The holidays are quickly approaching. And in a city full of gypsies, wanderers, and escapees from colder climates, that can mean a lot of folks are about to fall into a seasonal pit of loneliness and despair.
Luckily, nothing cures the I-miss-my-family blues like the unconditional love of a pet. And shelter pets are the best pets of all. They need you, you need them...equal footing makes for the best relationships.
On that note, this weekend is the Miami ASPCA Mega-Match-a-thon at Tropical Park. Starting at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, it's 24 hours of adorable adoptables, just waiting for you to come snuggle. Here are ten reasons to find your new best friend at this weekend's cornucopia of cute.
10. Mutts are the best.
While shelter pets come in all different breeds (both purebreds and mixes are always available), we've gotta give a shout out to mutts. Mixed breeds are a melting pot of lots of different pedigrees (just like most humans). Being mixed means they generally avoid health problems that can plague particular purebreds, and anyone who's ever owned a mutt will rave about how totally amazing they are.
9. Pet stores are bad news.
As cities start voting to ban the sale of commercially bred pets altogether (North Miami Beach did so back in May, and Miami might follow suit soon), the time is now to turn to adoption. Shelters have every size, shape, breed, age and temperament you could think of -- sans the inbreeding and disease issues you often encounter at puppy mill-sourced pet stores.
8. MDAS has been working to go No-Kill. You can help.
Every dog or cat that leaves the shelter alive means Miami is one step closer to saving all of its healthy homeless pets. Don't you want to help that amazing legacy along?
7. The Miami Heat dancers will be at the event. So will Billy the Marlin.
Something for Dad, something for the kiddos. Everybody wins.
Adopting a shelter pet is already the best deal EVER, but in honor of this festive event, MDAS adoption fees will be even more affordable. Fees will be slashed at least by half, says the shelter staff.
5. You can't beat the selection.
The event is going to feature dozens of adoptable dogs and cats from Miami-Dade Animal Services (MDAS), the Cat Network, the Humane Society of Greater Miami and other rescue groups. They'll have every size, color, shape, breed, age and personality you could possibly imagine. And they'll be bringing in new pets as the day progresses.
4. If you get hungry, they'll have food trucks on site.
Cheese fries and a new kitty to cuddle with? This could become the best day of your life.
3. You can adopt a pet at 3 a.m.
Seriously. This is a 24-hour event, so if insomnia strikes, you can head to Tropical Park in your PJs and pick out a cutie-pie to help you sleep.
2. Parking is free.
How often do you hear those words in the 305?
1. Adoption saves lives.
In all seriousness, folks, WAY too many homeless pets are put to death every year. Every time you adopt, you're saving a life. How many people (besides doctors) get to reap those kinds of karmic rewards?
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.
Send your story tips to Cultist at firstname.lastname@example.org.