Adopt, Don’t Shop (by Emily Wickwire, 11946)

Research Question:

emilypicHow can we as a community help decrease the high rates of animals being euthanized primarily to make room for newer/more adaptable animals?

What if I told you, that you could save two lives with one adoption? When you adopt from an animal shelter you are giving that animal a chance at a new beginning, which also opens a door for another animal to be recused and brought to the shelter. So as more animals get adopted that frees up more space for new animals to be housed and care for in a safe environment. Sounds great right? Well if only all shelters had this ideal plan of action, however, the majority of shelters euthanize animals that have been there too long or that seem “unadoptable” to order to free up space for newer and younger animals. How is that fair, to put down a loving companion just because the odds of them getting adopted are slim? It’s not at all.

From my experience with volunteering with an animal shelter it has provided me with a lot of insight regarding many problems a shelter has to go against. One of the biggest concerns that arise every month is the availability of space with incoming animals. Typically shelters can only hold so many animals comfortably and also safety plays a huge factor as well. If a shelter takes on more animals than their space can hold that leads to over crowding in cages, which highly results in fights among the animals. There is a complete misconception regarding sheltered animals, for instance, did you know that it is healthier to adopt an animal from a shelter? Many shelters typically provide examinations along with vaccines immediately when the animal is brought in. Another misconception is, why not purchase a new animal at the pet store? Well I have provided research among my links that contains the information regarding pet stores and puppy mills. Never heard of a puppy mill? Here is a short explanation I was unaware myself until I did some horrifying research. Puppy mills or “Factory Style Breeding Facilities” are located in very poor conditioned warehouses where the dogs are kept in cages to breed over and over for years. Once the dogs become “unprofitable” to the factory the dogs are simply discarded (killed, abandoned, or sold at an auction). The ugly truth is that many pet stores purchase puppies from these factories so the profit is at a constant flow. Horrifying right? The only way to bring these horrible and disgusting places down is to not purchase these animals from such organizations.

Although these are shocking truths, the main adjective I am trying to portray is that too many animals are dying, however, on the brighter side, we as a community have the power to change it.

How to Get Involved

“The shelter’s can’t do it without the community” –Britta Bavaresco (the co-founder in the Portland Animal Alliance.)

Therefore, it is our responsibility as a community to come together and take severe actions to help put an end to the killings of these animals. The first most obvious step is, if you are looking for an animal, do your research, and explore different shelters among your area for adoption. Second, even if your household is at full capacity, that doesn’t limit you for helping your local shelter. Many shelters rely simply on volunteers to help provide a lovable, enjoyable, and a safe place for these animals. Not only does volunteering provide self-satisfaction but also you are giving these animals the love and affection they aspire to have. Unfortunately, most of the time many animals end up at shelters because of neglect or abuse. Remember these animals don’t have a choice or voice, that’s where we come in and stand up for the ones who cannot stand up for themselves.

 The Research

Sherman, Ben. “Shelters Hit Milestone, Cutting Euthanasia to Record Levels in Portland Area.” The Oregonian/OregonLive. N.p., 25 Feb. 2014. Web.

This article is just too uplifting not to write about. Last year the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland set a goal, which was to end euthanasia for all treatable animals that were in shelters. Well they succeed; with a record of 91 percent of the animals that had entered the shelters that year left the facilities alive. The six shelters that are part of this alliance are; Oregon Humane Society, Multnomah County Animal Services, Clackamas County Dog Services, Bonnie L. Hayes, Human Society of Southwest Washington, and the Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood. Because of how these shelters worked together and coordinated transportation among the animals to different shelters this helped relieve the issue of over crowding, and the alliance also worked with animal rescue groups and veterinarians. Another amazing effort to save the lives of these animals had something to do with the Maddie’s Fund, a California non-profit who gave a 1 million dollar grant in hopes to save all treatable animals which helped the Clackamas County Dog Services and Bonnie L. Hays shelters hire animal behaviorists.

“Top Five Reasons To Adopt.” Humane Society. N.p., 11 July 2014. Web.

This is such a heart-warming article that just points out and highlights the advantages of adoption over purchasing an animal from a pet store. The article really goes into the fact that by a simple adaption can lead to a drastic decrease in animals being euthanized. Also the article discusses the benefits of having a companion. For example, having an animal gives a sense of fulfillment and a purpose, not only is that animal going to love you unconditionally but just having spent a couple hours with that animal can help lower a person’s blood pressure along with cholesterol. The last thing this article goes into detail with is the ugly truth about puppy mills, and the disadvantage of purchasing one of those puppies could potentially put a huge dent in your wallet with medical bills because of how they are “manufactured” and “care for”.

Palmer, Brian. “Science.” Are No Kill Shelters Good for Cats and Dogs? N.p., 19 May 2014. Web.

Palmer goes into detail about the history of animal shelters and how they have shockingly evolved since the 1874’s. He mentions some of the tactics used by animal shelters at that time were despicable; the employees at the shelter would capture pets and hold them ransom from their owners or sell them to the highest bidders. Especially animals of great value such as, cows and pigs, unlike dogs who were increasing in population and resulted in mass killings of these over crowded stray animals. These thieves would capture, drown, and repeat such violent acts, which was frankly so horrible it was decided use the gas champers in the 19th century as an alternative to the above. The shocking truth is that some form of euthanasia’s has been around since the beginning of this century. Palmer also notes that many organizations including PETA argue that “no kill” shelters are actually a negative thing since they are more likely to become over crowded along with having a no cost fee allows anyone to adopt an animal, whether they are financially capable or not. Regardless of what side of the animal rights you are on, both groups strongly agree that shelters should have a partnership with rescue groups to help coordinate where an animal can go and for a shelter to provide a safe and loving environment with volunteers who look for good homes, not just any home.



  1. Savannah Brown

    The issues you’re taking about, I also believe, are incredibly important and need to be publicized! I definitely feel the connection you have to your topic. Coming from Los Angeles (Official Home of the Toy Dog Purse Accessory), I have witnessed staggering numbers of people purchase “Designer Breed” puppies from pet stores in places like mainstream malls that carelessly purchase from puppy mills. Both the existence of puppy mills and the circumstances of shelters that euthanize are appalling and not enough people are aware of them. I commend you for bringing this ugly truth to light, and for making an enthusiastic effort to highlight ways to help.

    I think the way that you reorganized the format of your post was interesting. Having the how to get involved section come second, as opposed to last, was sort of fitting because of the heavy and sad nature of the introduction. I think that rearrangement helped to brighten the tone of your post. The way you paraphrased your sources was also very inspiring, and continued to lighten the mood of your writing. I think an extra revision for grammar would have been beneficial, however there is a consistent flow in the writing until the end of the annotated bibliography. Without the how to get involved section to end the post, a few closing sentences would’ve made a more definitive ending. This was a very touching post!

  2. Sandy Arrell

    This issue has been an ongoing problem for quite some time. Anytime this topic is brought up it brings attention to the importance of rescuing instead of buying in a traditional manner. I love that you point out that rescuing saves two lives. Not only is there an overpopulation of dogs and cats, there is an enormous amount of pets that are surpassed due to age. It would have been great if you could have included the importance of spaying/neutering. This alone would reduce our numbers drastically. You did point out that rescues are healthier and though I don’t fully agree I do agree with you that once rescued they are examined and usually fixed as well which is great for the animal.

    If you had more space I would have also liked to have read more about the puppy mils. These are absolutely horrific facilities that leave animals in their own filth and basically breed them until they have nothing left to give. You pointed out that rescuing from facilities that may buy from these mills may leave an owner with many medical bills and I can relate. One of my many rescues came from a shelter that obtained their dogs from a mill. She had numerous health issues and at no fault of her own was unsuccessful with potty training. I’m convinced it was from the awful treatment of these mills and rest easy in knowing this particular mill was shut down and a handful of animals were given a second chance.

    I love your topic and commend you for bringing it to the attention of more people. I think rescuing has increased a ton and every article written brings more attention to the matter. I bought my first dog from a pet store but once learning more I started rescuing. There’s a special appreciation for life with these animals, almost like they know they have given a second chance and want to thank you daily. You made solid points with good research and your flow was smooth. Your suggestions for getting involved are great. When people read your blog they will be touched but they will also know that they can make a difference as well. Every time we rescue we give a chance for new life. One last thing as well. I love that you bring light to the article that discusses partnership between organizations. Not everybody should house an animal. But not every shelter or foster home is a good one as well. I would have liked to have read a bit more on some of these topics . I think you did a great job Emily and thank you from a fellow pet owner. 🙂

  3. Sarah Rudarmel

    I really enjoyed your paper. I feel that you did a perfect job getting your point across with using emotional writing along with fact based writing. The only things I really saw wrong with this paper was a few grammar and punctuation errors, but I don’t think there was even enough to take away from this paper’s impact. I also really like your third source because you gave a cool insight into the history of animal shelters. All and all I think you put a lot of thought and time into the culminating blog post and it really showed.

    Your paper got me really thinking about the first time I heard of a puppy mill. My family and I have always been Humane Society people whenever we got a pet, and I had never really heard of a “mill” until I was about 16. I have always been an animal lover, dogs are ok but I mostly prefer cats, and I was horrified when I saw a picture of a puppy mill. It was heart wrenching and in a way it kind of made me question humanity. I think you choose a great topic that a lot of your readers can really get behind. You also had such a good focus that it was very easy to be swayed toward the direction of the article. Good Job!

  4. Erica Belwood

    I absolutely loved your post! It was great that you had a crushing introduction that really touches the readers heart and then you quickly switched it to a more uplifting article about the alliance of several shelters to save animals. It seems that most people want a puppy to train but in my experience the best animals come from shelters. It is refreshing to read this and that their are so many good people advocating for animals.

    We adopted our dog from the Bonnie Hayes animal shelter and he is the best dog I have ever had. People are quick to judge on adoption but I am a huge supporter of it. When people ask me about my dog I make sure to tell them he was adopted in hopes they will be encouraged to check their first.

    I like that your article also tells people how to be involved that isn’t just volunteer work. Some people don’t have the time to give up but if they are looking for an animal and go to a shelter, they are making a huge contribution to the shelter as well as another dog that gets the opportunity to find its forever home. GREAT JOB!!

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