I just read a rather sobering statistic from the ASPCA's website about animals and shelters. It seems that over seven and a half million companion animals enter animal shelters every year. Of those, 3.9 million are cats, and 3.4 million are dogs. Of those 7.6 million animals, 2.7 million (1.2 million dogs, and 1.4 million cats) are euthanized. If those numbers are disturbing to you, know that you can make a difference.

Having had three rescue, or "shelter pets" ourselves over the years, I can attest personally to what adopting a dog or cat does to your household: it increases the joy exponentially. Sure, there are stresses, but the joys outweigh the pains by a 10-1 margin.

More numbers from the ASPCA:

  • Approximately 2.7 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats)
  • About 649,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 542,000 are dogs and only 100,000 are cats.
  • Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner.
  • Of the cats entering shelters, approximately 37% are adopted, 41% are euthanized, and less than 5% of cats who came in as strays are returned to their owners.
  • According to the American Humane Association, the most common reasons why people relinquish or give away their dogs is because their place of residence does not allow pets (29%), not enough time, divorce/death and behavior issues (10% each). The most common reasons for cats are that they were not allowed in the residence (21%) and allergies (11%).

Luckily, here in the Rockford area, we have Winnebago County Animal Services. Many unwanted animals are given a second chance through the Winnebago County Animal Services pet adoption program. The adoption process is a fairly easy one, and not only will you be making your life better, you'll be doing even more than that for the pet you adopt. Looking on their website this morning, it looks like they have around 30 dogs, and 60 cats just waiting for...well, you.

All of Winnebago County Animal Services dogs can be adopted for only $110, which includes vaccinations, spay/neuter, microchip, worming, flea and tick preventative, and county tag. Senior dogs are just $55. They have similar great incentives on adopting a cat or kitten, too.

Call Winnebago County Animal Services at 815-319-4100, or click here to visit their website, and add a shelter pet to your home in 2017.