There are many reasons to adopt instead of purchasing an animal. Here's just a few:
No matter where you live you likely have at least one shelter and/or rescue in your area.
Typically, an animal shelter is a place where animals are surrendered or brought in after being found on the streets. Shelters can be a local pound and are often government-owned. Because so many animals are taken in, there is often a problem housing them all so adopting from a shelter is a great way to save a life and clear space for a second life to be saved as well!
An animal rescue is usually a private organization that takes in animals from various situations. Rescues usually provide temporary homes through a network of foster parents. Rescues are typically funded entirely by grants and donations so adopting from them means any fees go right back into saving more animals!
It's important to be ready to adopt a companion since you will be watching horror movies snuggled up together for their entire life. We applaud you for recognizing that you aren't yet ready for the commitment.
If you want to adopt someday but need some time and/or experience, think about fostering for a rescue. Fostering is a wonderful chance to save animals, get to know different breeds or species, and gain experience living with one! The commitment is shorter term and can last anywhere from a week to a few months. Many people fall in love with their foster pets and even adopt them (we lovingly call these foster fails, and are proud of our foster failures)!
Absolutely. Nearly every single shelter or rescue needs volunteers. Are you good at PR? Have graphic design skills? Like entering data in between perusing Instagram? Offer your services to any of your local organizations. Don't feel as though you have a niche skill? That's okay too, just offer your time, every single organization will have something they need help with.
If you're able to offer monetary compensation, donating to a rescue in your area is a great way to continue to fund animal rescue and possibly save even more animals than you could by taking one in!
If this is your first adoption (or even your fifth or sixth!) you might have lots of questions. We are happy to help as best we can but even though we have something like 13 rescue animals between us (of 5 species) we're no experts. Best Friends Animal Society is one of our favorite resources for all things adoption. Check out their very extensive database of articles for everything from adoption tips to pet-proofing your house to training techniques.