Genevieve Howard is a local author and lifelong dog lover. She works as a communications professional at the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. She and her husband, Logan, are well outnumbered by their seven pets, six of which were adopted. Mufasa, nicknamed "Ears," is the newest member of the family.

When we wanted to get a second dog, we knew we would choose adopting a pet over buying one. Why?

1. You can save a life.

Where else can you actually save a life? Every year, millions of healthy, adoptable animals are euthanized for lack of homes.

2. You can save money.

We are lucky to have a large number of animal shelters and organizations in Missouri. Whether you are looking for a pony, a dog or a cat, it’s easy to find just the right pet for your lifestyle. When you adopt, your pet will be spayed or neutered and have all its shots. Many groups also microchip and give a starter bag of food.

3. You can be inspired.

A friend found a Chihuahua mix online and sent me the link to a puppy named Mufasa.

He had a terrible start in life. Left to starve in a dumpster, he ate plastic in desperation. He shivered in sub-freezing temperatures. A kind person caught him and a rescue organization called Paws Crossed Inc. nursed him back to health.

As he started to gain his strength back, vets found that he had a heart condition that would be fatal without surgery. The University of Missouri Veterinary Health Center had the expertise to fix his heart and offered a discount to rescue organizations so Paws Crossed Inc. raised thousands of dollars for him to have the surgery there.

We’re fortunate to have a clinic in mid-Missouri with world-class specialists. They performed surgery on Mufasa in January and successfully saved him. His vet said he had a problem with his patient. Every time he went to check on him in his kennel, he wasn’t there because the vet students were carrying him around the clinic. That is the kind of sweet dog he is!

We adopted our new pup, Mufasa, on February 20. Today he is a happy, healthy, lively pup who loves to run and play with his toys. Despite a brutal start filled with neglect, he adores people and showers them with puppy kisses whenever he can.

When I look at him, I see more than a puppy. I see the kindness of all the people who helped him. From the woman who noticed him starving and trapped in the dumpster, to the volunteers of Paws Crossed Inc., to the vet students who helped with his heart surgery, they pulled together to help a vulnerable creature thrive.

To me, he’s a dog that represents the best of humanity.

Adopt your next pet, give his story a happy ending and become a hero!

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Makenzie Koch

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