The Benefits of Rescuing Your New “Best Friend”
We’re going to take a break from stocks, bonds, trusts and investment portfolios for this week’s column. Let’s start with a question: Did you know some studies have shown that people who own dogs actually have reduced stress and anxiety, and lower blood pressure? For many older Americans, dogs can provide much-needed emotional support, friendship and love. A dog can even be a (non-prescription) way to alleviate mild depression or to help a person cope with loneliness or solitude after the passing of a spouse.
You may conclude that my financial recommendation to you is to “invest” in – a dog! Maybe! If you do, make sure to do your homework first. The breed you choose should be a good fit to your environment and lifestyle. You don’t have to pay top dollar to get the breed of your choice, either. I am 100% against puppy mills, but I certainly advocate for the adoption of dogs rescued from puppy mills. You can always check the local Humane Society as a first stop, but you can also do an Internet search for a particular breed, along with the keyword “rescue” and your state. You may be surprised by how many dogs are looking for good homes. Not all rescues are from puppy mills, of course; some have been abandoned, and some have had their owners move or pass away. Here are several bonuses to adoption: 1. Since many rescues are older dogs, they are generally calmer, less active and far less destructive than new puppies. 2. Adult dogs are often house-, leash- and crate-trained. 3. The rescue organization has probably had the dog to a veterinarian for vaccinations, spaying/neutering and a dental cleaning.
Keep in mind that some breed-specific rescue organizations are very particular about the people who adopt their dogs. You may be required to fill out an application, have phone and home interviews, and provide personal references. The process could take a couple months and there is generally a cost (donation) for the adoption, but it will be a fraction of the price charged by a breeder for a purebred puppy.
The ownership of a pet (our feline friends included!), however, doesn’t come without out-of-pocket expenses. There are ongoing vet visits, vaccinations, heartworm and flea preventative medications, food, toys, accessories, etc. But the joy and benefits (including probable health advantages), to both you and your loving, furry companion, will be well worth the cost!