Deciding to bring a dog into your family and home is a serious decision that should be researched and contemplated at length beforehand. There are hundreds of dog breeds and endless mixed breeds. With approximately 6 million companion animals being dumped in shelters each year and 4 million more being euthanized (statistics from The Humane Society of the US); clearly more thought needs to go into this decision.
I have 3 rescue dogs and 2 rescue cats; however dogs will be the focus of this post. There is no doubt that sharing one’s life with a dog(s) brings much joy but it also requires a tremendous commitment, both in time and in money. Dogs need continuous attention and care. It is clear from petfinder.com and the shelter intake across the country that many people do not realize this when deciding to bring a dog home. The only way we will ever end the horror of puppy mills and the overpopulation in shelters across the country is through education. I have learned from speaking with my clients and others that many people are unaware that when they purchase their new puppy from a pet store they are not only taking a huge risk in having a dog with multiple health and/or genetic issues, but they are investing in and perpetuating the pain and suffering of dogs in puppy mills.
I realize this is a very difficult concept to grasp, especially when you see the cute puppies in the window of a pet store or online. My sister paid $1000+ for a Siberian husky puppy from her local puppy store. He is a lovely dog that has become part of her family; however he is epileptic and most likely will be on meds his entire life and at 2 had already had a 3K dollar surgery on one of his knees. When she first told me where she bought him I shared my concern but what she said made me realize just how difficult ending the mass suffering of puppy mills will be. She saw that puppy in the window of that pet store as in need of a good loving home and she was correct. What she wasn't aware of and what most people aren't aware of is that there are millions of great dogs across the country in desperate need of a loving home. Not all are full bred puppies with papers, but there are great dogs nonetheless. If a full bred dog is desired; one can more than likely be adopted from a local rescue organization. There are rescue groups for every breed, including non-breed specific groups.
A common concern is, if everyone stops buying the puppies from puppy stores what will happen to those puppies? They will go to shelters and rescue groups where people can adopt them. Several cities across the country have made it illegal for pet stores and retail outlets to sell puppies from puppy mills. However, they are permitted to offer shelter dogs for adoption. Until all dogs have homes adoption should be the only option. By adopting you will save a life and the monetary donation you make will save others. Plus the space that becomes available at the rescue or shelter will open up for another dog in need.
When considering bringing a dog or puppy into your life; please consider adopting from your local shelter or one of your local rescue organizations. These organizations are made up of extremely special people who will help you find the right dog for your lifestyle and family.