Cover We're listing just some of the reasons why adopting a dog is so rewarding (Photo: Getty Images)

Whether you’ve always had a pet in your life, or you’re a first-time owner, choosing to adopt a dog offers countless rewards––here we list just some of them

With many of us spending more time at home and working remotely this year due to Covid-19, dog adoptions in the city have been on the rise in Hong Kong and globally.

While we’re 100 per cent behind this rise in adoptions, charities are also stressing the importance of realising that a dog is for life, and not just for a pandemic––urging people to take into account the realities of dog ownership once life returns to “normal”.

If you do feel like you’re ready to take a leap into the world of dog parenting, we’re listing just a few of the many reasons why adopting a dog is so rewarding. From helping with mental health and providing companionship, to the life-changing impact it has on the dog’s life, here’s why you should adopt and not shop, plus the animal charities to support in Hong Kong.

See also: 6 Luxury Pet-Friendly Hotels For Your Next Hong Kong Staycation

You’ll be helping more than just one animal

Not to sound too cheesy, but by adopting a dog, you’ll be making a real difference––not only to that one animal––but to the countless others that are currently being looked after by the city’s numerous animal shelters and charities.

Unfortunately, in Hong Kong there are still many pet shops that promote cute puppies in their windows for passers-by to purchase. According to the SPCA, an AFCD report found that more than 600 puppies are being sold in pet shops in Hong Kong every month. Contrastingly, the SPCA Hong Kong––one of the largest animal charities in the city––has reported that it helps to re-home about 700 dogs every year, all of which have either been surrendered by their owners, rescued by members of the public, or taken from neglectful situations.

Similarly, Hong Kong Dog Rescue has cared for and re-homed more than 9,500 dogs since it was founded in 2003. The charity is largely funded by private donations, sales of merchandises and fundraising events. As a no-kill animal shelter, the majority of the dogs are rescued from Hong Kong Government’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD)––who have been either rescued or abandoned––or are ex-breeding dogs.

Adopting obviously changes the life of your chosen dog, but through the adoption donation fee and by supporting these organisations, you’re helping to spread the word of #adoptdontshop and offering vital monetary support.

It will encourage you to be more active

Choosing to adopt a dog will undoubtedly usher in a change of your lifestyle. Practically, a dog needs to be walked multiple times a day, so it’s the perfect excuse to get those extra steps in.

While gyms and other sports venues in the city have been closed for several months this year, having a dog means you can explore more of the city’s trails, head to a dog-friendly park or beach, or just get outside for some fresh air rather than staying cooped up indoors.

See also: 6 Dog-Friendly Hikes In Hong Kong

It can have a positive impact on your mental health

Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting partial lockdown of the city, having a dog can have a hugely positive impact on your mental health.

Not only does it force you to get out of the house––with stating that “dogs especially are great at encouraging owners to get exercise, and this can be beneficial for those suffering from depression”––but pets also provide companionship. also states that dogs “give owners company, a sense of security and someone to share the routine of the day with.” Plus, “Walking a dog often leads to conversations with other dog owners and this helps owners to stay socially connected and less withdrawn."

A recent survey by The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) found that animals “can help alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Studies have also shown that pets are facilitators of getting to know people, friendship formation and social support networks.”

See also: Hong Kong’s Best Dog-Friendly Parks And Beaches

It will make your house feel like a home

If Hong Kong isn’t your home country, or you’re away from family, adopting a dog can help to make it feel more like a home and bring a sense of permanence to your living situation.

No matter how long you’ve been in the city for, the change that bringing a pet into your home brings will be immediate. And while you may need to accept that you can’t be quite as precious about soft furnishings with a dog in your life, it will most definitely transform your house into a home.

Equally, if you’re one to frequent your local shops, bars and restaurants in your neighbourhood, it’s likely that you’ll be far more recognisable with your pooch in tow, which can help to bring about more of a convivial neighbourhood vibe that you may have been missing before.

See also: The Best Dog-Friendly Restaurants And Cafes In Hong Kong

It proves that breed isn’t everything

Many may be looking for a particular breed for numerous reasons, but––as many proud adoptive parents are sure to reiterate––it’s not all about pure breeds. Rescue dogs are unique, in more ways than one, and animal shelters and rescue groups are brimming with happy, healthy pets just waiting for someone to take them home.

Whether you opt for a "Hong Kong special" puppy, an older dog who has been surrendered, or a dog that has been rescued, each and every one will have it's own unique looks, personality and story to tell.

Hong Kong charities to adopt from and support

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