Adopt Don’t Shop! 6 Benefits of Adopting a Pet

adopt dont shop pets
By Vangeswari, SAFM

Why do we always tell people to adopt and don’t shop? Why should get a pet from the shelter instead of the pet store? Here, we want to share with you some reasons why adopting a pet would benefit you and your family and the misconceptions of adopting.

1. You Are Saving a Life

For us, this is a good enough reason why you go to shelters and get a pet from there. By adopting from a shelter, you are providing an animal with the second chance they deserve. Many have been rescued from horrific circumstances such as cruelty, neglect and abandonment, or quite simply their owners were no longer able to look after them due to illness or a change in situation.

Shelter staff work tirelessly to nurse animals back to health, rehabilitate disturbed animals and do everything they possibly can to ensure they are prepared to go to a new home. Sadly, not all of them are as fortunate. Many shelters have to euthanise due to lack of space, meaning many healthy animals lose their lives every day just because no one wants them! Imagine yourself as an abandoned cat or dog who lived its last days in cages, only to be ‘put to sleep’ because no human wants you. It’s heartbreaking. 

You have the power to stop this from happening. By adopting an animal that has been abandoned through no fault of their own, you are blessing them with mercy and a second chance for them to live and be happy.

2. Eradicate Puppy Farms & Unethical Breeders

dog sits on street while another dog is in a cage
Pic courtesy of Pranidchakan,

A puppy farm or mill, is the illegal practice of breeding puppies for the purpose of making profits for the breeders, without any regard to the dogs’ health or well being. Dogs at puppy farms are often forced to breed several times until they’re physically and emotionally traumatised. They are often kept in terrible conditions without basic hygiene and necessities.

The same thing can happen to cats, rabbits, hamsters and other pets. Especially in Malaysia where our laws are very lax, it is very hard to tell if the animal advertised comes from an ethical or unethical breeder. Unethical breeders are not concerned with producing healthy animals, which results in the animals born with severe problems that emerge over time. They also usually don’t receive any veterinary care, and will often be killed once they can no longer reproduce. 

Adopting from a shelter can aid in stopping animals from being subjected to such horrific circumstances. Rather than funding this illegal and unethical trade, you will be rehoming a pet from a non-profit organisation that supports animal welfare.

3. Teaches Empathy & Awareness

small frightened cat in cage
Pic courtesy of Tong Nguyen van,

Every year, many adult dogs and cats are surrendered to animal shelters due to the owners not finding them ‘cute’ anymore. These irresponsible owners would received small puppies or kittens as Christmas or birthday gifts. For a while, they enjoy the pet being small and cute. But soon they realised that pets come with big responsibilities. The cute puppies soon grew up to be rowdy and misbehaving dogs with no discipline. This has thus contributed to the over-crowding of shelters that can be prevented if only the owners stick to their responsibilities.

But adopting from a shelter however, can teach us to be more empathetic and kind. Try is out yourself. Go to your nearest shelter and see if you can keep a straight face while looking at abandoned and unwanted animals. There are many lessons a visit to the shelter can teach you. And when you’re ready to adopt, your pet will continue to teach you about gratefulness, happiness and what it means to be part of a family. 

4. Get a Vaccinated & House-trained Pet

Workers and volunteers in animal shelters work hard to ensure a rescued animal is healthy and safe before it is considered adoptable. So don’t worry about getting a ‘sick’ animal from the shelter. Some animals might have scars or defects from their years of abuse or hardship in the streets, but they should have been treated with vaccines and medications prior to adoption. If you’re adopting directly from the previous owner, you can get the animal checked at the vet first. Don’t forget to spay and neuter while you’re at it!

Shelter animals are also house-trained to go to the loo. This saves you time from having to toilet-train a newborn kitten or puppy. You’ll also be surprised at the story behind each animal in the shelter. Many cats and dogs there came from difficult backgrounds, but once they are loved, their personality drastically changes, like this story for example.

5. Become an Older Animal's Best (Human) Friend

adopt older pet
Pic courtesy of Madeline Bowen,

Don’t get us wrong, there are many good things when you adopt a puppy or a kitten from the shelter. However, the sad thing is that many older cats and dogs are left unwanted in the shelter for months and even years. Until one day, they have to be euthanised. Consider adopting adults cats or dogs if you’re looking for a pet that’s more independent and quieter.

Older or adult pets are often calmer and quite happy just sitting by your side, compared to the hyper-active young ones. They still need plenty of playtime and attention, though! Adopt an adult cat or dog and see how loving and caring they are, while being playful and naughty at times too.

6. Help Solve Overpopulation of Street Animals

For every animal that is adopted and rehomed, another one is saved from the streets from hunger and disease.

Since animal shelters are always over-crowded to the point that some have to be put down, adopting them means that shelters can focus on controlling the population of street animals. When uncontrolled, stray animals causes a lot of problems for both the people and themselves. Too many strays died of hunger and diseases caused by pet-dumping and not spaying. These shelters can then work with organisations like SAFM to do TNR programs (Trap, Neuter, Release) and other methods of improving animal welfare in Malaysia.

So adopt a pet today at your local shelter. There are many benefits for you, the animal, the environment and society.

Thank you! Please Adopt Don't Shop 🐾