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Furry Friends: Why They Should Matter to You

Dalai, a Border Collie who was adopted from a shelter and is currently a therapy dog.

Dalai, a Border Collie who was adopted from a shelter and is currently a therapy dog.

Emily Ropeter

Emily Ropeter

Dalai, a Border Collie who was adopted from a shelter and is currently a therapy dog.

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Imagine being removed from a family, in a place extremely unfamiliar, and having no idea what is waiting around the corner. This is exactly how lost, stray, or surrendered animals and pets feel after they are displaced. Just recently, on September 15, 2018, an event took place known as Pawtoberfest at Bear Creek Regional Park. This event brings awareness and attention to these animals as well as raise money for the regional Humane Society.

Many people think of dogs and cats when they hear about stray animals, and although they are the most common, a variety of other animals can be lost or turned in. In addition to dogs and cats at the local Humane Society, there are currently numerous bunnies, guinea pigs, an assortment of fish, a turtle, and a chicken waiting for their forever homes.

Statistically, there is around 5-8 million animals entering shelters each year. This number fluctuates between sources but does represent the number of animals who enter the facilities. Along with this, only around 10 to 20 percent of all the cats and dogs owned, are adopted from shelters, meaning all the others brought into families are purchased from breeders.

Animals are not only beneficial as pets, but also have numerous other ways they can contribute to human’s well-being. For one, dogs have been proven to help people with anxiety and depression, as they are potentially the main reason for people to wake up in the morning: it gives them a purpose. “There are lots of statistics about people with mental health issues… that are calmed by being in the presence of an animal” states Deanna Zobel-Grey, a therapist who uses a service dog. She believes that these animals provide a more comfortable space to talk in and can sooth people’s nerves.

These therapy animals don’t have to be the typical “smart purebred”. In fact, many are found in shelters, this includes Dalai, Mrs. Zobel-Grey’s dog. No matter what, the animals must go through training in order to become certified, which means that it does not matter what the breed is as long as they are a well suitable dog. Seeing as this is the case, why not save a life in the mean time?

The adoption of animals from shelters is an issue that needs to be addressed in its entirety. Not only are these animals’ populations being increased due to breeders, but they are also being returned to the shelters. Ms. Zobel-Grey adds to this statement by mentioning “[if] you are breeding dogs when there’s already too many dogs, then it’s adding to the problem.”

These animals deserve to find their forever homes, not in a cage surrounded by unfamiliar scents. All of them should have an opportunity to live their lives free of worry, and by doing so could truly benefit anyone’s life. An animal can even impact just a singular person but can change their whole world. 


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