Did you know that approximately 17 million new pets will be welcomed into people’s homes across the United States this year? Of those, some will be purchased from breeders and pet stores, and others will be rescued from pet shelters. Unfortunately, shelters pets and rescue dogs have acquired an undeserved bad reputation. Some people believe that only “bad” or aggressive dogs end up in shelters and that you never really know what you’re getting if you decide to adopt rather than buy a puppy.
Not only are these beliefs unhelpful, but they are also entirely untrue. Most people agree that once they have experienced the real but rewarding struggles of rescuing a dog, they would never again consider purchasing a puppy.
For most people, the advantages of rescuing a dog usually far outweigh the benefits of purchasing a puppy from a breeder or pet store. Read on for six excellent reasons why rescuing a dog is way better than buying one.
Benefits of Dog Rescue
You’ll Save At Least Two Canine Lives
It sounds dramatic, but it’s true: when you rescue a dog, you’re saving that dog’s life. But have you considered that you could be saving at least two canine lives for every dog that you rescue? When you adopt a dog from a shelter, you’re opening up their former place for another dog waiting to be adopted.
Similarly, the small amount that you pay the shelter when choosing a dog will in part go towards feeding and maintaining the existing dogs in the shelter, as well as potentially creating new places for other dogs in need.
You’ll Save Money and Put Your Money To Good Use At The Same Time
Adopting a dog is significantly cheaper than purchasing a new puppy, but this cost doesn’t just extend to the initial cost of buying a dog. While a rescue shelter may ask for a donation of a couple of hundred dollars, this money is usually little more than reimbursement for the compulsory vaccinations and sterilization your dog will have received before they come to live with you. Any additional funds will often go back into the shelter itself, allowing them to continue to support other dogs waiting for adoptions, and perhaps to open up new places for other dogs in need.
Some shelter dogs will already have been partly or fully trained, and all will be completely up-to-date with their vaccinations. When you compare the one-off donation required when rescuing a dog to the cost of purchasing a new puppy, sterilizing, micro-chipping, and vaccinating them, you’ll see that adopting a dog is a serious money saver.
A Silent Protest Against Puppy Mills
If you’ve ever seen footage taken undercover inside a puppy mill, you will know the inhumane conditions in which the adult dogs and puppies are forced to exist. And while you may have thought that you would never support a puppy mill, the fact is that the majority of puppies sold in pet stores and flea markets, and from advertisements online and in the newspaper, actually come from puppy mills, regardless of the story they tell you.
No one would willingly support a puppy mill, yet those running these unscrupulous businesses know how to lure unsuspecting pet lovers. They spin tales of puppies being bred on farms or in lovely homes with backyards, while the actual conditions from which your puppy has originated may horrify you.
Every time you rescue a dog, you’re taking your business away from these terrible puppy mills and the criminals who operate them.
Your Mental Health Will Thank You For It
People have known for decades that the unconditional love, companionship, and even forced exercise that comes from owning a pet can help increase a person’s happiness levels. Recently, however, specific studies have been undertaken, which conclusively showed the link between pet adoption and depression or addiction recovery. Whether it’s the unconditional love offered by a dog or the sense of fulfillment and purpose that comes from focusing on the needs of someone other than your own, it is now common knowledge that pet ownership makes people feel happier.
Choose The Right Dog For You
A widely held misconception about rescue dogs is that, when you rescue someone else’s former pet, you never really know what you’re getting. The exact opposite is true. When you buy a puppy from a breeder, pet store, or an ad online or in the newspaper, all you know about the puppy is how old they are, their breed, and perhaps some information about their parents. Even if you can view the parents or even get some pedigree papers, you have no idea about the puppy’s temperament. Even within a single litter, some puppies will be more dominant or confident than others, while others will show signs of being shy or reserved. Until that puppy grows into an adult dog, you won’t have any real idea of their temperament, likes, and dislikes, or their friendliness with strangers and other animals.
When you choose to rescue a dog, however, the pet shelter or rescue group will help you find the perfect dog to suit your circumstances and your lifestyle. The staff and volunteers at pet shelters will have spent significant time with each dog and will have a reasonably good understanding of their temperament. These people are in the best position to advise you of the perfect dog for you when you’re considering adopting a pet, especially if you’ve got small children in the house.
In some circumstances, you may be able to spend a few days with the dog you’re considering adopting to see if you’re a good fit for each other. That’s the kind of opportunity you can’t have if you purchase a puppy from a breeder or pet store.
Give An Innocent Dog A Second Chance At Happiness
Perhaps the most prevalent – and untrue – beliefs about rescue dogs is that only dogs who are disobedient, aggressive, or otherwise unsuitable to be a family pet end up in a pet shelter. The reality is that most animals find themselves up for adoption through no fault of their own. The dogs may have been abandoned by previous owners who underestimated the time and expense involved in raising a dog. Or they have been left behind following an interstate move, or their previous owner died. There is a multitude of reasons why a dog may find themselves out of a home, and in almost all cases, the dog is an innocent victim of their circumstances.
While a rescue dog may have been through a lot at their former home, most rescued dogs come through without any emotional or physical problems. They are only looking for a loving home where they can feel safe and protected. And in return, they’ll give you a lifetime of love and friendship.
If you’re still thinking of purchasing a puppy rather than rescuing, consider making a list of all your perceived benefits of buying rather than adopting. Now that you have a greater understanding of how dog rescue works, go through your list and see if your reasons still hold up. For example, you may have thought that only senior dogs or dangerous breeds are available for rescue, but you now know that this isn’t necessarily true.
Rescue dogs and pet shelters have received a highly undeserved bad reputation, and it will take the collective efforts of everyone to educate themselves and others about the reality of dog rescue and why, in the majority of situations, adoption is the best choice. You can do your bit by rescuing a dog rather than buying one while reaping the rewards of dog rescue at the same time.
“6 Reasons Why Rescuing a Dog is Way Better Than Buying One”
Guest Writer: James Woller is a long-time dog enthusiast, and co-owner of Release the Hounds and Jet Pet Resort, professional dog walking and boarding companies in Vancouver, Canada. On his days off from running his companies, he enjoys learning and writing about topics that are of interest to caring pet owners. James is also the executive director of Thrive For Good, a non-profit movement to secure organic food and natural medicine in impoverished countries.
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