When was the last time you visited your local animal shelter? Chances are that you may be pleasantly surprised! One of the concerns that I commonly hear when I people find out that I'm a shelter volunteer is that it would be "too depressing" to see all of the cats, dogs, and critters waiting for homes (yes, Mom, I'm referring to you!). On the contrary, I want to spread the word that a trip to an animal shelter can actually be incredibly heartwarming. Not only do you get to encounter passionate volunteers and staff who are dedicated to rescuing animals, you also have the opportunity to find a new adoring friend! Adoption fees are often reduced for senior pets and animals that may be typically overlooked, so the cost of adopting from a shelter is usually very reasonable and much more affordable than purchasing an animal from a breeder. Also, it's unlikely that you need to worry about the fate of the pets you don't adopt. In most shelters, once an animal is cleared for adoption, it will almost always be held until it is adopted into a new home. Adopting from a shelter is really a win-win situation: you can help make room for more homeless pets to be housed safely, and you can add a huge dose of four (or three) legged love into your life. Your new best friend may just be waiting at the local SPCA, Humane Society, or animal control facility in your town! Check out www.petfinder.com to browse the profiles of adoptable dogs like Lovey, Gloria, Ragoo, Romeo, Katy Perry, Franklin, and Tanya.