By Keely McCarthy
If you’re looking to own a pet, it’s best to adopt compared to buying a pet from an online seller or pet store. According to the ASPCA, an estimated 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S shelters every year. Additionally, 1.5 million of those 6.5 million shelter pets are euthanized annually. Adoption benefits include: decreasing the homeless animal population, creating more space in animal shelters and in rescue organizations, and reducing puppy mills. Puppy mills are factory-style breeding facilities with an interest in gaining profit over focusing on proper animal care. Puppies from pet shops are most often bred in puppy mills, creating a higher risk of disease and risk of some cancers in those breeds.
One reason as to why most animal lovers seek to buy as opposed to adopt, has to do with an assumption on the pet’s character. A common misconception on shelter pets is that they have more behavioral problems than pets sold from breeders. However, that is not the case! Shelter pets are homeless pets, and some are only shelter pets because their owners have passed away, and family members cannot take in their deceased loved one’s pets.
Adopting a pet from an animal shelter is also less costly than buying from a breeder. The adoption fee, if there is one, in most cases includes: the cost of micro chipping your pet, neutering or spaying, and one-month free pet health insurance. Sometimes pets from breeders can be more susceptible to genetic breeding abnormalities or are more prone to certain cancers.
My neighbor, Heidi Staniszewski, has adopted three senior aged dogs from shelters. From her perspective on adopting senior aged dogs in shelters, Staniszewski says, “I love senior dogs. I’ve been fortunate that all three of my senior aged dogs were so loving and had little to no transition period. It’s like the second I brought them home, they knew they were home. I cannot understand why people buy when there are so many great dogs that need homes.”
My personal experience with adopting a dog over buying a dog from a breeder, was when my family got a Golden Retriever puppy named Lovey from a breeder in Rhode Island when I was six. Our beloved Golden Retriever only lived to be seven-years-old until she died of cancer, common for her breed. In the summer of 2018, my family adopted a Pit Bull/Black Lab mix puppy named Ever from the Potter League Animal Shelter in Middletown, R.I.
My family’s dog, Ever, is by far the best dog! She transitioned very well into my home and has no behavioral issues whatsoever, contrary to the Pit Bull mix stereotype. Ever is housetrained, walks well on a leash, and is as sweet as ever. (Pun intended!)