You have made the decision to bring a dog into your home! Now you must determine whether to adopt your new companion, or if you will buy a dog from a breeder or store. There are many factors to take into consideration:
- Millions of homeless dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters annually.
- You save two lives when you adopt a pet from an animal shelter or rescue group — the animal you brought home, and the one who is rescued because of space you made available.
- Animal shelters and rescue organizations are filled with a variety of well-behaved animals of all ages.
- Adopting a pet from an animal shelter is far less expensive than going to a breeder.
- Mixed-breed pets are often healthier than purebred ones, which means less in healthcare costs.
While the estimates vary, over two million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the US. Too few people spay or neuter the pets they have, too few adopt their new pets, and too many surrender their pets for various reasons. Given the limited space in most shelters, healthy animals tragically lose their lives if they aren’t adopted within a certain amount of time.
Find Your Match
Animal shelters and rescue groups have plenty of healthy, well-behaved animals waiting for a home. Most shelters examine and vaccinate animals when they arrive, and many shelters spay or neuter them before adoption. In addition to providing medical care, most shelters and rescue groups screen animals for specific temperaments and behaviors to match pets with prospective owners.
It is a common belief that animals end up in shelters because they were abused or behaved badly. In truth, most animals in shelters are there because of reasons such as divorce, moving, lack of time, or financial constraints. Surrendered animals are most often already house-trained and used to living with families.
Adopting a pet from an animal shelter is much less expensive than buying a pet at a pet store or through other sources. Buying a pet can cost thousands of dollars; adoption costs range from $50 to $375. In addition, animals from many shelters are already spayed or neutered and vaccinated, which makes the shelter’s fee a bargain.
Although many shelters and rescue groups have purebred animals, an adopted mixed-breed pet may be healthier than a purebred pet, less likely to have genetic problems, and therefore, cost less overall.
Help Stop Puppy or Kitten Mills
Puppy and kitten mills are factory-style breeding facilities that prioritize profit above the welfare of their animals. Most animals raised in these mills are housed in poor conditions with improper medical care. They are often in poor health and have ongoing behavior and health problems due to lack of human companionship and inbreeding. Mill animals are sold to unsuspecting consumers in pet stores, over the Internet, and through classified ads.
By adopting instead of buying a pet, you can take comfort in the knowledge that you aren’t supporting puppy or kitten mills. Additionally, most pet stores don’t provide any support if you have questions or problems, whereas most rescue groups and shelters are happy to help you through the introductory period.