Animal lovers and activists alike are celebrating National Dog Day, and what better way to get involved than by adopting a new dog and potentially your new best friend?
It’s better to adopt, not shop. Just like there are many disparities in the human race, there are just as many in the animal world.
There are cats, dogs and other animals who face neglect, abuse and poor health.
The fight to rescue loving animals — as well as the people and organizations behind the scenes who provide care, love and treatment for these animals — is a worthy cause that deserves more recognition.
While many of us may be apprehensive to adopt dogs from rescue shelters, based on alleged horror stories of how the animals are treated while they are there, there are shelters that continue to provide top-quality care.
For those who are considering adoption but remain skeptical, you should be a hero for man's best friend and visit your local shelters today.
According to the ASPCA, there are 7.6 million potential pets that enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and only 2.7 million of those actually get adopted.
We must get involved and make a difference in the lives of these animals that provide love for us and our families.
I can't speak for other places around the world, but here in New York and the Hamptons, we are blessed to have dedicated animal shelters that provide extraordinary services to all animals.
Last year, philanthropist and animal activist Jean Shafiroff and photographer Patrick McMullan hosted an event for the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation’s pit bull adoption program.
Shafiroff, who has two pit bulls (Bella and Daisy), said,
"The shelter today has about 30 pit bulls; they stay there the longest of the dogs because they’re not being adopted. If you train a dog properly and show it loving kindness, it makes a wonderful pet."
Pit bulls are often the dogs potential pet owners shy away from because of their violent reputation. But having been a previous owner of a beautiful pit bull named Luna, I can personally attest to their sweet and loyal disposition.
As a rescue, Luna was initially afraid of people and simple household items such as a broom.
When I adopted her from a Pennsylvania animal shelter, I learned she was abused by her previous owner and left for dead. Sucked in by her beautiful brown eyes, I could not leave her.
I learned from the shelter caretakers that they had nursed her back to health, brought her back to a normal weight and developed a trusting bond with her.
I never regretted my decision adopting Luna, and it was the best thing that could have happened to me.
Having a dog from a shelter taught me how to be nurturing. Luna was very weak, and sometimes, she would not want to eat.
But after months getting to know her, it was she who taught me strength, patience and kindness.
Unfortunately, when I returned back to New York, I was unable to bring Luna with me due to my new apartment building, as they have a strict no-pet policy, but I can tell you she is with a trusted family member and receiving a great amount of love every day.
I decided to adopt and not shop, and it changed my life, as I am sure it changed Luna's.
She's healthy and eating well, and everyone who comes into contact with her instantly falls in love. Every dog deserves the right amount of love, care and attention, especially the ones that are often mistreated.
Celebrate National Dog Day, and visit your local animal shelter.
Who knows? You may end up leaving with your best friend.
If you already have dog(s), then take this day to exercise with them a little longer, slip them an extra treat and give them all of the affection and love they so rightfully deserve.