The Joys of Adopting a Pet

There is no doubt that adopting a pet is a tremendously kind thing to do. In many cases, pets in need of new homes have been mistreated, abandoned, or left without a home simply because they have outlived their previous human companions. In general, every pet that is adopted represents space at the veterinary clinic or no-kill animal shelter that rescued it for one more pet in desperate need of care. More often than not, giving a permanent home to a rescued animal actually saves more than just one other animal, because so many of the animals rescued by animal shelters and veterinarians are not yet spayed or neutered and would only add another 6 to 8 more animals in

rescued dog
Clover was apparently abandoned, rescued, treated at ACMP and found a loving family.

need of rescue per litter, on average, until they are taken off the street. At kill shelters, every successful placement of a rescued animal is even more important for obvious reasons. Time and again, we have seen that animals rescued and given permanent homes after enduring abandonment, abuse, or other difficult situations seem to show an extra level of appreciation for their permanent human families, almost as though they understand how lucky they were to find a loving home.

However, and possibly because adopting a pet from a shelter is such a kind and altruistic thing to do, the other side of the coin often gets overlooked entirely. In fact, pet owners derive as much benefit from welcoming a pet in need of a home into their families as their newly-rescued pets do. In general, domesticated animals provide unconditional affection for their human companions. Caring for an animal is emotionally beneficial to humans because of the trust and dependence of their pets; and it is a wonderful and positive way to teach children about responsibility and sensitivity to the needs of others.

Many people are surprised to learn that even smaller pets, that are also adoptable, but less capable of the complex or multidimensional relationships that people enjoy with their cats and dogs still become attached to their owners in ways that are psychologically beneficial to humans. At the end of a hard day of work, it can be heartwarming to see your pet hamster suddenly become active and scramble to the door of his cage because he is happy to see you or your fish become more excited when you enter the room than when anybody else does. Small animal veterinarians witness these relationships all of the time.


Foster Cats
Foster Cats Looking for Loving Home


Dr. Paul Sedlacek explains:

            “We recognize that people who own small pets, such as reptiles and ferrets  and even mice become very attached to them and experience similar emotions at the natural end of their lives to the experiences of owners of larger ‘traditional’ pets. We respect that and we give them the same advice  about treatment options and the most humane approaches to making related decisions. It is not unusual at all for us to see full grown adults moved to tears grieving the loss of the smallest of animals, precisely because of the emotional bonds they develop and the joy that all pets bring to human lives.”