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finding fur-ever: why adoption matters

  • Dr. Kim
  • Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on
    Staff Veterinarian and Pet Health Writer of Petplan

You’ve sat down with your family, examined your finances and free time, and finally made the decision: you’re going to get a pet! 

Making the decision to add a new pet to the family also means considering where to go to find your newest family member.  With so many options available, it is hard where to turn.  Below are some of the common ways you can acquire a new pet. Regardless of which you ultimately choose, it is always wise to consider all of your choices before making a commitment.


Rescue Me

Every year in the United States, five-to-seven MILLION pets are relinquished into shelters.  And every year, more than half of these pets are euthanized.  It is important to remember that most of these pets are not bad pets, but likely had owners who could no longer care for them.  They rely on us for their second chance.


Shelters often have puppies, but don’t forget to consider adopting an adult pet. You’ll avoid the challenges that puppies bring (like potty training and chewing on your shoes), and an adult dog’s size and temperament is already apparent at the time of adoption.  Usually adult dogs are spayed or neutered prior to adoption, and some of them are also already microchipped.


Adopting from a shelter is a cost-effective way of adding a pet to your family.  Most of the time, the cost of adoption covers spaying/neutering and vaccines in an adult dog.  When compared to the hundreds or thousands of dollars you could spend on a purebred puppy from a breeder, that’s quite a bargain! 


When you adopt from a shelter, you are saving a pet’s life. These are lonely pets who deserve the second chance that you can give them. If you are looking for a specific breed, remember that shelters often have purebred dogs. There are also breed specific rescue groups for almost every breed.


Breed all about it

If you have made the decision to buy a puppy from a breeder, be sure to do your research.  Find a breed that fits well with your family, and go to a reputable breeder.  Start with your veterinarian.  Ask if he or she knows of any breeders for your specific breed.  If he or she doesn’t, visit the American Kennel Club website for help in finding a reputable breeder.  Be prepared to pay a pretty penny, though.  Good breeders have good dogs, and they charge appropriately for them.  Beware the breeder who seems to have “cheap” puppies.  You pay for what you get. 


What’s in store? 

If you are considering visiting a pet store for one-stop shopping, choose one that partners with a local rescue to offer adoption services rather than pet sales. The puppies sold at some pet stores come from puppy mill situations that focus more on profits than on the well-being of the dogs. If you have ever seen images from a puppy mill, you know what I mean. 


In my opinion, adoption makes sense. You are not adding to the problem of pet overpopulation, and you are saving a life. Wonderful things happen when you are willing to adopt a dog or cat from a shelter or rescue group.

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Posted by Karen terry
on September 03 2015 18:11

We bought a Westie (R.I.P.) from A lady in Covington, Ga approx 13 yrs ago- something didn't feel right but after 2 hr drive with three happy kids- we gave the $750. Omg our baby Maggie was terrified if we tried to touch her and she would walk around edge of rooms - she bit very early on- BUT we loved her and she was part of our family, but if ANYONE came over we had to place her in my room. She had terrible skin and so many signs of puppy mill dog BUT we had no idea until after we bought her. She got a tumor on brain- bless her heart she was 12 and her last few weeks she bit me out of blue many times- this was from tumor. Now I have a sweet mutt and a shih tzu (full blooded and great friend of mine had a few litters not a breeder) both so sweet. BUT OUR boxer/mix (vet said mixed with several breeds) OMG my daughter adopted from shelter and I was livid- dog is a giant- SWEETEST LOVING MOST GENTLE SMART GIANT DOG EVER!!! Her time woulda been up in two days! She is perfect!! PLEASE PLEASE GIVE SHELTER DOGS A CHANCE!! Our girl was one year old but very large- SHE IS A BIG BABY LAP DOG!! Always give those larger dogs at shelter a chance- because I adore all my babies but our shelter girl is the sweetest dog I've ever known ❤️

Posted by Lisa Ladonski
on September 01 2015 15:19

I just wanted to say thank you for not making families who choose to go through reputable breeders for their puppies feel like jerks. We have been turned down by shelters for adoption because we live "too close" to a large cornfield. I guess they thought we were going to let the pup roam alone at night (which we would not, of course! Sometimes, shelters don't approve families for whatever reason, and breeders are our best chance.

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