Those of us who work in the animal rescue field are well aware of all the wonderful animals available for adoption from shelters and rescue groups.

Where shelter pets come from

Animals often end up at a shelter or rescue group because something happened to their family—a job loss necessitating a move, a major illness, a death, or a divorce. It’s the stuff of life for us all, but in many cases the pets lose their homes and enter the shelter system to await new families to come and fall in love with them.

Personally, for my age and lifestyle, an older dog is the best fit. That’s why I love being able to adopt from a shelter or rescue group near me. At those places, there’s no shortage of wonderful dogs that are fully grown, know something about life and are eager to spend time with me. Some people are looking for a certain breed or size, but I like to see who needs a home when I am ready to adopt a new family member.

“Every day, more than 9,000 pets are killed in our nation’s shelters.”

Finding your best friend

This explains why, in my kitchen wall, I have the largest doggie door on the market right next to a very small dog door. It works for my current dogs: eight-year-old Chapman, an Akita mix who weighs 100 pounds, and Tiny, a nicely rounded eight-pound senior Chihuahua.

Thanks to the internet, you can even find your new friend online. Making the perfect match is where the magic happens with adopting. Rescue organizations know the animals in their care and can guide you to the right companion for you. Are you active and want to have a dog who can explore the great outdoors with you? Do you have a family with lots of kids? Are you retired with some mobility issues? Maybe you’re a young adult who lives alone? Whatever your circumstances, there is a dog or cat at your local shelter waiting to meet you.

But the most satisfying reward for adopting your next family member is that you will be saving a life. Every day, more than 9,000 pets are killed in our nation’s shelters—animals of every size and color just waiting for us to come and take them home. It is a great feeling to know that by opening up your heart and your home to a new friend for life, you have helped chip away at the number of animals killed. And you have become one part of the growing wave of people who know that someday, together, we will save them all.