Educating Friends and Family About Pet Adoption

Pet Adoption Education, What Would You Say?

2013_Helping Pets Blog_Staff and Dog

Helen Woodward Animal Center staff and volunteers get a lot of questions – and we’re always happy to help the public when it comes to answering those questions. Last week, we received a question from the public concerning pet adoption. The question read, “A good friend told me they are thinking of buying a puppy from a store. What can I say to help them understand how important pet adoption is? Help!”

Cat Playing with toyWe get that question a lot and we understand our question asker’s frustration. It can be hard to break through the misconceptions around pet adoption and pet adoption facilities. For anyone just learning about the importance of pet adoption, it may feel like we have the passion to share about orphaned pets, but maybe feel we don’t have the words or tools to do so. The good news is… you’re not alone!

We did some thinking and also asked pet-lovers on Facebook what they thought, then put together a few tips on how to educate friends and family about pet adoption.

Five Tips on Sharing About Pet Adoption

  • Talk about how you felt when you first met the pet you would adopt. A lot of adopters feel there was a special moment when they first saw the pet they would adopt. How did you feel? Why was it special to you? Talk about that special moment with your friend or family member. We love it when we hear people say, “It was LOVE at first sight!”
  • You save two lives when you adopt a pet. Not only do you rescue the pet you adopt, but you leave space for the pet adoption organization to rescue another one.
  • You CAN adopt a purebred pet. Did you know that 25% of pets in adoption facilities or groups are purebreds?* Many pet adoption facilities and breed-specific rescues have purebred pets! Simply do an internet search to start looking for one near you.
  • Invite your friend or family member to visit a pet adoption facility with you. A lot of people feel scared or sad when they think about visiting a shelter or pet adoption facility. If you have experience with adopting from a particular facility or organization, invite your friend or family member to visit with you. Be encouraging and positive through the visit. Encourage questions and be a sounding board to their feelings during the process.
  • Focus on the positive. Most importantly, be encouraging and listen to your friend or family member. Making someone feel bad or guilty might backfire. If you have adopted, share your positive experience and reasons why you personally chose pet adoption over a pet store or backyard breeder purchase.

One of our favorite suggestions came from a Facebook user named Jessica. She said, “If all else fails I just show them pictures of my sweet pets!” 

Adopted Pets are Awesome Pets

Want to show how awesome adopted pets are? Post a photo of your adopted pet on our Facebook wall to show the world how adopted pets are awesome pets!

Thank you to everyone who made suggestions and helped us answer our friend’s question. If you ever have a pet-related question, feel free to contact Helen Woodward Animal Center at, or call 858-756-4117.

*Statistic comes from Humane Society of the United States

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