Adopt, Don’t Shop

6.5 million animals enter U.S. animal shelters every year.

A sad scared dog behind bars in a shelter

A sad scared dog behind bars in a shelter

Have you heard of the slogan “Adopt, Don’t Shop?”  Do you know what is behind this animal rights movement?

Why would you adopt a pet rather than purchase one from a pet store?  Here are some details to keep in mind and to help better understand the “Adopt, Don’t Shop” philosophy.

Puppies from pet stores come from puppy mills or commercial breeding facilities that focus on profit, not on the health or welfare of the animal.  Puppy mills are legal but unregulated.  The conditions in these puppy mills are unethical and nauseating.

The living conditions are filthy.  Dogs are forced to live, eat and sleep in the same crate they go to the bathroom in.  They do not get adequate vet care and many live in pain with injuries and ailments.  Female dogs are bred frequently with little or no recovery time between pregnancies.

According to recent data from the SPCA approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.3 million are dogs.  Reasons range from the dog grew bigger than they expected to my non-shedding doodle sheds.  Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats).

Owning a dog can enrich a family’s experience and bring incredible love to each member.  This is why 44% of all households in the US own a dog.  Knowing that most breeders have very low standards, still 34% of our loyal companions come from these conditions and only 23% of these dogs come from shelters.

Animal Welfare advocates and encourages all families to consider the benefits of adopting a pet from a shelter.  First, you are saving a life by giving a dog a happy life and freeing up a spot at the shelter for another dog in need.

Another benefit is that you can find a fully trained dog.  Training a puppy can be frustrating and extremely time consuming.  Rescuing an adult dog that is house trained and understands basic commands could be a better fit for your busy family.

Shelters work hard to gain as much information about the dog’s behavior as possible.  They test activity level, interactions with children and other pets, responses to strangers and many others to determine the personality of the dog.  This allows you to match the qualities that you are looking for before you add to your family.

Shelter dogs are less expensive and come in all ages and breeds.  By the way, an estimated 30% of dogs in rescues are purebred. A final reason to adopt is to help fight puppy mills.  Adopting a dog from a shelter or a reputable breeder takes business away from puppy mills.

If you are not interested in adding a puppy or dog to your family but are concerned about 1.5 million animals euthanized each year remember this: “If you can’t adopt, foster.  If you can’t foster, sponsor.  If you can’t sponsor, volunteer.  If you can’t volunteer, donate.  If you can’t donate, educate to spread awareness.”