By Kaycie Bellrichard
With the holiday season quickly approaching, it is important to think about what we are thankful for. There is so much to appreciate; like a warm home, getting an education, having clean drinking water, and having good friends. Personally, I am most thankful for my family. They are always there to support me and make me feel loved. One of the most important parts of my family is being together and appreciating those you have, whether they are blood-related or not. In my family, our pets are a very important part of our dynamic, even though we are not blood-related.
My family has two dogs, Bennie, a Corgi, and Ruby, a Shih Tzu. We adopted both of our dogs from the Mower County Humane Society and could not be happier with our decision. They fit into our family so well. Bennie was adopted when I was just four years old and I have grown up with him. Before we adopted him, he and his sister were abandoned on the side of the road by their first family. His sister was not found, so only he was taken into foster care. All of this chaos happened within the first year of his life, so he was ready to find a good home. When we met him we fell in love, knowing we wanted him to be a member of our family. We were fortunate enough to adopt him and he has fit into our family wonderfully. Although Bennie had a rough first year, joining our family completely turned his life around and we are so happy to have him. We have had Bennie for about 13 years now and he has fit in very well with our family.
Several years after Bennie’s adoption, my family adopted Ruby in 2017. She was about two years old and the members of the Humane Society informed us that she had been mistreated in her first home, so she needed to find a new family. My family was saddened to hear about her past and wanted to be that new home she needed to find. My mom and I went to visit her in Austin, Minn., and fell in love with her immediately. Although Ruby was mistreated for the first two years of her life, she was so sweet to us even though we were strangers to her. We were fortunate enough to be chosen to adopt her as well, and we are so glad that we did. We have had her for about two years now and she has been a wonderful addition to our home.
The reason I’m talking about the joy my pets bring to my family is because I want to spread the word on adopting pets from shelters. There are many animal shelters in the area that are looking for new homes for the animals. Some shelters in the area include Mower County Humane Society (Austin, Minn.), Paws and Claws (Rochester, Minn.), Safe Haven Pet Rescue (Rochester, Minn.), and Humane Society of Northeast Iowa (Decorah, Iowa), to name a few. All of these organizations are centered on helping animals and help them find their new homes. My family is just one example of a pet adoption success story, but there are many others who would agree, and you could be one of them!
Many types of animals, specifically dogs and cats, are in dire need of good homes and have the biggest hearts. Most animal shelters have Facebook pages with photos and information about the pets that are up for adoption. I encourage all to take a look and to consider visiting a pet from your local shelter and potentially adopting one. Even simply stopping into a shelter to visit the animals can brighten their days so much, and you may even find your future pet. Adopting our dogs is one of the best decisions my family has ever made, so it is worth considering.
If adoption is not a possibility, please consider making a donation. Donating helps better the lives of the animals and provide them with food and shelter. Items that most shelters look for are food for the animals and sanitary products. If you are interested in making a donation, look at the shelter’s Facebook page or call them to see what they are in need of. All of the help is very appreciated!
This holiday season, please consider helping animals in the area, or even giving them a new home!.
Kaycie Bellrichard is a student at Kingsland High School. She is one of eight area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 21st year.