Pet people are happy people

Bassett BrigadeThe Bassett Brigade enjoys Takoma Park's 4th of July Parade

If you think your neighbor seems particularly jolly, confident and healthy, chances are they aren’t stockpiling self-help books; they just have a pet. A recent Miami University in Ohio study shows pet owners are less lonely, more extroverted, more physically fit and have better self-esteem than people without animal companions, and to area residents, that’s no surprise.

“Pets are a huge part of Takoma Park culture,” said Julie Paez of Big Bad Woof. “Just walking down the street you see half a dozen dogs.”

But the summer months are particularly tough for fostered and shelter dogs, and the people finding them homes, as adoptions are down but newborn kittens and puppies and abandoned animals make their way into shelters in higher numbers than ever, according to Jim Monsma, communications director of Washington Animal Rescue League.

So if you’re considering opening your home to a new addition, be aware of upcoming events where rescue groups make it easier for you to take home an animal in need.

Big Bad Woof, the socially-conscious pet supply store in Old Takoma, holds adoption events nearly every weekend for dogs, cats and the occasional rabbit.

This month, they’ll be partnering with Greyhound Welfare and K-9 Lifesavers, and on July 31, Big Bad Woof will host the Appalachian Great Pyrenees Rescue to find homes for their “gentle giants,” essentially the dog version of a snowy mountain.

Another of the county’s many breed-specific rescue groups is Oldies But Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue, which fosters many – you guessed it – senior dogs. Catch their adoption events at Rockville’s PetSmart on July 23 and August 27 if you feel like a cuddly lap warmer is worth the short drive.

And the Washington Animal Rescue League will hold an all-day adoptathon at their center – located on Olgethorpe Street in the district – where prospective owners pay what they will and the league makes up the difference in cost of the animal’s rehabilitation, socialization and care.

Adoption events vet pets beforehand and many allow animals to go home the same day. Monsma said the adoptathon, which begins August 6 at 11 p.m., is the perfect opportunity for those who know they’re ready to take on the responsibility of a new pet.

“It can’t get any more convenient. We’re open around the clock and we’re stocked with animals of every shape and size, so you’re bound to find one that fits your lifestyle.”

Paez, who also fosters dogs and said she’s kept some of them for good, added, “The shelters are always full, so there’s always a need.”

Photo by Rachel Horesovsky.

About the Author

Rebecca Lurye
Rebecca Lurye was a summer 2011 intern at the Voice, covering local news and happenings. She is a junior at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she is studying print journalism and Spanish.