Social consciousness contributes to increase in pet adoptions, throughout the country



Hoarders, puppy mills, natural disasters, animal fighting operations, abusive homes, abandonment, and neglect.

All of these situations pose life-threatening consequences for the animals involved.

That is where animal rescue organizations and shelters step in.

According to the Humane Society, 62 percent of American households include at least one pet. Thirty percent of these pets come from rescue organizations or shelters.

“Lucy was found in the woods of South Carolina,” counselor Erin Taubman said.  “We rescued her from an adoption agency called Lucky Dog.”

Rescue organizations work to save animals lives by taking them out of their current situation and placing them in loving homes, such as Taubman’s.

“I don’t have any human children, and she is like a daughter to me,” Taubman said. “I take care of her, I play with her, I feed her, and take care of her when she is sick. She’s my world.”

Taubman is one of many Seahawks to adopt a pet with a difficult past.

“We got Ima from a shelter,” sophomore Noah DiLisio said. “She was an abused dog from a puppy mill that shut down.”

Rescued animals often have suffered physically and emotionally, leaving them traumatized. Rescues also may exhibit erratic or strange behavior as a result of their abuse.

“She’s doing a lot better now than she was,”

DiLisio said. “She’s still afraid of people though.”

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, animals with traumatic pasts often become withdrawn, depressed, or aggressive.

Because of this, agencies such as the Humane Society take measures to ensure that the animal is suitable to the adoptee’s lifestyle and needs, striving to place the animal with the best match possible.

Other shelters, such as the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, have adoption counselors to aid with the process.

PETA encourages these facilities to give careful consideration to each animal’s special emotional and physical needs.

These needs are very individualized, as animals are subjected to all types of abuse.

This abuse can be deliberate, such as dog fighting, or accidental, such as constant confinement or deprivation of care.

Often, the two types of abuse intertwine, such as the case in dog racing.

Counselor Jeremy Moffitt adopted two dogs, one who he rescued eight years ago from a local rescue called A Forever Home. The other, a Greyhound, he rescued from a racing career- an occupation that leaves Greyhounds susceptible to serious injuries and confined in a kennel for 20 hours a day, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“She was through the Virginia Greyhound Rescue,” Moffitt said. “She is four years old, but she was on the track until she was about three. They are referred to as my ‘dog-ters.’ I don’t have any kids, so I have my dogs. They are both girls. I love them. They are my pride and joy.”

As referenced by Moffitt, there are specialty rescue organizations that specify in rescuing certain breeds. These organizations can be helpful to adoptees looking for a certain type of animal, and often prevent animals from going to shelters where they may be euthanized.

“My family got my dog Rocky, who is a German Shepherd in 2009,” junior Chris Wolf said. “He is from the Virginia German Shepherd Rescue. It was nice to know we were saving a dog from going to the pound when his previous family could not afford to keep him anymore.”

Unfortunately, unlike specialty adoption agencies, euthanizing animals is often the only choice for over-crowded shelters.

According to the Humane Society, 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year nationwide because of the lack of pet adoption within shelters. However, according to the society, this number could be reduced dramatically if people began adopting animals instead of buying them- simply because by adopting an animal a person is not only saving that animal’s life, but also the life of another homeless animal somewhere who can now be rescued due to the freed up space.

“I got my dog from the Fairfax County Animal Shelter,” senior Spencer Smith said. “He was abused and had really bad social anxiety, so no one at the shelter wanted him. They were about to put him down until my family came along and saw him. We immediately adopted him.”

Advocating for animal adoption, the Humane Society’s website lists five reasons to adopt.

The first?

You will save a life.