Many people believe that rescuing an animal from a shelter or rescue group is the only way to go while others insist that they absolutely must purchase their pets from a reputable breeder. There are always (at least) two sides to every debate. This can be quite an emotional subject, but the truth is that there are many valid reasons behind both decisions and we want to explore those openly and judgment-free.
So you want to get a pet…
Let’s start off by saying pets require a lot of responsibility. They require food, water, shelter, loving affection, and healthcare, just like we do. Not only do you need to provide these things for them, but you also need to consider training, care while you are away, and possible emergencies that may arise. All of these can become very costly, so if you are unprepared to pay for these things or lack full responsibility-do not get a pet!
If you do possess the funds and are ready to take full responsibility for another living creature-great! Now you have some serious things to consider. There are many options of where to get your newest family member including: a reputable breeder, a pet store, someone you know who knows someone who breeds animals at their house, a rescue, or a local shelter. Two of these options include adopting, while three options involve buying, including one that could potentially be very sketchy. Let’s take a deeper look at all of these options as well as the pros and cons of each.
Purchasing a pet
“I want a specific breed.” “I want to know the bloodlines and health of both parents of my pet.” “I want to raise my pet from a baby.” Sound familiar? These are just some of the many reasons people want to purchase their pets from either a breeder or a pet store. The only problem with this is many animals from pet stores are products of puppy or kitten mills, which just contributes to the overpopulation issue. (Google or youtube this and see if this helps determine your decision). Purchasing from a pet store or a backyard breeder will not only support the continued abuse, neglect, and overbreeding of many animals, but you are also risking purchasing an animal that might not be very healthy.
If you decide you 100% want to buy your pet, please do your research. There are many reputable breeders who can be found on sites like AKC.org. You simply search by specific breed and can find information regarding the breeder such as breeder of merits, certifications, and whether or not they have any puppies available. When buying from a breeder here are a few things you want to keep in mind:
- Meet the breeder-ask the breeder if it is possible to set up a time/place to meet (extra points if you meet at their house so you can see the animals and how they are kept and cared for). If you live too far away or your state is still under strict regulations for social distancing, see if you can arrange a video call.
- Have questions ready- You’re bringing home a new member of your family. You need to have questions. Questions will not only give you more information about your potential future pet, but will also give you a chance to see how personable the breeder is. Does he/she answer all of your questions fully? Is he/she patient with you? Do you feel a good connection? These are all important things to keep in mind while asking questions and gaining information about your future pet.
- Get full medical history-One of the main reasons people want to buy from breeders is because they want a healthy dog. This is never 100% guaranteed; however, you can always ask for proof of health screenings as well as any breed related health concerns you may have (or not know about).
- Ask to see the parents-Seeing the parents will not only give you a good idea about how your new pet may look, but also an insight on temperament.
It’s safe to say that pretty much everyone has heard the saying “Adopt, Don’t Shop!” and there’s a very good reason.There is no denying that every year millions of animals end up in shelters around the world. Some of whom never come out again. When you adopt you are saving a life, and in the case you adopt from a rescue group, you might be saving more than one life! Because when you adopt a rescue animal, that opens up a space for another homeless animal. So not only are you saving your new pet, but your also saving a new pet for someone else.
Let’s rewind for a second and take a look at the reasons many people purchase a dog. “I want a specific breed.” Spoiler alert! Many purebred animals end up in shelters every day. There are also breed specific rescue groups that pull these specific breeds from kill shelters to help provide them with another chance at life. If you are looking for a specific breed, we highly recommend doing a quick Google search for “insert breed here” rescue group and see what you find. Odds are a plethora of rescue groups will come up and you might just find your new best friend!
Another reason people want to buy from a breeder: “I want to raise my pet from a baby.” Again, many shelters and rescues get animals of all ages every, single day. If you want a baby or younger pet, you can certainly find them if you take a second to research and look. Reach out to shelters or rescue groups and see if they can help you locate your perfect pet. Petfinder and The Shelter Pet Project are also two other great ways to find a specific type of pet or age that you are looking for.
You will be paying money regardless of whether you purchase or adopt a pet. The difference is how that money is put to use. If you buy from a breeder or pet store, you are just further supporting the overbreeding crisis. Keep in mind that purebred animals can come with a hefty price tag, and that doesn’t include all of the vaccinations, microchipping, or spay/neuter costs.
The price point of adopting is also way more beneficial for you as a new pet owner. Yes, you will pay an adoption fee; however, that fee typically covers the cost of vaccinations, spay/neuter, and sometimes even microchipping! The fee also helps cover the costs of food and housing for the animals. So basically, the price of adopting a new pet is also helping to provide for other homeless animals as well.
So while we cannot make the decision for you whether to purchase or adopt a new pet, we can tell you that you need to do your research prior to bringing home a pet. Obviously, supporting your local rescue and shelter and saving a life is a great way to go. Regardless of whether you are working with a breeder or a rescue, make sure they are reputable and want to put the animal’s best interest first.