The following was seen on a NJ shelter's Petfinder page. It's author, who is unknown, could not have said it better!
Important Note to our Adopters:
Lassie, Cleo, Rin Tin Tin and Toto don't show up at our shelter. We don't get the elegantly coiffed, classically beautiful, completely trained, perfectly behaved dog. We get the leftovers. Dogs that other people have incompetently bred, inadequately socialized, ineffectively "trained," and badly treated. Most shelter dogs have had it. They've been pushed from one lousy situation to another. They've never had proper veterinary care, kind and consistent training, or sufficient company. They've lived outside, in a crate, or in the basement. They're scared, depressed and anxious. Some are angry. Some are sick. Some have given up.
But we are try our best and we don't give up. We know that a dog is a living being, with a spirit and a heart and feelings. Our dogs are not commodities, things, or garbage. They are part of sacred creation and they deserve as much love and care and respect as the next Westminster champion. So please, please don't come to our shelter in the hopes of getting a "bargain," or the idea of "getting" just anything.
Come to our shelter to give, to love, to save a life -- and to mend your own spirit. For adoption will reward you in ways you never thought possible. I can promise you this -- a shelter dog will make you a better person.