Student encourages others to consider pet adoption


Maisie with her new owner, "Daddy Ray." (Photo provided)
Maisie with her new owner, “Daddy Ray.” (Photo provided)

By Emily Thyrum

According to “Fast Facts: U.S. Animal Shelters”, an article from “”, due to a lack of pet adoption, approximately 50 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats in shelters are “destroyed”. What is the best way to help these animals? The answer is fairly simple: to consider pet adoption yourself.

I am a volunteer for Pet Guardians, a non profit pet adoption organization in Lancaster. According to the Pet Guardians website, the organization’s mission statement is “…to seek homes for pets that belong to patients who are terminally ill. We will do our best to find safe homes for the beloved pets of elderly people or those with a life- threatening illness.”

There is no adoption fee; however, all of the new pet adopters are thoroughly screened, and Pet Guardians does a home visit to make sure it is going to be a good match for the pet.

Dr. Debra Vredenburg, the founder of Pet Guardians, emphasized the importance of her organization’s cause.

“There’s definitely a need for people to consider adopting an older pet; they still have a lot of love to give,” said Vredenburg. “The main goal is to keep that bond between the previous owner and the pet alive, and often times the new owner will take the pet to the retirement home to visit its previous owner.”

Laura, a foster for Pet Guardians, stresses the importance of foster homes as an alternative to the shelters that are not able to accept the thousands of animals a day who need a home.

“Each and every one was a wonderful cat, worthy of being saved and who just needed a temporary place until their forever home was found.”

Laura recollects the story of an older gentleman named “Daddy Ray” and an older cat named Maise. Laura was worried that Maise would not find a home because of her old age, but when the cat met “Daddy Ray”, Laura described the scene as “magical” because the cat was able to fill a “huge hole in Daddy Ray’s heart and the two became inseparable”.

“The Health Benefits of Companion Animals”, article by “Pets Are Wonderful Support”, describes the benefits of owning a pet: animals can help improve one’s cardiovascular health, stress levels, and social interactions, along with reducing one’s feelings of loneliness and depression. The article also shows that owning a pet has been found to reduce anxiety and aggression within Alzheimer’s patients, and that owning a pet has been shown to provide emotional support for females who “have suffered physical abuse”.

The article “adoption guide: Dog” by The Pedigree Adoption Drive gives some advice for making the adoption process easier. Potential owners should properly account for the costs of the animal before the adoption is finalized, including the cost of “food, leashes, collars, toys, grooming supplies, bedding, medical treatment and other things a new [pet] requires.”

The article “What to Consider Before Adopting a Pet” by Homeward Pet Adoption Center also describes the importance of considering the time required to take care of a pet, for a pet will need your assistance with “…exercise, care, and companionship every day of every year.” The article also explains why it is essential for a pet owner to accept the “special problems that a pet can cause;” pet hair and scratched up furniture are always a risk of adopting a pet.

If you first consider the responsibilities required that go along with being a pet owner, pet adoption certainly is a meaningful choice.

If you are interested in adoption from Pet Guardians, please contact