Skyler Simpkins ’23
I think all of us have constantly heard the cry of all animal shelters: “Adopt, don’t shop.” I am sure that most of us whole-heartedly agree with the statement, but when you really want that French Bulldog, you throw that sentiment to the wind and fund breeders who often treat their animals horribly. In the back of your head, you agree with that statement, but you want that specific-looking dog who will fulfill all your Instagram fantasies. This is the root of the reason animal shelters have started using this catchy motto. Something I do believe animal shelters should begin to illustrate and all of us understand is the complete misunderstanding associated with buying: a specific animal breed will not make that animal perfect. The friendship between you and your animal makes the perfect and inseparable pair, not drowning thousands of dollars on a breed that looks pretty in bows.
When a pregnant cat walked into my grandmother’s backdoor, I remember being so excited as a girl barely four years old. She was abandoned and looking for a safe place to give birth to her beautiful kittens. It was one of those kittens that has become my lifelong best friend, and that I could not imagine life without. Snowball is now sixteen years old and better than ever before. I wanted to rescue too, and I got the opportunity much earlier than I expected. About a year ago I found some kittens under a barn, emaciated and looking for a home. I brought those kittens home, got them checked out by the veterinarian, and gave them a chance to live a life free of feral antics. I am blessed that I got a chance to meet and love Cable and Domino (and yes, named after X-Men characters). All this is to say that I cannot imagine filling my home with animals that come from a breeder while also financially supporting their cruel treatment of my soon-to-be best friends. You do not need that expensive, rare breed of animal to fill your heart; the gray-striped cat abandoned down the street will do even more for you.
It should be noted that rescuing comes in all forms. You can pick up a mistreated or abandoned animal from your neighborhood, or you could go to the animal shelter and make the life of one of those beautiful creatures so much better. One is not better than the other. Even if you do not have the resources to take in an animal, if you see an animal in need in your neighborhood, call someone who can help. You can always do something, even by just putting your leftovers out for the feral neighborhood cat to have a nice meal one night. I plead, do not support businesses that you do not ethically align with – breeding being one with which none of us should agree. We must stop the flow of money to these breeders to end their unethical practices. Leave your heart and home open to new animals that will come into your life unannounced looking for help. Trust me, they will end up helping you a lot more than you are helping them.