Don’t they just capture your heart? Consider adopting a pet today. (Stephanie Silverman)
Between studying for calculus, racing to soccer practice, getting yelled at by the boss, and still trying to maintain a social life, it can be easy for the typical college student to get wrapped up in his or her own world. These distractions all contribute to students’ obliviousness to world-wide suffering of domestic animals.
According to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, every year in America eight to twelve million cats and dogs enter shelters and five to nine million of these companion animals are euthanized. These statistics are not only heart-breaking, but unnecessary. The ASPCA also states that only 10 percent of these animals are spayed or neutered.
Too many people buy overpriced animals from pet stores that wrongfully claim their dogs are from breeders. This perpetuates the cycle of puppy mills and the unsanitary conditions and unhealthy puppies they produce.
“Puppy mills are a business,” said Patty Harvey, a volunteer at the Mission Viejo Animal Shelter. “They are all about making money.”
Although most find puppies are adorable, baby dogs aren’t the ones who are struggling to find homes. It’s usually the older ones who have been cast aside by former owners who no longer find them as endearing. Buying or adopting a dog is a commitment that should be well thought out, not a momentary error in judgment.
There is no denying south Orange County is a place where status and appearance take priority. Many of the dogs in shelters do not measure up to the precedent that has been set of purebred Chihuahuas and other socially acceptable dogs, but society as a whole needs to move past this misconception.
The experience of visiting an animal shelter might be all that is needed to persuade one to adopt these animals in need. Next time you get out of class, think about driving the two minutes to visit the local animal shelter. There you will see the faces of many animals that have been shunned or abused by former families, or who never had a home at all.
There is CeCe, the adorably unidentifiable mix who’s quirky underbite may be the reason she has called the MVAS home for far too long. When Newton, the chocolate Pit-bull terrier mix, looks at you hopefully with big brown eyes it will make you wonder why this one year old has already spent so much of his life in a cage. These animals and so many more are in desperate need of a home.
Even if you have never thought about owning an animal before, consider how it would feel to have someone to love you unconditionally.
“Adopted animals are so grateful to their owners,” said Harvey. “And for the owner, knowing that you are responsible for taking them out of an eight by ten cage and into your home is the most self-rewarding thing I can imagine.”