Hey guys! Long time no see, sorry about my slight hiatus. This year has felt like a whirlwind of chaos. As you probably know, we traveled for most of January and then received our next assignment shortly after. So, life this month has been spent trying to figure out all of the logistics of our move. But, I’m back and in the spirit of national love your pet day I wanted to touch upon a subject I’m beyond passionate about…dogs.
Choosing to add a new family member to your pack is a huge decision and not one you should take lightly. Dogs need love, vet care (which can add up quickly), exercise, and sometimes training. Life expectancy varies but many can live up to 15-20 years. If you’re considering getting a dog you should be able to care for it during it’s entire lifespan so if you’re expecting any life events will hinder you from doing this, please don’t get one.
One of the biggest questions to ask yourself when choosing a dog is whether to adopt or purchase from a breeder/pet shop. I believe the answer should always be to adopt from your local shelter or dog rescue.
- You’d be saving a life. Shelters are overcrowded and are forced to euthanize adoptable dogs to make space. This is a hot topic for many but the only people to blame for this reality is the public, for not spaying and neutering their pets. Millions of dogs, of all breeds and sizes, die every year in animal shelters across America. These numbers would be drastically reduced if more people adopted rather than turning to a local breeder.
- Breeding is a business. Some breeders do not take care of their dogs. The idea is to make a profit off the sale of the puppies while keeping the cost of raising/vetting the puppies and mom down. This means many dogs aren’t taken care of properly and in some cases live awful lives. Of course, some breeders take care of their animals, but contributing to pet overpopulation to make a few bucks will never be called “responsible breeding” in my book.
- You can find dogs of every breed and size in animal shelters. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen a seemingly purebred dog in an animal shelter I’d be a rich woman. People tend to shy away from shelter adoptions because they want a status symbol or have a love for a specific breed. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can find your lab or retriever at an animal shelter. It might take a little looking but getting a dog shouldn’t be a snap decision anyway.
- You can find the traits you’re looking for in a mixed breed. Although you can find dogs that look purebred in shelters I will urge you to at least consider a “mutt.” Dogs that are mixed breeds can be just as loyal, cuddly, and friendly as dogs that are purebred. Many people think shelter dogs come with baggage but the truth is that any dog can develop behavior problems and just because you get a dog from a breeder or a pet store doesn’t mean they are exempt from that truth.
- Mutts can actually be healthier and live longer lives than purebred dogs. There’s a lot of medical mumbo jumbo that goes with this but you should google it.
- There are adult dogs there! Adult or even adolescent dogs make amazing additions to a family. Since they are older they sometimes are already potty trained and you eliminate that tedious “puppy phase.” You also get a chance to see their personality as adults. If you get a puppy you don’t know what type of personality they will have as adult dogs so you’re more likely to pick the dog that matches your lifestyle if they are already fully grown.
- You become part of the solution. If you adopt from an animal shelter you are giving two homeless animals second chances, the dog you’re adopting and the dog that will will now have a kennel because you’ve adopted. If more people did this our shelters wouldn’t be bursting at the seams. Your good choice could even encourage your friends and family to make the same decision.
- It’s super affordable. While I don’t think you should get a dog only because of a cheap price tag there is something to be said for affordability. Animal shelters aren’t in the business of making money and often times the adoption fee only covers a portion of their care. Adoption fees from shelters and even some rescue groups can be much less than buying from a breeder. We adopted our dog from our local shelter in Fort Worth, Texas for a whopping $10!
- Consider adopting from a reputable rescue group. Now, not all rescues are created equal but many rescue groups save dogs off death row and place them in foster homes until they are healthy and ready for adoption. They even have coordinators who devote their time specifically to matching dogs with the right families. One of my favorite groups to foster for is Lucky Lab Rescue. They have huge hearts and take great care of every dog.
- The options are endless. When you buy from a breeder or a pet store the selection is often limited but when you adopt from a rescue or shelter there are literally thousands to choose from!
I could probably go on and on but these are my top reasons to choose shelter or rescue dogs. The same really applies to cats as well so if they are your thing consider these too. It’s important for everyone to know that I didn’t write this post to shame anyone, I have numerous of friends who have chosen to buy from breeders. I’ve developed my opinion about this subject after years of volunteer work and being knee deep in the reality of over population. I don’t blame anyone for choosing a pet store or breeder since they haven’t seen the things that I have. I do hope that sharing my opinion about the topic will convince them to reconsider and open people’s eyes about shelter/rescue animals.