There is no denying that adopted pit bull, Russ, is eternally grateful and blissfully happy, thanks to his adoptive human mom, Kayla. A college student and volunteer at ACCT Philly, Kayla felt in her heart that it was time to adopt a dog. She fell in love with Russ, who had been homeless, and knew that he was “the one” for her. When she took him home, her roommate snapped a photograph of Russ joyfully snuggling up to his new mom. Though Russ can’t express himself in verbal English, his message of gratitude, love, and joy is crystal clear.
The Perfection of Dogs (and Cats!)
We have all heard the old adage, “Dogs are man’s best friend.” Those of us who have been fortunate enough to have lived with dogs realize why this sentiment exists. Our animal companions are truly the best friends we could ever ask for.
Dogs display every characteristic we wish all humans would possess. Loyal, non-judgmental, and unconditionally loving, our dogs never lie, gossip, or plot to hurt us. They are like playful, wise, unwinged angels who sit by our side when we feel lonely, demonstrate forgiveness when we mistreat them, and practice patience when we work all day. Though they are not always the center of our lives, we are often the center of theirs. Above all else, they long to please us, comfort us, and make us happy. Some might say that dogs are the perfect friend, perhaps the perfect creature.
If you are more of a cat person, however, preferring furry friends who are more independent and graceful, then your cat may be your ideal companion and best friend.
How We Treat Our “Best Friends”
Yet, we humans often fail to recognize perfection when we see it. Every year, more than 6.5 million cats and dogs sit in shelters, just waiting to be adopted by someone who will give them love and a second chance at happiness. A shocking number of these companion animals are surrendered by families that they loved – humans who abused, neglected, or simply abandoned them. And tragically, every single dayin the United States alone, more than 1,800 shelter dogs and 2,300 cats are euthanized simply because no one adopted them. Ironically, this is how we treat our “best friends.” (2)
Human Heroes To The Rescue
The upside to this tragic reality, however, is that while we humans are often the cause of these animals’ suffering, we can choose to be heroes instead. Many people, like Russ’s human mom, do give our four-legged friends the love they so deserve.
Here are some ways that you can be a hero:
- When you decide it’s time for a pet, opt to adopt from a shelter rather than buy from a breeder. If you feel strongly about having a pure breed, research the breed you love “+ adoption.” I adopted two purebred Golden Retrievers that likely cost the original owners thousands of dollars. They came house-broken, fully trained, and were absolutely perfect!
- Be sure to have your animals spayed or neutered. If you cannot afford to, then call your local humane society and vet to find out about low-cost spaying and neutering.
- Volunteer at an animal shelter. They often need extra hands to clean cages, pet the animals, or walk the dogs.
- Donate money to a local animal shelter.
- If you are able, apply to be a foster parent to a cat or dog as they wait to be adopted.
Russ’s smiling, overjoyed face is a reminder that no matter what an animal’s breed, age, or place of origin, they have rich emotional lives and deserve our utmost respect and love.