Adopt, don’t shop

Samara Anderson, Editor in Chief

When families decide to get a new dog, there are several options – for years, there has been an ongoing controversy about this subject. Two of the options are adopting from a shelter/rescue group or buying from a pet store. Many say there are pros and cons for both. In my eyes, there are only cons for buying from a pet store.

The main reason people should refrain from buying puppies at pet stores is because nearly all of them come from puppy mills (the rest come from the internet, such as Craigslist). Puppy mills are establishments that breed dogs and put money before the dog’s health. The dogs and puppies found at puppy mills are kept in tiny cages all day, in extremely poor conditions; this definitely contributes to why they have poor health. With that being said, if you buy a dog from a pet store, there is a good chance your dog will have health issues in the future. Some of these health issues include epilepsy, respiratory disorders, deafness, and blindness. Because of its solitary life in its pet store kennel, with no socialization whatsoever, the dog may have behavioral problems as well.

So why are dogs still being bred? More than two million puppies are bred in the mills each year, which is tragic and unnecessary, given the fact that about 1.2 million dogs are euthanized every year in shelters alone. Equally tragic, once mothers in the mills are no longer useful for breeding, they are shot, drowned or killed in some other cruel manner. There is absolutely no reason why people should be breeding dogs when there are millions available to adopt in shelters or with rescue groups.

Shelters or rescue groups are the way to go when one wants to get a dog. Dogs from shelters may have been strays before they were rescued, or they could have been abandoned by their owner. If you adopt from a shelter, your dog will have seen a veterinarian, been spayed/neutered and would be microchipped. It is true that some people just want a purebred dog, and I get that, but breeders are not the only way to obtain one. Up to 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred. And by adopting, you are rescuing dogs in need instead of influencing animal cruelty by buying from a pet store.

The other great way to adopt a dog is through rescue organizations. My family and I, for a year or so, have fostered dogs for Bichon Fur Kids, a rescue organization. Adopting from a rescue group ensures that your dog will be checked over by a vet, spayed/neutered and microchipped, just like shelter dogs. Some rescue groups are breed specific, so you can rescue a dog based on what breed your family desires.

So when your family decides to get a dog, I strongly encourage you to adopt, don’t shop.