So yesterday was my birthday and someone asked me, if I could have anything in the world, what would it be? So I thought and thought and decided: Ice cream. No, donuts. Wait, I had that for breakfast. Ok, a Lamborghini!? Silliness. What I really, really want, in all seriousness, is for people to view shelter dogs as the amazing gems that they really are and to adopt, not shop.
As not only the proud parent of a shelter dog (and a stray-turned-pet, and a foster), but also someone that spends the vast majority of her time attempting to help homeless dogs, I have loads and loads of first-hand knowledge about just how wonderful these dogs are. So, in an attempt to
violently shove ease people into seeing things through my eyes, here is a list of my top 10 reasons why I think you should adopt, not shop. Ready?
1. YOU ARE SAVING A LIFE. (Do I even need to elaborate on this?)
2. They know they owe their life to you and will love you harder than any store bought puppy ever could. You will be their savior. You, quite literally, are saving them and I promise you they do know it. This is a bond that until you have experienced, you just can’t fully grasp.
3. You are not supporting a puppy mill or back-yard breeder. These people view dogs as a source of income and usually force the dogs to live in conditions that would shock you. Puppies are rarely given proper medical care and the parents are treated worse. They are usually left in cages with barely any time outside to stetch their legs (often leading to severe joint pain among a variety of other health problems) and rarely any human contact. Once they are no longer of use to the breeder they are usually killed or dropped at a shelter. How can anyone support this? It’s pure cruelty.
4. You save money! Most shelters or rescues charge around $100 which generally includes spay/neuter, current vaccines, and microchipping. Breeders rarely even have the puppies up to date on shots so you will be paying out of pocket for everything. Plus, they will charge you anywhere from $200-$2,000 (and sometimes more) for their pure-bred puppy. Now add to that the fact that I swear mutts are healthier (pure-breds are often inbred which can lead to major health issues) and over the long run you will save significantly in vet bills. Add that all up and you are looking at a huge savings over the life of your dog.
5. But you have to have a pure-bred such-and-such. Ok, well guess what? They too end up at shelters and rescues all the time! A simple Google search and I guarantee you can find a rescue group for your breed of choice. Even if they aren’t in the same city you are, they can arrange transport. These people are passionate and they will go to lengths you can’t believe to get a dog to a good home whether it’s across town or across the country. And check out your local shelter. I promise you, they’re there too.
6. Adopt an older dog. Avoid potty-training. Avoid teething. Know the size and personality you are getting. Enjoy a more relaxed and mellow dog. Be the happy ending to a dogs rough life. The list is endless but I think you get the picture.
7. You are opening up a space in the shelter so another dog can live. Many shelters, whether or not you realize it, are kill shelters which means that once they hit capacity they just start euthanizing dogs. First in line are usually the “bully” breeds (I think we all know how I feel about them by now), older dogs, or dogs that have any sort of health issue. Why are these dogs any less deserving of life? If you ask me, and I’m sure this will ruffle some feathers, if anything I think these types of dogs are more deserving of life. They have seen the bad. Shouldn’t they get to see good before they leave this earth?
8. You are breaking the cycle. This definitely relates back to #3 and not supporting a breeder or puppy-mill but let’s examine this from an economic stance. We all understand supply and demand at the basic level, yes? Well, by removing the demand (buying that puppy from the breeder) you hit them where it hurts the most, their pocket book. Eventually there is less reason for them to create a supply. They aren’t breeding for their love of dogs, they are doing it for the money and if the puppies aren’t selling, they aren’t making money. Makes sense, right? Now, I know this isn’t something that will change overnight but we have to start somewhere and what better time than now?
9. It makes you cool. Yea, I said it, you will be much cooler if you adopt a dog. You now get to tell everyone you meet about how you saved this dogs life and I’m tellin you, it’s much more impressive than telling them you bought it from a breeder. You get to be a hero!
10. Rescues are beautiful, inside and out. Just look at the pictures of dogs throughout this post. Not a single one is pure-bred but you would be crazy to say they aren’t beautiful. I might be biased but I also have heard it from enough other people that I know I’m right. And these are just a few. There are literally entire books dedicated to beautiful rescue dogs.
11. YOU ARE SAVING A LIFE. Oh, I already mentioned that? Well it’s a big deal. It’s a big deal to the dog. It’s big deal to the rescue worker you are getting the dog from. It’s a big deal to the people you will inspire. And it should be a very big deal to you.
Any minds changed yet? I sure hope so. And if you want to do something for my birthday, share this with your friends. The more people that see it the better chance it has of changing someone’s mind. Thanks!