Adopt! Don’t Shop

I can’t wait to get home so I can settle down and get myself a playful companion (a cat or dog). When I do though I will get my new furry friend from the local shelter and not the pet store.

Last summer my Mom and I drove out to visit my aunt. We had a great time adventuring to see glaciers in the Rocky Mountains.

Some days though we stayed close to my Aunt’s home because she had to work. She’s the volunteer coordinator at her local humane shelter. We would go in with her and help walk dogs, play with puppies, and pet the kittens.

The animals at the shelter are lucky in that they have a great bunch of people that care for them and try to make life as good as they can for them. It’s not a nice life though. Sweet dogs, cats, and other animals are dropped off for many reasons, some valid many not. They spend most of their days inside, sometimes being rotated to the larger outdoor kennels. They wait for volunteers to come and walk them and give them attention.

These animals are usually sweet but a little scared. All they want is that forever home that will give them the love and attention the deserve.

If you can’t adopt an animal and take it home for forever (because that animal deserves forever) there are other ways to help. Volunteer to walk dogs, clean cages, pet cats. You can be a foster parent for an animal.

A foster parent takes in an animal to help socialize it people or other animals. They often get financial support in the form of free vet services. This can really help an animal get ready to find a good home.

This is Aurora. While I lived in Japan I fostered her. She was a very shy cat at first. She had lived with an older lady all her life and then her human had to go into a care facility and couldn’t take her. It took her a long time to warm up to me.

At first she would hide where I couldn’t find her (like under the bath tub) so I bought her a cat tree and put a blanket over it so she could hide somewhere comfortable. She began exploring at night but would always run back to her hiding spot if I woke up and moved.

After a couple months I woke up one morning and she was sleeping on the bed with me. She allowed me to pet her but would still run at any sudden movements. Eventually she would visit me around the house and spend most of her time outside her safe hiding place.

She hated being pick up and held. She hated guests and would hide in the bathroom when they came over. When I left she was going to another foster home, this one with another older cat to provide her a friend and hopefully socialize her more.


Kayu is a French Bulldog that my friend in Japan rescued. We spent a few weeks going to different adoption events around Tokyo and spending time with the animals. One day the event had so many animals because they had seized over 40 dogs from a puppy mill. The dogs had sores and cuts and were under weight. They had to spend a bit of time at the shelter to see the vet and be assessed but eventually Kayu was able to go to a loving forever home.

She was one of the lucky dogs that are saved from a horrible place but not all dogs are. When you buy from pet shops you are probably supporting puppy mills. When you buy from a breeder be sure to go to their facility and check it out. Remember it’s easy to fake it online. When you adopt you save a life.