Adopt, Don’t Shop!
10 Reasons You Should Adopt Your New Best Friend

by Brittany A. Hesser

So, you’ve done it! You’ve put in the labor to get everyone in your home on board, you’ve done your research, and you’ve decided you’re ready for a new addition to your home. You are going to bring a new pet into the family! After all, a house is not a home without a dog (or cat!). But now you face a new dilemma: where are you going to find your new four-legged family member?

With so much information out there, it can be very overwhelming deciding where to find your new pet. Going to a pet store seems like an easy option, but you’ve heard some stuff about pet stores and that just doesn’t feel right to you… Maybe a breeder? Oh, or some friend of a friend’s distant cousin whose dog just had puppies…

Or maybe, this thing called adoption. You’ve heard a lot about it, you’ve seen some of your friends advocate adoption and animal rescue., but you’re not quite sure if adoption is right for you and your family… there are so many “what-ifs!”

Well, I’m here to tell you that adoption is the absolute best way to go when adding a new member to your family, and here are ten reasons why:

(1) Every day, 5,500 dogs are killed in shelters because of overcrowding.

It’s really as simple as that. We have a serious problem with overpopulation, and because of it, dogs and cats are killed every single day just to make room for the next thousand to come in and wait in line to die. According to the ASPCA, 31% of dogs who enter the shelter system are euthanized, along with 41% of cats.

The euthanasia rates among animals are not evenly distributed. Pitbull-type dogs are euthanized more than any other breed, with only 1 out of every 600 who enter the shelter system leaving alive. Animals with black and brindle fur also face discrimination, dogs and cats alike, and are less likely to get adopted than their multi-colored and lighter-colored counterparts.

When you adopt, you challenge these statistics, and give life to an animal who was, essentially, sitting helplessly on death row. Victoria J. of Long Island says “I rescued because I went to visit a high kill shelter [and] seeing those sad faces that were going to be put to death [in] less than 24 hours [was] reason enough.”

(2) Adopting saves two lives- the life of the animal you adopt, and the life of the animal who will take his/her spot in the shelter/rescue system.

We just talked about the millions of animals that die annually in shelters across the United States. Devastating as these statistics are, they don’t have to be that way forever! You can make a difference and save lives by adopting.

When you adopt, you are saving two lives: the life of the animal you adopted, and the life of the animal who will take his/her place. This is especially true when you adopt from an animal rescue group, who will be able to pull another animal from the shelter system to safety because of the space created by your decision to adopt.

(3) When you adopt from a rescue, your family will always have that rescue’s guidance and support, should you need it.

When adding a pet to your family, you’re making a commitment, and, as with any commitment, it’s important to look towards the future. Let’s say a behavioral problem comes up, or an allergy in the family, or some other problem that you don’t know how to deal with.

If you bought your dog at a puppy store or from a backyard breeder, you can be certain to receive no help from them. However, if you adopted your pet from a rescue, then that rescue will forever be there to help your family.

Road to Home Rescue Support (RTH) provides a contract to all adopters, and in that contract they describe training recommendations and means of contacting representatives at the rescue should a problem arise, among other things. RTH keeps in contact with all of their adopters to ensure that the transition is going smoothly and the dog/cat is happily integrating into the home.

(4) Training a puppy can be very hard…

When you get a puppy, it’s hard to know how that pup will behave as an adult dog. You need to worry about temperament and personality, but you also have to think about potty training, teething, obedience training, etc..

When you adopt an adult dog, they often already come with experience. Many of the dogs in shelters come from homes, and thus are already house-trained and have at least some level of obedience training. If you adopt a dog from a foster home, you’ll get even more insight into that dog’s training and personality, and you’ll know exactly what to expect when bringing that dog into your home!

According to a representative from Road to Home Rescue Support, they provide the majority of their dogs with training experiences, either in training facilities or in their foster homes. Because of this, these dogs are ready to start life with you in your home with little to no “puppy problems!” Many other rescues and shelters provide their animals with training opportunities, as well as mandatory behavioral evaluations, so you can’t go wrong!

(5) …but, shelters have puppies too!

That’s all fine and dandy, but you really want a puppy… No worries! If you’ve got your heart set on adopting and raising a dog from a young age, then you’ll be happy to know that shelters and rescues have puppies, too!

Now of course, puppies move faster than adult dogs, so you’ll need to explore a little more than you might otherwise, but puppies need rescuing, too, and you can without a doubt find a homeless puppy in desperate need of a person like you!

And we’re not discriminating against any of our fellow kitty lovers out there! Shelters and rescues are often inundated with kittens during what is referred to as “Kitten Season” (which typically will range from early Spring into Fall). If you want a young kitten to raise in your family, then by all means, adopt that kitten!

(6) Buying a dog from a puppy store supports the deplorable puppy mill conditions that dog came from.

Patricia E. of Long Island says “No real and reputable breeder sells their dogs to pet stores. Think adoption first,” and we have to agree with her. If you’re purchasing a dog from a puppy store, then you are giving your money to the abusers who run puppy mills.

While the puppies in the store look cute, they are often unhealthy, and worse, their parents are trapped in horrific conditions, often never seeing sunlight or having their paws touch grass. They are forced to reproduce constantly, and once they are no longer able to, they are tossed away like garbage.

We will talk more about this a little later, but if you are fully committed to purchasing a dog, then do it right: go to a reputable, licensed breeder. Never buy an animal from a puppy store.

(7) You WOULD adopt, but you have a specific breed in mind? That’s no excuse!

When people think about the typical “shelter dog,” they often think of a mutt. But, in reality, 35% of dogs in shelters are purebred! In addition to that, there are breed-specific rescues for nearly every breed of dog. Large breed, small breed, purebred, designer mixed breed, you name it– you can be sure there’s one in a shelter or rescue who needs you!

If at first you don’t succeed, then try try again. Don’t look at one shelter and assume you’ll never find the breed of dog you want. Go to multiple rescues/shelters, and use online tools like or to find adoptable dogs in your area. It is more than possible to find the breed you’re looking for; if you’re committed to rescuing a specific breed, then there is nothing that can stop you!

(8) Let’s talk about money.

Say what you will, money matters. We would never advocate to bring any animal into your home if you couldn’t afford to care for him/her, but assuming you’re financially capable of caring for an animal, then why waste thousands of dollars that you don’t have to?

So, let’s break it down. You’re going to purchase a dog from a breeder. On average, it costs anywhere from $700-$1.500 to purchase a dog, and that’s all you’re getting– the dog. Then, you’ll have to spay/neuter your new pet, $200-$500. Vaccinations? $50-$150. Microchip? $45-$60. If your dog is coming from a pet store, it’s more than likely s/he will need treatments for illness, as many of these puppies come sick– this can cost hundreds or even thousands.

Okay, you get it. It’s expensive. But is adoption really that much better?

To answer it simply: Yes! When you adopt a dog, you pay a one time adoption fee, which will typically range from $100-$300 depending on the rescue and type of animal, and with this adoption fee, you get an animal who is up-to-date on all their vaccinations, has had necessary bloodwork, is spayed/neutered and microchipped, and ready to join your family.

Many shelters and rescues also have special events where they waive all adoption fees or reduce adoption fees. It’s really a no-brainer!

(9) When you buy a dog, many times you’re giving money to bad people- backyard breeders, puppy mill owners, etc….

Regardless of what pet store owners may tell you, ALL dogs in pet stores come from puppy mills, which are horrific. Conditions for dogs coming from backyard breeders are comparably awful. Don’t give your hard earned money to bad people who abuse/neglect animals.

If you are absolutely set on purchasing a dog, then do it the right way. Gloria S. M. from Long Island says that if you’re going to buy, make sure you “[buy] from a reputable breeder – one who interviews you, has a waiting list, insists on meeting you, has both parents on premises and has health tested and certified all previous generations.”

Do not give money to animal abusers! Never buy from a puppy store or backyard breeder.

(10) No animal will ever love you like a rescue pet will.

Have you ever seen one of those adorable paw-shaped bumper stickers that says “Who rescued who?” Adopting a dog or cat will make you genuinely stop and ask yourself this question, on more than one occasion.

Rescued animals KNOW that they are rescued, and they show you every day how grateful they are. I asked several Long Island pet parents what they would tell anybody considering adoption, and their answers?

“I would like to tell anyone who is looking for a pet that rescuing a pet is such a fulfilling experience. They know instinctively that you saved their lives!” -Kathleen G.

“I swear to you an adopted dog is so appreciative! [Adopting is] for sure the way to go! Save a life, you can do it!” -Olivia M.

“Tucker [my dog]  is now a canine good citizen and more– he is an amazing athlete, my best friend, my closest confidant, ever faithful, and always makes me laugh when I need to.” -Paul K.

I received over 30 testimonials from dog and cat owners who all say the same thing: their lives would not be the same were it not for their rescued pet. I, myself, can say that in all my years of owning pets, I have never felt the love that I felt from my rescued pit-mix, Sheba, who chose me when I was volunteering and refused to go anywhere but home with me. I can genuinely tell you that I would be lost without her, and I wasn’t even looking for a dog at the time I adopted!

I can go on for days listing reasons why you should adopt, but I’m not going to bore you with pages of words that don’t mean all that much.

Instead, I challenge you to go to a shelter or rescue, meet the animals there, maybe even volunteer if you’d like to really get to know the dogs and cats. And I promise you, when that dog or cat chooses you, you will understand the beauty of saving a life, making a difference, and defying the statistics.

You will understand the beauty of adopting your best friend.

If you’re interested in adoption, but would like to know more about the process, please feel free to reach out to the representatives at Road to Home Rescue Support, who will happily explain the adoption process and introduce you to their adoptable dogs and cats.

We at Lindsay’s Pet Care Services advocate for adoption, and will provide discounted services for anyone who adopts from one of our partner rescues such as Road to home Rescue.

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