As I am writing this post, I have Roxy asleep on my lap with her head resting on my arm. It’s the best feeling in the world to receive love from an animal. All the love that is put into them gets given right back to us and it’s so wonderful.
Having always grown up with many pets; dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, fish, etc, I am well-versed in the needs of being a pet owner. I am an only child so instead of having siblings, I had lots of pets. Growing up with animals is so much fun and has taught me a whole lot over the years about how to properly acquire an animal and why adopting is always the best option.
Adopting an animal from a shelter or rescue wasn’t always the norm. When my mom was a child and even when I was younger, buying pets from the pet shop around the corner was the way to go. However, knowing what I know now, I would never in a million years buy a dog from a shop, puppy mill, or a breeder. It is so difficult to know for certain which breeders are ethical and which ones keep their dogs in cages in a barn and continuously breed them for financial gain. Animals are too often used for human personal gain and I do not think that it is our right to use them or treat them in any neglectful way.
When my mom was a child, they bought a dog on a whim from a pet store. My grandmother said she chose this one dog because he was calm and quiet, unlike all the other rambunctious dogs in the litter. When they brought him to the vet, they found out the reason for his lack of energy was because he was near death. He had worms, mange and many other ailments that could easily have been fatal for a young puppy. Once cured, the dog had a competely different personality. He had come from a puppy mill and sold through the pet store. Puppy mill animals are rarely given the best care and often end up in stores unhealthy and in dire need of proper veterinary care.
When I was a child we brought home a puppy from the pet store beside our local grocery store. We went in one day and they had a litter of beautiful black puppies. My dad fell in love with the dog placed in his arms and we had a new member of the family. This dog, however, always had issues. He was the runt of the litter and always felt the need to defend himself and he was never the most affectionate animal. He wasn’t aggressive or anything, but he did growl a lot when I would pet him or try to cuddle up to him when he was sleeping.
A few months ago, my boyfriend and I started fostering a pomeranian through a local rescue here in Calgary. She came from a life in a puppy mill as a baby machine, living in a cage for four years in a barn, never knowing the love or proper care of a human or getting proper training or socializing. She is four years old and still does not know how to play, and every day she is learning a little bit more about how to be a dog and how to accept love from her new family. Every little breakthrough is so special, seeing her progress every day is so wonderful and I cannot imagine going through adopting a dog any other way. She came from a place where her only use was to create puppies that would be sold for several thousand dollars. When her and her siblings were done making babies, the puppy mill got rid of them. Thankfully there was a rescue available to take them in. Before the rescue was available for these poor pomeranians, the puppy mill would destroy the dogs they had no use for. That is the single most horrible thing and it’s extremely unfair for humans to use animals for the sole purpose of making money. Those people should be ashamed of themselves.
That being said, my goal with this post and any future animal posts, is to educate people about the negative impact of puppy mills and unethical breeders on today’s society. Too many animals are neglected, abused, abandonned, given away or worse. Doing a little bit of research before choosing to buy an animal from a breeder or puppy mill would allow you to gain so much knowledge and make an informed decision before bringing in your new family member.
From my experience with rescue animals, my research and also discussing our pet’s lives with friends and family, I know there are so many reasons to look at adopting an animal from a rescue or shelter rather than searching for a specific breed from a breeder.
Here are the top five reasons to adopt/rescue an animal instead of buying one:
1. You are saving a life
The biggest reason and the most important is that by adopting a pet, you are saving that animal’s life and allowing another animal to be saved by being brought into that shelter or rescue. Bringing home a pet from a shelter or rescue means making space for another animal to be taken in and helped. There are hundreds of thousands of animals in shelters that need to be euthanized every year due to overcrowding. Too many animals are abandoned, neglected or abused and end up in these shelters and rescues that are too often full and overcapacity. There is no need for puppy mills or other means of creating more animal lives that could end up suffering. Encouraging your local shelter and rescue means saving more animal lives, getting them off the street, out of bad situations, out of harm’s way.
2. You will save money
The fact of the matter is, when you adopt a pet, you will pay an adoption fee that is used to help the shelter/rescue, help pay for your pet’s medical bills, such as vaccines and getting spayed/neutered. The cost of buying a purebred animal, whether from a certified/ethical breeder or a not-so-reliable source, will cost you north of a thousand dollars, often closer to five grand depending on the breed. Why spend that much money encouraging people to breed animals for financial gain? These animals that are sold by puppy mills are ending up with families that have the money to pay for them, not necessarily with the family that is most able to care for all their needs. Shelters and rescues always take the time to ensure the animal is being placed in a suitable home, not simply the first person that comes along with a load of cash.
3. You can help fight against puppy mills
The most detrimental way to acquire a pet is through a puppy mill. What is a puppy mill you ask? Well, it’s not a lovely place where cute dog babies run around happily in giant fields. A puppy mill is essentially a place where dogs are overbred and dogs are overproduced in order to make a profit. Conditions are horrible, dogs live in small cages, are fed food of lesser quality, and are at a higher risk of having untreated medical conditions. If you are unsure about this, google “what is a puppy mill” and you will be faced with the horrible truth of where many dogs come from. Plus, the simplest way to deter you from ever buying an animal is that by adopting you are not encouraging animal cruelty, you are actively helping those fighting against it.
4. You get to choose the ideal dog to fit into your life and home
My favorite part about adopting an animal is getting to pick one that has the ideal personality to fit into your life. You can look for a super energetic dog that would benefit from many long walks and hikes, or you can opt for a more subdued cat that prefers to be left alone but will cuddle up to you on occasion on the couch. The animals that end up in rescues or shelters get to be evaluated by experienced trainers and treated by vets. Byt the time these animals are ready to be adopted, they are healthy and ready for a new home that best fits them and their new family. The possibilities are endless when you choose to adopt instead of shopping for your pet. Some people do have misconceptions about rescues and shelters. They are under the impression that only bad dogs are given to these rescues, but that is far from the truth. Many animals are abandonned because of the owner’s situation in life, whether it be financial, a relocation, different workload, change in relationship status, etc. This is not the animal’s fault and they shouldn’t suffer because of their owner needing to give them up. Furthermore, if you are really wanting a puppy instead of an adult dog, there are all ages available for adoption.
5. You will get the biggest amount of unconditional love ever
Bringing a dog, or cat, into your home from a shelter or rescue means saving their lives, means getting them out of a bad situation and into a warm, hospitable, caring environment where they are the center of attention and the receiver of the most love they have ever received in their lives. This means that this animal that you have rescued will love you forever and show you so much love, love that will never stop and keep expanding every day. It is the most special thing to experience and I cannot recommend rescuing an animal enough. Every little breakthrough, every little progress made is the most special thing to experience and you know this animal is living its absolute best life.
If these reasons aren’t enough for you and you’re thinking to yourself, I really want breed “X, Y or Z” there are options for you. You can do some research and find a rescue that specifically deals with the breed you are looking for. You can look up breeds that are similar to the one you have your heart set on. There are always options, always other ways to acquire an animal other than buying from a breeder or puppy mill.
If you are seeking to add a new furry member to your family, I’d highly recommend looking into adopting your pet. Too many animals are euthanized every year because there are no other options for them. The only way to eleviate this is by helping these rescue organizations help as many animals as possible. I hope this post has inspired you to adopt your next pet, or at least share this information with people in your life.
I wish you all to have long beautiful and happy lives with your fur babies.