities known as puppy mills. In these mills, dogs are kept in horrendous conditions. The puppies that come from these places experience extremely small cages, malnourishment from improper food and dirty water, and disease from unsanitary living conditions. Female dogs in puppy mills are bred over and over at an unhealthy rate, spend their entire lives in cages without human contact, and are abandoned, euthanized, or auctioned once they’re deemed “unprofitable.” By adopting a shelter dog, you take business and support away from these deplorable facilities and cruel methods.

Costs Less

 Dogs, especially purebreds, from pet stores or breeders can cost upwards of $1200. This price doesn’t even include the additional expenses of a new dog, such as spaying/neutering procedures, vaccinations, and microchipping. Spaying or neutering alone can cost anywhere between $50 and $175, and costs for vaccinations at a vet visit can add up quickly. Animal shelters charge a fraction of the price that breeders or pet stores do, and the dogs will almost always be spayed or neutered, up to date on all vaccines, and microchipped before adoption. Plus, all the money that shelters receive from adoption fees goes right back towards helping other animals in need, not used for profit. At CVHS, all dogs are spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated, and microchipped before they are available for adoption. The cost of these services is included in the adoption fee, which ranges from $125 to $450, depending on the age and size of the dog.

Healthier Pets

When you adopt a dog from a shelter, you can be sure that your animal is as healthy as possible and that the staff is being honest about the status of each animal’s health. The top priority at CVHS, and other animal shelters like it, is the proper care and well-being of all animals. Animals are kept up-to-date on vaccines, receive frequent check-ups, and are handled by staff and volunteers often, so health concerns are noticed and addressed swiftly. Shelters aren’t trying to make a profit by selling you an unhealthy animal for the higher price of a healthy one, rather they want to see each animal cared for properly, so any potential health concerns are shared with adopters. Many dogs that come from puppy mills experience detrimental health effects from the appalling conditions of mass-breeding facilities, and many new owners spend countless hours at the vet and large sums of money on unexpected, and often serious, health issues. With a shelter dog, these unanticipated health problems are much less likely.

Support a Valuable Community & Charitable Cause

Your adoption fee is not the only support you give to an animal shelter when you adopt a dog. While adoption fees allow organizations the funds for important projects such as the modernization of facilities, non-financial support can be equally as important. You support a charitable community of rescue animals and encourage others to break the cycle of overpopulation by adopting their own shelter dog. For years, people will ask you where you got your pet, allowing you to promote the shelter where you found your best friend!

Better Understanding of Your Dog

Although there are plenty of adoptable puppies at animal shelters, there are many adult dogs available for adoption, too. There are tons of benefits to adopting an adult dog, like less necessary training and a better understanding of their personalities. Many adult shelter dogs have lived in a home before, so they are often housebroken and already know some basic manners and commands. While this isn’t true for all adult dogs, especially in cases of neglect, abandonment, or abuse, it is true for many. Adult dogs have also had time to develop their personalities, so you’re more likely to know what the dog is going to be like. This makes it much easier to find a dog that matches your personality and lifestyle, rather than being surprised by the later development of a puppy’s personality.

Give a Homeless Dog a Forever Home

We’ve all seen the heartwarming photos of shelter dogs before and after adoption. When you adopt a dog, you completely change their lives. The love and gratitude in their faces is undeniable, and you can see their appreciation in every tail wag. They get a forever home, and you get a forever friend. What could be better than that?

To view adoptable animals at CVHS, visit our website or Petfinder page.