Thinking of adding a pet to your family? Here are five reasons to adopt your new best friend.

1. If you adopt, you'll save a life

Around 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States each year, simply because too many people give up their pets and too few people adopt from shelters. Many shelters are at capacity, and staff members sometimes need to make very hard decisions to euthanize animals that haven't been adopted.

It seems everywhere that Kiva goes, folks fall for her pretty face. People want to pet her and ask about her breed, while children smile and joke about the song “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” Kiva is a popular girl in Bluffton, but more importantly, she is the longtime friend and companion of Brittany Orr.

If you are heading to Brighton Beach in Bluffton, you might have seen cute little pig grazing in the yard of a house on Alljoy Road — and then you probably did a touble take, as most people do. That’s Lila the pig, owned by Diane Owens and Walter “Wally” Sumner.

“I called her my chemo pig,” Owens said. “She was my companion and kept me going when I was battling cancer, and now she has become kind of the neighborhood mascot. Everybody loves Lila.”

Some of the best teachers of humanity aren’t human at all — they’re our canine companions. In his novel “By His Side: Tales of Love and Loyalty Between a Man and His Dogs,” Brian David Kolowich brings this concept to light as the reader views life through the eyes of Kolowich’s springer spaniel, Georgia, and her mixed-breed son Batman, as well as other dog characters like Batman’s brother Chai.

Melanie Steele raises championship greyhounds at her Bluffton home. But in February, a litter of 5-day-old puppies kept her from traveling to New York City for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

From her computer, she watched as her 3-year-old show dog GrandCru Giaconda pranced across the green carpet at The Piers to win the Westminster Best of Breed award.

It’s written on the side of the truck, but for Dan Fuller and the dogs of Urban Search and Rescue, it means a little more.

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To you, it’s a beach. It smells like a beach. Maybe you catch some salt in the air, but otherwise it just kind of … smells like a beach.

dog-loving-community5Hilton Head Humane Association dogs in Canines for Service program

The Canines for Service program provides a service dog to approved veterans, helping empower those with disabilities to attain a high level of independence and improve their quality of life through these special service dogs.

The training to become a Canines for Service graduate takes 10 months to a year. During that time the dogs learn more than 90 commands that range from all levels, the easiest being the basic obedience skills.

Some dogs go above and beyond for their people. Just ask 9-year-old Lea Sheeran.

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Those of us who are “dog people” know that life is measured in dogs. There was the shaggy protector who sat watch by your childhood bed during thunderstorms. The pooch who would come bounding out the door when you’d visit home from college. The curious puppy who greeted your first born with an apprehensive sniff and a face full of kisses.

dog-loving-communityHilton Head has long been known as a family-friendly vacation destination, and now more than ever families are choosing to stay and play with their four-legged family members in tow.

kittycontrolThe Palmetto Animal League and Bluffton Community Cat Rescue will work together to save local feral cat communities

Mary Clover has tirelessly cared for the local feral cat colonies for the past 45 years with her own blood, sweat, tears and money.

Her retirement, while well deserved, leaves a void in feral cat care in the Lowcountry.