For the first installment of “Pet Parent Prompt”, we talked about whether or not to become a pet parent. If you are willing to give up both your time and money to become the perfect pet parent, then it’s time to move on to the next big question: adopting or buying.
Here at Animal Culture, there is only one simple answer to this: adopt. However, many future pet parents have concerns about adopting.
I want a pure bred.
I want a puppy/kitten.
What if my newly adopted dog has behavioral issues?
These are some of the main reasons future pet parents decide to buy rather than adopt. However, each of these worries can be addressed.
Pure Bred: Did you know, according to the estimation by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, that 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred? If you are set on adopting a pure bred dog, there are options. There are specific breed rescues and shelters out there, so whatever breed you are looking for, a quick Google search with “(enter breed here) rescue” can help you find the perfect pure bred for you in your area. Also, many rescues and shelters have waiting lists for people who are looking for a specific breed, so ask your local shelter if they do the same. And if you do decide that maybe the adorable Shepherd/Lab mix you found at a rescue is the perfect fit for your family, there’s nothing wrong with that! Mixes and mutts are just as lovable as purebreds, and with proper training, love, and affection (just like with any dog) can make the perfect family pet.
Puppies & Kittens: Everyone loves babies – especially animal babies. What with their fluffy fur, cute faces, and tiny paws, raising a pet from an infant can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. But, it is also a lot of work. Potty training, feeding every few hours, training and being able to properly discipline (non-physically, of course) can be hard. However, if you are willing to put even extra time and money into raising a puppy or kitten, there are many in need of homes. Most animals end up in shelters because they are found on the street or people give them up. There are many instances when a pregnant or new mother dog/cat is delivered to a shelter with babies. Those babies then need homes. Ask your local shelter about the puppies and kittens available for adoption. You may have to wait, but make sure you let the rescue know you are keen on adopting a baby. However, if age does not matter to you, there are an abundant amount of young adult and senior dogs in shelters. They too need homes (if not more since people are more likely to want a puppy or kitten ) and being able to adopt an older dog is very rewarding as you will make the rest of their lives comfortable and stable – especially since most of their lives have not been.
Behavioral Issues: Finally, many people have concerns that adopting a pet from a shelter may come with a temperament. While it is true that some animals from shelters have had brutal pasts – abuse, mistreatment, neglect – shelters and rescues are very careful when adopting these kinds of pets out, and usually don’t unless they know the animal will do no harm. Usually, shelters work with these animals, getting them used to being around humans again. Shelters also use experienced foster parents, people who take in pets until they are found homes, to work with the animals, and see how they act around other pets and in a home environment. Many shelters and rescues also make up a behavioral chart about each adoptable pet. These charts let future pet parents know whether the animal is good with children, other animals, likes affection, is territorial, etc. If you are not ready to take on a pet with behavioral issues, don’t worry. There are many lovable and sweet dogs and cats who don’t have bad pasts, and these pets may be the best option for inexperienced pet parents.
Homeless animals outnumber homeless people 5 to 1. These are animals who have been abandoned, unwanted or unable to be cared for. 3 to 4 million of these adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized each year because either the shelter is too full or there are not enough homes for them all. Adopting helps both the animals and shelters. You will be giving a home to a pet who needs one, and allowing more room and the possibility of a home for another animal who takes their place.
Buying, on the other hand, is detrimental to the ever-growing dog and cat population. When you buy from a pet store, and even some breeders, you are unintentionally supporting puppy mills. Puppy mills, which are breeding operations, put making a profit ahead of the animals’ needs. Female dogs and cats are bred over and over again until they no longer can, at which point they are usually killed. The animals are stored in small cages, neglected, and many are abused. Only the “fit” ones reach the pet stores, and when people buy from them, the puppy mill process continues.
The only way to end puppy mills is to adopt. When that time comes, make sure you have done some research. Check out The Dog Guide for some important questions to ask your local shelter or rescue before you adopt.
And, once again, to reiterate its importance, NEVER BUY, ALWAYS ADOPT!
Adopt, save a life, and gain a new family member.