Every year, animals are surrendered, abandoned and neglected — forced to stay in overcrowded and underfunded shelters.

They are products of our material-oriented society that sees pets as nothing more than another object in a household. And while I’m angry that I live in a society that puts zero worth on animals, I’m even more irritated at the people who inadvertently support it.

My friend recently bought a cat — a kitten, to be more accurate. An adorable grey kitten bought from a breeder.

In 2017, 120,000 animals were looking for a home in Canada, yet people still choose to support breeders and animal farms instead of adopting.

And it’s for the most absurd reasons. People want the fastest greyhound, an American foxhound that is the ideal predator or a beautiful border collie that can discipline an entire farm.

I’m sorry, but unless you have a herd of sheep in your backyard, I simply do not understand.

Others will argue they want an animal that’s “theirs.” This is even more outlandish. It’s not as if you’re birthing the puppy yourself — it won't have your genetics. 

A reality check for some of you: your puppy won’t inherit your smile. 

I know this much: every week I go to the animal shelter and I take, on average, seven cats outside (out of 50) for 20 minutes of playtime. Twenty minutes to escape their cooped-up cages and interact with just about anything and anyone other than the steel walls they see for most of the week.

Can you call yourself an animal lover if you didn’t even try to help them?

Instead, you got a German shepherd that can run fast. You got him from a breeder that pumps out animals like a mill, separates puppies from their mothers long before they’ve been adequately socialized and then dumps the animals they can’t get rid of.

Yes, shelter animals require a little extra effort. They may have social problems, stressors from their past life or are used to a different set of commands, but I believe you can teach an old dog new tricks. 

They come with flaws, as does any person you’ll meet on the street. At the end of the day they’re animals who need homes.

So, stop shopping for your pets.

There are furry friends looking for their forever homes, and that could be yours — unless, they're just not perfect enough for you. 

Update (Oct. 21, 9:52): the cover photo of this article has changed at the request of the dog's owner.

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