Commentary: Adopt don’t shop

Ever since I can remember, I have wanted a dog. A best friend, a great companion and a partner in crime.

When I was 10 years old, I threw an awesome birthday party. The theme was dogs. We ate a big cake, sang songs and danced. But the most memorable part was making beds and toys with my friends for the animals in our local shelter.

The next day I went to the animal shelter arms full of about 20 beds and 30 toys for the animals there. When I walked in, my heart sank. Animals were crammed in beds. Some were barking like crazy, and others were shaking in the back corner of their cage.

After that day, I have wanted to help get as many animals out of the shelter as possible. But first I wanted to get a dog of my own.

After years of begging my parents, they finally gave in. My sister has a severe allergy to dog, hair so we couldn’t adopt from a shelter because, at the time, none were hypoallergenic.

Although I do love my dog, I regret not being able to open up my home to animals in need.

Every day, millions of animals are brought home to their new families. But lately, sheltered pets are being overlooked because purebreds are thought of as more desirable. What people don’t understand is the best addition to a family is sitting in a small cage, scared and alone.

What people don’t understand is the best addition to a family is sitting in a small cage, scared and alone.

— Gaby Mathis

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, more than 6.5 million animals enter shelters nationwide every year. Unfortunately, out of the 6.5 million that enter, some 1.5 million get euthanized yearly.

In animal shelters you can find the perfect pet.

Around the world, all kinds of animals are stuck in horrible situations. When I went to Costa Rica, there were dogs left and right begging for food. Some were so skinny you could count the ribs on their sides.

But it’s not just stray dogs. Puppy mills are breeding facilities where dogs of all shapes and sizes are left without food or water for days at a time. Not only that, but none of the residents in puppy mills get proper veterinary care.

I know it seems as if we can’t help every animal in need, but every adopted pet leads to a better future for everyone.

Though one dog being adopted won’t help every animal in need, every step counts.