Teen voice: How to convince young people to adopt?

Teens, especially girls, love animals. I’ve noticed there are lots of young people, again
mostly girls, who volunteer at animal shelters and boycott
products that were tested on animals.

But when it comes to adoption, most of my peers give me a frightening wake-up call. I’ve heard of many teens who got their pet from a breeder, pet store or, in one case, for $10
at a flea market.

Sometimes we have debates in class that give me a pit
in my stomach. One time, some girls were saying that they loved their dog and
bringing it to the groomer, where they put the little bows in the dog’s fur.

Somehow, this led to that ASPCA commercial with Sarah Mclachlan. “That commercial makes me feel so depressed,” one of the girls piped
up. “Yeah,” said the other, “I change the channel when I watch that because it makes me guilty
about my animals.”

Teens seem to avoid any guilt like the plague. If you ask
them why they don’t go vegetarian for those poor pigs, they often say something
like, “Stop making me feel guilty! I don’t want to hear it.” We seem to ignore
what makes us feel guilty because most of us don’t want to take any action or
time to help.

I’ve tried to persuade my friends to think about using
Petfinder and looking at their local shelter. However, it seems that these
people are highly influenced by their parents, who think it’s much easier to buy
from a breeder.

I try to hope that someday those teens
will grow up. Until then, I believe
the best way to promote adoption to teens is through positive messages that emphasize the
beauty and awesome personalities of shelter pets. If we concentrate on the
brighter side, maybe some of those teens will feel less guilty and a little
more eager to help.

What do you think?

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Petfinder’s amazing influence