By Sofia Giordano
Many animal shelters locally and across the country face overcrowding. The shelters take on approximately 7.6 million unwanted pets per year, but only 2.7 million are adopted. One outcome for animals that do not get adopted within 72 hours is euthanasia.
A handful of compassionate shelters are able to maintain a “no-kill” policy, including the Town of North Hempstead Animal Shelter, located at 75 Marino Ave. in Port Washington. The shelter often takes dogs from other shelters before the dogs are destroyed. Currently, 20 out of 25 dogs at the North Hempstead Animal Shelter are adults that have been abandoned by previous owners. Generally, a more senior dog takes much longer to be selected for adoption than a puppy due to many misconceptions.
According to The Healthy Dog Times, an adult dog may be a better option because shelter animals are fully checked by a veterinarian and are usually healthy. Additionally, if not already done, shelters arrange for the dogs to be spayed/neutered. These animals can adapt to a new schedule more easily and be left for longer periods of time at home, which would not be the case with a puppy. According to Genna Tudda, the office manager and humane education coordinator at the North Hempstead Animal Shelter, these pets are usually easily trainable because they have already had some type of training in the past and may already respond to some commands. Lastly, the volunteers at the shelter are dedicated to continued training and socializing of these dogs, so there is an easier transition into their new home.
Adopting an animal is not an easy decision for anyone and matching the perfect animal to a new owner can be difficult, so it is important to take the time necessary to find a good fit. Although many people lean towards puppy adoption, puppies can take a lot more time, effort and patience with the antics of young dogs, such as chewed-up shoes and house-training accidents. Adult dogs need homes as much as puppies do. There are many benefits to welcoming a more mature, calmer and more appreciative dog into your family in lieu of a puppy. He or she can be an instant companion for life. However, the decision winds up, adopting a shelter dog can literally save a life.
For more information about the Town of North Hempstead Animal Shelter, including its mission, the dogs available, and volunteer opportunities, visit its website at www.theshelterconnection.com.
Sofia Giordano is a freshman at Manhasset High School. She has been a Girl Scout for eight years and is working on her Silver Award to help adult dogs in shelters throughout Nassau County. She built and donated a dog house to the Town of North Hempstead Animal Shelter as part of her Girl Scout Silver Award Project.