You know that advertisement with the photo of the person standing next to an animal? The caption reads, “people are the best thing to happen to animals.”
True, but I often think it’s the other way around, because a cat or dog offers so many benefits and many of them are health-related.
Many tend to think of animal adoption primarily around the holidays–but the truth is that adopting a dog or cat is a wonderful gift at any time; most of them are just waiting to become part of a warm, loving family. You can visit your local ASPCA, or animal shelter at any time.
That said, veterinarians, council members and shelter personnel from around the world come together on the third Saturday of August to raise awareness about the pet overpopulation epidemic.
This year, International Homeless Pet Day is Saturday, August 18. To commemorate, here’s an excerpt from one of my earlier posts as to why you should consider a mixed-breed dog:
1. They often inherit the best traits of their family tree. Some people even insist that mixed-breeds are healthier; it’s never really been proven, but think about it: If purebreds are prone to certain diseases, and if your dog possesses fewer of that breed’s genes, it does make sense.
2. They are often already trained. In many cases, these dogs already had an owner, but they might have been given away for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with the dog. Especially today, with the financial crisis that often leads to high levels of foreclosures, many are forced to move into quarters that do not accept dogs. My neighbor’s dog came from a shelter; the dog was friendly, well-behaved, trained, socialized. ”Someone clearly look very good care of this dog before you got him,” I said.
3. They adjust easily to most homes. Many breeds are known for specific temperments, traits and other issues; for instance, we should think about whether or not they make good pets for households with kids, or if they make good companions for the elderly–or any number of things. Mixed-breed dogs, though, have fewer of their lineage’s genes–and that makes it much easier for them to adjust in most homes.
4. They can still be service dogs. At one time, we only thought of certain breeds for service, but a mixed-breed is just as effective and appropriate, especially if they have specific genes in them. For instance, labradors are known for their guiding skills and poodes for their intelligence.
5. You can skip the puppy period. Raising a puppy is worthwhile, but hard work. It requires a lot of time, patience and energy–and some just don’t have that, and would rather skip this stage. With a mixed-breed shelter dog, you can.
6. Good karma. You’re saving a life. Period.
Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is also a nutrition and health coach for the 2-legged. Author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day: Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, her website is: www.irenefross.com.