At the Humane Society of Utah, we live and breathe the motto “Adopt, Don’t Shop.” This is not only because we house, care for, and adopt out companion animals who are in need of families. This is also because pet stores and online classified ads often sell animals from large commercial breeding facilities, colloquially known as “puppy/kitten mills.” Puppy and kitten mills place profit over animal welfare, leading to cruelty, neglect, and long-term consequences for the puppies and kittens they produce as well as the families who are duped into buying them.
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Ryan and Lauri Vincent have fostered homeless dogs for the Humane Society of Utah for nearly two years, including senior dogs and three-month-old puppies with mange. Fostering is how they met Faith, their friendly and playful, nine-month-old pit bull breed type pup.
"Faith was around three days old when we first met her," Lauri explains. "She had to be fed Pedialyte through a syringe, or she would die. This experience bonded our family so intensely that it felt like she was our baby in a way. So we decided to make her a member of our family."
Will, a four-year-old Australian Shepherd, needed surgery, and soon. He came to our Animal Resource Center suffering from severe bladder stones. As a result, he wasn't eating or drinking and was at high risk of acute renal failure. For Will to regain his health, our veterinarian recommended urgent surgery to remove the stones. The estimated cost of this operation was $3,400.
His family stressed that they would do anything to ensure Will lived a long and healthy life — but unfortunately, they couldn't afford to pay for the surgery.
Penelope, a four-foot-long Python, flicks her pink tongue up and out as she slithers across the Humane Society of Utah's auditorium floor. While this might sound terrifying to some, the small group of third and fourth graders watching her closely are more fascinated than afraid. "Can I hold her?" Mason, eight, asks with a polite raise of his hand. Mason adds that he has a corn snake at home, so he knows a thing or two about these legless creatures.
Cynthia Alex is super passionate about rabbits. She loves these adorable and inquisitive mammals so much that she's dedicated 27-years of her life volunteering at the Humane Society of Utah on their behalf. "When I tell people how long I've been volunteering, the response is often: 'Oh, wow. That sounds like a very emotionally draining commitment.' But for me, it isn't draining; it's empowering.