By Tiana Nelson
It’s easy to get sucked into the Internet sites of breeder’s cute puppies and get pulled to the window of a pet store at the mall … while the cages at your local animal shelter may not seem as tempting — here are three reasons you should adopt, and never shop!
1. When you buy from a breeder, you encourage that breeder to breed and contribute to animal overpopulation.
2. When you buy from a pet shop, you are buying a puppy mill dog. Read about puppy mills for one second and you’ll see why that’s bad. I’ll write a blog on that topic later — just know they are evil places.
3. There are incredible animals already out there — ready for adoption and counting on you to save their lives! If you want a puppy, there are plenty for adoption already, too!
Every time I go to the shelter, I see adorable, adoptable animals sitting in cages. I’m lucky in a way because I volunteer at a no-kill rescue, but I know there are plenty of places where I could leave knowing a dog wouldn’t be there the next day. I often think how things could change — how dogs wouldn’t have to die and how we could stop the trend of having more dogs than there are possibly homes for.
On this topic, I’m beyond sugar-coating it.
It’s up to each one of us, and is directly connected to the decisions made by EACH person looking for a new pet.
I have purchased a dog from a breeder and it was honestly because I didn’t fully understand the negative impact it had, so I hope I’m not offending too many people with my next statement, but please know that I’m saying this so more people will realize why adopting is important.
When you buy a dog from a breeder — you are killing a dog — not just the deserving one you could have adopted from a shelter, but another dog could have had that dog’s place when they were adopted. You’re also giving the breeder a reason to breed again and to continue contributing animals to a society that is already over-saturated with adoptable animals.
In fact, the United States (one country, mind you), has so many animals in shelters, that is kills 3-4 million animals a year because no one wants them. Maybe not every animal could be saved by people choosing to adopt rather than buy an animal, but it would make a huge impact.
A common misperception is that shelter pets are just mutts that have behavior problems, but 25% of animals in shelters are purebreds and a lot of them have just had the misfortune of having people dump them or drop them. Fortunately for us, animals are forgiving and rebound quickly. Most of them are just happy to be with you and are eager to get a new beginning in your life.
Another huge advantage to a shelter pet (if you need more than saving a life, which will make you feel pretty good at the end of the day), is that unlike animals you would pick from a random breeder’s litter, you will know the animal’s temperament. You will know if your future family member is good with other dogs, cats, if they like kids or not … you won’t have surprises like you will with a puppy that you pick out when they are 3 weeks old.
Plus, there are millions of dogs in shelters (and thanks to technology, you can search nationwide), so there is no doubt you can hand-pick your dog if you want to — right down to the breed, temperament, height, etc.
Maybe it’s just because it is 1 a.m. and I’ve become delirious, but I can’t think of a single reason not to adopt a shelter pet and encourage everyone you know to do the same.
Even you don’t buy my argument that adopting makes a huge difference, consider this: “You may not change the world by helping one animal, but to that one animal you will certainly change their world.”
Tiana Nelson is from Denver, Colo., and started the Doggie Avenger Blog with the goal of educating people and changing their perceptions about animals. When she began volunteering at a local animal shelter, it struck her that so many people were not actively aware of animal overpopulation. She hopes to change the lives of animals one-by-one through increasing awareness and encouraging people to always adopt — never buy from a breeder or pet store, to always spay and neuter their pets, to understand the depth of animal issues and to know why all of that is important. Tiana currently works in higher education, and in her free time enjoys traveling, running, volunteering with animals, spending time with her two pugs, and her family and friends.