Rescue Animals: 4 Benefits of Adopting Dogs From Shelters
Have you ever considered adopting rescue animals? I hadn't until my brother died earlier this year, changing my entire perspective on helping animals in shelters. Let me explain.
How Rescue Animals Add Joy and Love Your Life
I won't lie. Being afraid of pets is an unreasonable fear I seem to have been born with. And rescue animals? Before my brother's death, these particular animals seemed even scarier than getting a pet from, say, a breeder. I imagined rescue animals coming from abusive situations and therefore, being abusive. Again, the rationale, as with my fear of animals, made no sense.
Mark, my youngest brother, was completely opposite of me. He adored animals and was so good and gentle with them. And I observed (from afar of course) the positive impact these pets had on his life and how much love they gave to him.
Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at age 16, Mark struggled just to get through each day. For 20 years he battled this terrible illness and at the end, his therapy dog, Rey, a pet he had adopted from an animal shelter, was his closest companion and the only one with him when he was in his car accident and later died.
As was reported to us after the accident, Rey jumped out of the car when the emergency crew opened the car door and immediately ran to Mark, who had been thrown from the car. He stayed by his side until the emergency crews raced to try and save my brother. At that point, Rey went to a nearby area where he stayed, watching the scene until the emergency and rescue crews left hours later. After that and in the wee hours of the morning, he made his way back Mark's home a couple of miles away. For months, he mourned Mark's death in ways similar to how our family has mourned. He truly was Mark's best friend!
About the same time of Mark's death, Pedigree reached out to me, wanting to partner to raise awareness about the fact that more than 4 million rescue animals enter shelters every year. I felt like helping them raise awareness would be a great way to honor my brother and his love of animals.
4 Benefits of Adopting Rescue Animals
Mark always adopted rescue animals. He felt that they needed understanding, love, and care just like he did. It was almost as if he could relate to them. And, he wanted to take care of them.
While the Humane Society shares lots of practical reasons for adopting rescue animals (click here to learn more), Mark and Rey taught me these four benefits:
- Rescuing animals gives you community service opportunities. Saving a pet's life is no small act of service. It is charitable to the pets, who are given a loving home. And, it is a way of giving to the community by maintaining the pet population.
- Rescue animals can provide a form of therapy. Dogs can be trained to help those with physical and mental diagnoses like autism, diabetes, epilepsy, and mental illness.
- Rescue animals love you no matter what. As in the example of my brother shared above, Rey really was Mark's best friend. He didn't judge him for his mental illness and was his constant companion as his therapy dog. Regardless of your situation, everyone benefits from unconditional love—the kind dogs provide.
- Rescue animals save you money! People tend to think that rescuing a pet will cost them more money. But, many shelters provide animals with their shots, spay and neuter them, charge low adoption fees, making it cost effective to rescue animals. Also, some shelters have pure-bred pets and older animals that have already been trained, saving you additional funds.
How You Can Help
PEDIGREE® is proud to launch its See what good food can do.™ campaign that showcases the impact we can all make in dogs’ lives, especially shelter dogs, with some extra attention, good food, and loving care.
Want to make a difference in the lives of rescue animals? Consider doing the following:
- Tell your tale of what your dog means to you, using the hashtag #DogTales on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. When you do, PEDIGREE® will donate a bowl of food to a shelter in need. For more information, please visit Pedigree.com or Facebook.com/Pedigree.
- Check out these five ways you can make a difference in many animals' lives by donating to animal shelters.
- Learn more about how therapy dogs, especially those who come from animal shelters, can aid in the lives of those with physical and mental illnesses.
Disclosure: I partnered with Pedigree and received financial compensation to write this post in an effort to help raise awareness for rescue animals. All details, aside from brand-specific information, are facts and feelings about my brother's life and my personal history and current thoughts on rescue animals.
Do you have a story relating to rescue animals?