Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - 41

Courtesy of Tom Schin

Chapter 3

Pets provide companionship in today's
fast-paced society.

Figure 3-1

more people moved from farms to the cities and people enjoyed increased
incomes and prosperity. The demographics of the family changed. People married and had families later in life and fewer children. More people elected to
remain single. As children grew up and left home, older couples experienced
the loneliness of the "empty nest." Pets, therefore, provided companionship in
these fast-paced, changing times. Pets offer nonjudgmental acceptance, love, and
companionship, no matter what the age of a person. See Figure 3-1.

Unadoptable pets
Unfortunately, many pets are abandoned each year because they don't fit in
with the lifestyle of the family. Many pets lose their "cuteness" as they get
older, cost too much to feed, or put too many time demands on the family.
Millions of unwanted animals pass through animal shelters each year, a result of uncontrolled breeding and abandonment. Many of these animals are
eventually put to sleep through euthanasia, a method of inducing the death
of an animal quickly and painlessly.
The Humane Society of the United States estimates that animal shelters care for six to eight million dogs and cats every year in the United
States, of whom approximately three to four million are euthanized.1
In the 1970s, American shelters euthanized 12-20 million dogs and
cats, at a time when there were 67 million pets in homes. Today, shelters
euthanize around 2.7 million animals, while there are more than
135 million dogs and cats in homes. The enormous decline in euthanasia
numbers-from around 25 percent of American dogs and cats euthanized every year to about 3 percent-represents substantial progress.2

Small Animals as Pets

41



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition

Contents
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Cover1
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Cover2
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - iii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - iv
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Contents
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - vi
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - vii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - viii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - ix
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