Should I adopt a pet from an animal shelter or should I get a new-born from a breeder? For some, it is not an easy decision to make. If you decide to get a little pup from a breeder, you will be able to raise it, shaping your pup’s growth and development. If you decide to adopt a pet from an animal shelter, you will be able to save his or her life by extending the warmth of your home to an animal that was once neglected by a human being.
There is more, however. Adopted animals touch our souls because there is something about them that allows us to relate in life and experiences. You will be inspired and touched on many occasions along the way.
Why Adopt a Pet from an Animal Shelter?
Recently, a lovely family from from Williamsburg, VA, approached me for a dog portrait of their most beloved dog, Jackie. I spoke at length with the family before committing to the project. I wanted to understand Jackie’s story.
I learned that a local animal shelter saved her from an abusive owner. Malnourished and with significant wounds on her body, she was taken care of by the shelter. Ever since Jackie first appeared at the shelter, my patron from Virginia has funded her treatment and rehabilitation. He and his family are now giving Jackie a happy and loving home filled with many happy days.
Upon hearing the story, I was beyond encouraged about the project to paint Jackie’s portrait. My goal was to not just immortalize her but show her cheerful, strong and inspiring personality.
Animal Shelters: 3 Touching Stories
Hearing Jackie’s story motivated me to seek more information. I wanted to learn more about animal shelters and shelter animals. I wanted to speak with people working and volunteering for those shelters. I wanted to learn whether and how animal shelters support abandoned and neglected animals. I also wanted to learn what resources are needed at animal shelters to continue their incredible mission.
What follows are three inspiring stories of persistence, gratitude and friendship. These stories come from truly amazing animal shelters staffed by dedicated employees and volunteers, who go above and beyond in taking care of each and every animal:
- Emerald City Pet Rescue from Seattle, WA,
- Northeast Animal Shelter from Salem, MA, and
- Animal Rescue League Boston from Boston, MA.
I have learned an immense amount about their work and their needs. Even if you do not own a dog, I do highly encourage you to look into supporting an animal shelter. More about what you can do – not just financially – in the post 6 Ways to Help Shelter Animals.
- Sweetie Pie
Sweetie Pie was found as a “stray,” and was taken care of by Emerald City Pet Rescue based in Seattle, WA. She had bite marks, scars and wounds all over her head and face. She still carried milk for puppies. Her puppies, unfortunately, were never found.
Upon arrival at Emerald City Pet Rescue, Sweetie underwent costly ACL surgeries. She was also treated for mammary tumors and spindle cell tumors. Given her physical condition, Sweetie must have suffered severe abuse.
Every morning, she would get up from her bed and look up at her caretaker with a little grunt before glancing down at her bone. Her request was more than obvious: “throw it for me, please!” She was extremely playful and optimistic. She loved to have her ears scratched. She would close her eyes and relaxed to human touch. She was so kind, wise and innocent, like a puppy who had never experienced any pain in life.
She was so playful, active and passionate. After multiple surgeries, she had a mandatory bed rest. It must have been a struggle for her to deal with post-surgical physical challenges. However, her attitude and behavior never revealed it.
Her enthusiasm and love for people was immeasurable. At one of the Emerald City Pet Rescue events, children were playing with Sweetie. They were throwing her bone, scratching her tummy and climbing all over her. She was not just a dog gently touching human children, she was a conscious and aware living soul.
Sweetie met her adopted dad in early 2016. He immediately got on the ground to meet her at her level and it was instant love for the both of them. She found a forever home and family to love her for the rest of her days.
The first time Sweetie Pie gave me a big sloppy kiss I was so honored! I’ll miss her sweet face, her soulful eyes, and her nudge with her nose to get me to toss her toy. Good luck, Sweetie Pie. You deserve only the best!” -Mimi, a volunteer.
When first found in Alabama, Zang was just a 6-month old puppy. Her caretakers at Northeast Animal Shelter were quick to notice her fearful behavior.
Puppies her age are full of energy, excitedly meeting new people. Zang was different. She was timid and nervous. She did not want to take walks, and she was afraid of people – a condition that occurs when puppies do not receive human love during the most impressionable first 3 months of their lives.
Her caretakers at Northeast Animal Shelter discovered that Zang’s right hind leg was shorter than her left one. Medical examination revealed that her leg and hip were once fractured and did not heal properly. Zang might have been badly treated, which could explain her fear of people and broken leg.
She needed to urgently undergo a surgery. However, she was too scared of people to have a surgery. A wonderful foster family volunteered to socialize and encourage Zang prior to surgery. For Zang, people had to re-gain trust. This was crucial for her full recovery.
Her foster family provided love and care for Zang. She gained a lot of confidence, and was ready for a surgery. After 6 weeks of healing, Zang had to go to rehab, which included regular exercises and hydrotherapy.
Zang was adopted from an animal shelter to her forever home by her foster family. After all the tender loving care prior to surgery and during recuperation, her family fell deeply in love with her, and she fell in love with them. She gives them kisses every day to show her gratitude and love.
Zim, an 11-month-old tabby classic, was trapped for more than two days nearly 50 feet off the ground in a tree in Brockton, MA. Animal Rescue League Boston‘s Rescue Services saved the scared and vocal stray.
Zim’s beautiful fur along with him charming behavior attracted much attention. Upon intake to ARL Boston, he was diagnosed with congenital defect called eyelid agenesis. With this condition, Zim’s eyelid was not formed properly, causing his fur to rub up against the cornea. Not only was Zim constantly irritated by this, but a prolonged period of this defect could lead to a permanent vision impairment.
The kitten had to undergo a skin graft surgery, which required an intensive post-operative care. Despite the inconveniences, Zim continued to showcase his friendly, loving and inspiring personality. He purred for all the shelter staff and volunteers.
After a few days of his stay at the ARL Boston, Zim found his forever home.
Have you adopted a pet from an animal shelter? What was the story of your pet? Would you recommend adopting or getting a new one from a breeder?
Images and stories courtesy of the following organizations:
- Emerald City Pet Rescue
- Northeast Animal Shelter
- ARL Boston