It’s sad fact that over 200,000 cats and dogs are put to sleep each year in Australia, simply because there are not enough homes for them. That’s 23 animals every hour of every day. But the good news is, you can save a life – and by doing so, you might find that you make your own life better.
Why pets end up in shelters
Every dog or cat that’s adopted from a shelter, rescue group, pound or previous owner is a life saved. Unfortunately, a lot of people have misconceptions about why animals end up in shelters, believing there must be something wrong with because they were surrendered or abandoned. But research has found that most owners surrender their dogs due to lack of time or money.
Another reason people give for buying a dog or cat rather than rescuing, is that they want a specific breed. The good news is there are breed-specific rescues that rehome dogs and cats of just about every breed. Some of them are listed here, but if the breed you want isn’t on the list, just search it on Google, or check with the breed club (they’re listed here).
Benefits for you
The benefits of adopting a new furry family member don’t stop with saving a life – sharing your life with a pet can be great for both physical and mental health.
According to the RSPCA, the physical benefits of pet ownership include increased cardiovascular health, increased physical activity, fewer visits to the doctor, and for kids, a stronger immune system, decreased risk of allergies, and fewer days of school missed due to illness.
The psychological benefits include higher self-esteem, less depression and better coping skills when life hits you for a six. Kids with pets show more empathy, and teens have a more positive outlook on life.
Cats may be cuddly bundles of joy, but dogs are particularly good at getting you off the couch and moving - a 2006 Canadian study found dog owners walk an average of 300 minutes a week – almost twice as much as non-dog owners, who walked for just 168 minutes a week.
Choosing the right breed
If you live in an apartment or a small home, then take a look at this list of dog suitable dog breeds – or consider adopting a greyhound, because despite what you might think, they’re couch potatoes who require very little exercise.
If you’re looking for a new furry family member but don’t have a particular breed in mind, make a start by contacting your local council pound or shelter, or www.petrescue.com.au.
Can’t have a pet?
While the benefits sound fantastic, we know it’s not that simple for everyone to adopt a pet. Pets require commitment, time and money.
If you don’t think you can commit for a lifetime, there are lots of foster organisations that need carers to look after animals for short (or longer) periods of time in their homes, helping them get ready for adoption.
Or if you have a landlord who doesn’t sympathise with your wish for a pet, you can volunteer to help a local animal shelter and get some of the benefits of having a pet – like taking dogs for a walk or cuddling kittens! Click here to check out volunteering opportunities near you.
The pets of Vision Super
We couldn’t help but share a few happy pet stories from Vision Super staff.
SnowyMichael’s cat Snowy and his sister Tabitha were abandoned by their previous owner who moved house and left them behind. The kittens were starving, so Michael’s daughter was feeding them and then persuaded her parents to let her bring them home!
JayJay was a stray cat on Anna's street, that was loved by all the neighbours and would go to different houses for naps and food (in fact he still does - even though Anna's family have offically adopted him).
You can't annoy Jay, he just loves people. He is one of those cats you can wear as a scarf or pick up and cradle like a baby and you'd still be able to hear him purring in the next room. When Anna moved out of home, he took her spot at the dinner table, and just sits with her parents every night.
JessieJessie the Kelpie Border Collie cross is seven and was adopted by John and his wife two years ago from Victorian Working Dog Rescue.
John says Jessie gets them out of the house at least twice a day. Her favourite activities include chasing seagulls, watching possums in the courtyard, eating carrots and solving complex mathematical riddles.
MishyMishy (16) was adopted by Courtney 9 years ago from an elderly man with no family to look after her who was moving into a retirement home.
Courtney says “She has improved our lives because she's a chatty little companion who is great company when you're home alone, and a constant source of entertainment... she's a very quirky cat.”
JerryThe story of Amanda and Jerry began when Amanda got off the train one evening and saw people staring at a tiny kitten on the ground. “Everyone was too scared to pick him up but I swooped in and wrapped him in my jacket,” Amanda said.
At first, Jerry was so tiny Amanda had to bottle feed him. She thinks this is why they are so close now. Amanda says Jerry helps her health, and brightens up her life.
PushkinPushkin (10) started off as Fiona's cat 'nephew' but Fiona’s (human) niece headed overseas to university, and looks unlikely to return. As a Burmese, Pushkin is more like an active puppy. He chats, runs around, tries to rearrange things and plays a great game of soccer all by himself.
Fiona says he has improved her life by providing plenty of amusement and photo opportunities.
ByronByron belongs to Di, named after his birthplace, Byron Bay. He’s a Lagotto Romagnolo, which is an Italian breed used for truffle hunting. After only one year, Byrons’s previous parents had to move to Queensland – with no backyard there for a growing, naughty doggie!
Athough Byron is constantly hunting for truffle (so far unsucessfully) and destroying Di’s back garden, he brings Di and her family so much joy, they would not be without him!
AngusAngus is Dave’s (dog) nephew. He had been abandoned by his previous owner and was living on the streets until one day he jumped into Dave’s brother Keith’s car and refused to leave! Angus and Keith have been best buddies ever since.
Sampson and TurdieTurdie the turtle and Sampson the cat are suprisingly good friends! Turdie turned up in Gayle’s garden one day, and now lives in his very own fernery complete with a pond! Sampson was adopted from the Lost Dogs Home but originally was roaming the school where Gayle’s partner works.
Gayle also has Birdie, a baby bird she rescued and hand fed until he was big enough to fly free (he still returns each day to visit), and their beautiful dog.
Billy, Poppy and CocoaBilly (6) and Poppy (10) pugs were adopted by Rebekka from a Pug rescue group, and Cocoa cat (16) was adopted aged 10 when his elderly owner could no longer care for him.
Poppy was rescued from a puppy farm, where she was kept in a cage and used to produce puppies. Billy was left at the pound after being used for backyard breeding. Together with Cocoa, the three are best friends and love to cuddle with their humans.