It has been scientifically proven animals can help improve their owners' overall health and mood.
Doctors recommend the use of therapy animals in treatment for hospital patients to war veterans to panicking grad students before finals.
Bringing a pet into your home can be an extremely rewarding experience.
However, when most people think about getting a "new" pet, adopting a shelter animal is not the first option that comes to mind.
This is because when people think "new," they want something shiny and unused.
Potential pet owners are naturally drawn to newborn kittens or purebred puppies.
Meanwhile, the older, rougher looking pets are often cast to the wayside, despite having just as much, if not more, to offer.
If you're thinking about bringing an animal into your life, adopting is the best way to go -- here's why:
1. It's a much smarter financial investment
There's no question: Adopting an animal is the better financial investment. Think of the acquisition costs alone!
A new puppy could cost you upwards of $1,000 with a breeder, while shelter adoption fees usually circle around the $100 mark.
Not to mention, mixed breed animals, affectionately termed "mutts," are thought to live longer and have fewer health issues.
Think of them as having built up one hell of an immune system during their hard-knock lives.
2. You can save multiple lives
When you adopt an animal, one common tenet of the agreement is your animal will be spayed or neutered before going home.
Doing so not only helps save the adoptee's life, but the lives of the countless offspring they might have had otherwise.
Bob Barker always reminded us to get our pets spayed or neutered. Folks, if it's good enough for Bob, it's good enough for me.
3. Adoption keeps shelters going
When you adopt from a shelter, you pay fees and utilize services, which helps the organization continue to thrive.
Whenever possible, buy your pet food or accessories from the shelters. Sign up for pet training classes or veterinary care through the facility.
You'll simultaneously get a great price while helping to ensure the continued care and rescue of future animals.
4. Shelter animals have more character
When you're picking a house, do you want the cookie-cutter house in a development where you can't tell one apart from the other?
Or, do you want the mansion with character, hidden passages, history and a one-of-a-kind view?
If you chose the former, I can't help you. Go get your $1,200 Teacup Yorkie.
If, however, you're intrigued by the latter, you might be surprised to find a shelter pet has a lot of character and personality to offer your household.
5. You have options
Maybe you're a bit of a commitment-phobe, and you're not sure if you want to tie yourself down to an animal just yet.
The good news is, you don't have to adopt right away.
Many shelters offer a foster option, allowing you to spend a few weeks with an animal without obligation.
6. They usually end up rescuing you
The thing about adopting an animal is you think you're the one doing it a favor, when really, it ends up being the one to save you.
Animals provide unconditional love and add a little unpredictability to your otherwise mundane and routine day.
So, take a chance, get out of your comfort zone and see if you can't find yourself a furry little soul mate!