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Adopt, Don’t Shop: A Phrase Worth Thousands Of Lives

Have you heard the saying, “Adopt, Don’t Shop?” If so, you might be wondering what it means. Adopt, Don’t Shop is a slogan that a growing number of animal rights proponents are using to promote adopting pets from shelters, rather than buying them from pet stores.

Why You Should Adopt A Pet Rather Than Buy

Many of the puppies sold in pet stores or online originate from puppy mills, commercial dog-breeding facilities that focus on increasing profit with little regard for the health and welfare of the animals. Although puppy mills in the U.S. are legal, a vast majority aren’t regulated.

Practices and conditions in most puppy mills are unethical and downright abhorrent in many cases. Dogs live in filthy conditions without adequate food, water or veterinary care. And female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little to no recovery time between litters. Inbreeding is also a huge problem.

Because of these conditions, puppy mills often produce animals with serious health problems down the road. And this translates to hefty vet bills for you. Many pet stores also don’t socialize their animals, which can lead to potential behavioral problems that aren’t ideal for a family pet. Adopting a pet, however, has a ton of advantages. The ASPA reports that roughly 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters every year.

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1. You’re Saving A Life

Adopting a dog from a shelter not only means that you’re giving him a happy life, but you also free up a spot at the rescue or shelter to save another dog’s life.

2. You Can Find A Fully Trained Dog

Don’t know much about training a puppy or don’t have the patience? You can find an adult rescue dog who’s already house trained and has his basic manners down pat. But if you’re up to the challenge, a rescue can find you a puppy as well.

3. You’ll Know The Dog’s Personality

Rescues and shelters care about how a dog will fit in with your family and will give you as much information as possible about each dog’s personality, activity level, how they behave with children, other pets and strangers, and other factors that make for a good fit.

Be sure to tell them about the qualities you want in your pet and ask lots of questions. That way, you can find a perfect addition to your family.

Reputable breeds should know this information as well, but many pet stores and puppy mills can’t share these specifics.

4. Rescue Dogs Are Often Less Expensive To Adopt

A rescue dog has already had all of his vaccinations and may have been spayed or neutered. And shelters typically have very reasonable adoption fees, ranging from $50 to $300.

5. You’ll Find A Lot Of Choices

Rescue shelters often have dogs of all ages and genders, as well as purebred and mixed breeds of all kinds (an estimated 30% of dogs in rescues are purebred). And if you have a specific breed in mind, reach out to a breed-specific rescue near you.

6. Helps Fight Puppy Mills

Approximately 90% of puppies you can buy in pet stores or online are from puppy mills. Adopting a dog from a shelter takes business away from mills. The more people who adopt, the more puppy mills have a hard time staying in business.

How Can You Help Raise Awareness?

There are several things you can do if you’re committed to raising awareness for the adopt, don’t shop messaging about puppy mills and the benefits of adopting a pet from a shelter.

  • Start a local group to raise awareness in your community
  • Educate pet store owners about the inhumane conditions and cruelty of puppy mills
  • Support pet stores when they agree to stop selling puppies from puppy mills
  • Encourage pet stores to deal only with rescue and shelter dogs

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: SALLY JONES

Sally holds a BA in English from James Madison University and began her 25-year writing career as a grad student at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism & Mass Communications. She’s been a pet parent since college years (and spent her whole childhood with pets).

Now as a parent of two teenagers, she’s made sure to raise her daughters to learn how to love and care for pets (and other animals) in the most responsible and loving ways. As a result, she and her daughters now have 5 rescued dogs and cats who essentially rule their home! Sally has also volunteered over the years to help raise funds for various animal nonprofit organizations.