“Adopt, don’t shop” is an often used phrase for rescues everywhere who want to encourage adoption of dogs instead of buying a dog from a breeder or puppy store. Why would you want to consider adoption instead of buying a dog? There are many reasons but the most important is the huge number of animals who are euthanized each year because they don’t have a home.
Each year, over 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats that come into shelters are euthanized just because there aren’t enough people who consider adoption when looking for a pet. This number could be dramatically reduced if more people were open to adoption instead of wanting to buy a pet. When you adopt, you not only save a life, but you open up a spot in that shelter so they can take in another animal that needs it.
You can find any breed or age of dog you want in rescue, from puppies, to purebreds. For example, as a lover of the Golden Retriever breed, I can go to sites like Petfinder.com or any Golden Retriever rescue group and find any number of retrievers available for adoption from puppies to seniors.
When you adopt a dog, you’ll spend a lot less than you would if you were to purchase a dog. Puppies purchased can cost up to several thousand dollars depending on the breed. The cost to adopt a dog is generally along the lines of a few hundred dollars and often includes the cost of spay/neuter, micro-chipping, and some vaccines. It may also include some training sessions. And unlike breeders or puppy stores, if you have questions or issues after the adoption, the rescue group will be there to support you. Reputable breeders should do this, but puppy stores won’t.
Instead of buying that cute puppy from a puppy store, when you adopt, you’re not giving money to the huge puppy mill industry. Puppy mills are essentially factory style mass production breeding facilities. They are in it only for the money. Breeding females in puppy mills are housed in horrible conditions in cages without human interaction or proper medical care, and are bred over and over with the sole intent of producing puppies. The puppies they produce are not socialized, and are often sick or have behavioral issues. These are the puppies you’ll find for sale in puppy stores, online, in flea markets, and some classified ads.
Shelters are full of wonderful dogs that were surrendered through no fault of their own. Instead, the reasons for surrender are generally due to something going on with the family’s circumstances – such as the arrival of a baby, they’re moving, going through a divorce, they don’t have time for the dog, etc. Frankly I think the majority of these excuses are ridiculous; these same people wouldn’t turn their child in for those reasons, so why relinquish their dog? These people view dogs as disposable and that’s sad. But in rescue, these same dogs have the opportunity to find a home where they will be totally loved and valued.
If you are looking to add a dog or cat to your family, you have a great opportunity to see a lot of different animals at the ninth annual RescueFest, being held on Saturday, Jan. 28, at beautiful Lake Lily Park in Maitland. This fundraiser promotes adoption of homeless pets, and seeks to raise awareness of the homeless pet issue. It’s a fun family friendly event. We’ll be there and we hope to see you as well!
Sherri Cappabianca, an expert in the field of canine health and fitness, is the author of two books on canine health, and co-owner of Rocky’s Retreat, an intimate and personal boarding, daycare, hydrotherapy and fitness center, and Barking Dog Fitness, a Gym for Dogs, both located in Orlando. For more information, visit rockysretreat.com or barkingdogfitness.com