The 10th anniversary of National Dog Day is Aug. 26, 2014. It was established to “celebrate dogs and encourage adoption.” The holiday’s founders emphasize, “While we feel that Americans have the constitutional right to purchase a purebred dog, we strongly discourage buying from pet stores, backyard breeders, the Internet, newspaper ads and puppy mills.” Click through to read 10 reasons why rescuing is always better.
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YOU CAN CHOOSE FROM MANY DOGS
When you visit an animal shelter, you’ll find many dogs of all sizes, personalities, breeds and mixes. Too many, in fact. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that approximately 6-8 million animals are housed and cared for in animal shelters every year. There is a homeless dog out there who will match your personality and lifestyle.
YOU CAN SAVE MONEY
Whether under the care of an animal shelter or a past owner, many dogs in shelters already have been spayed or neutered, as well as vaccinated. For those who buy dogs from pet stores or who adopt puppies, the burden of pursuing these necessary medical procedures falls on their shoulders. So does the financial responsibility.
YOU WILL HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM
When you buy a dog, the transaction is almost purely a commercial one. A pet store has a vested interested in making a sale. At a shelter, you’ll encounter knowledgeable staff who care about placing the facility’s dogs with the right owners. They’ll also offer a wealth of expertise and insight not only into the personalities of the dogs themselves, but into continued care in general.
YOU CAN BECOME PART OF A NETWORK OF DOG LOVERS
Animal shelters are too often underfunded and understaffed. Despite the dedication of shelter staff, volunteers usually are very welcome. If you can offer some of your free time to your local shelter, you’ll establish a closer relationship with both the staff and other dog lovers like you who also are willing to devote themselves to helping dogs.
YOU CAN RESCUE AN OLDER DOG
A lot of people want to adopt puppies. But many new responsibilities come with pups, from medical expenses for spaying or neutering, to the trials and tribulations of training a young dog. These are just a few reasons why it's wise to adopt an older dog, not the least of which is that shelters have much more difficulty finding them homes.
YOU’LL COMBAT ANIMAL OVERPOPULATION
Far too many pet owners refuse to spay or neuter their pets. Their dogs are allowed to roam and breed freely, creating more and more dogs with inadequate or no care when there are already millions of homeless dogs. There is not nearly enough room in shelters to house dogs who need it. The more that people adopt dogs from shelters, the more space that becomes available to help other dogs looking for their forever home.
YOU’LL COMBAT ANIMAL CRUELTY
Dogs that owners buy from pet stores or other sellers often come from puppy mills, which are oftentimes disreputable breeders whose goal is to breed and sell as many puppies as possible for as much profit as possible. According to the ASPCA, “Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization. Puppy mill dogs do not get to experience treats, toys, exercise or basic grooming.” By rescuing a dog instead of buying one, you are withholding your support from puppy mills.
DOGS FROM SHELTERS ARE HEALTHIER
Dogs that owners buy from pet stores or other sellers often come from puppy mills, and these dogs can suffer from extreme health problems, whether as a result of careless breeding, a lack of medical attention or some combination of both. Owners may not be aware of such health problems at the time of purchase. Sellers may even actively conceal these conditions from potential buyers. On the other hand, animal shelters provide care for their dogs, and want you to know about any dog’s special needs.
DOGS FROM SHELTERS ARE BETTER BEHAVED
Puppy mill dogs are not only too often unhealthy, but also frequently display deep-seated behavioral issues. It’s not uncommon for puppy mill puppies to be taken from their mothers too early, and never properly socialized. These dogs can easily develop behavior problems later in life that are difficult to overcome, or may even be insurmountable.
Next: Why You Should Adopt a Mutt
YOU’LL SAVE LIVES
Do you remember the Humane Society statistic that approximately 6-8 million animals are housed and cared for annually in animal shelters? It probably should go without saying that those shelter cannot successfully rehome 6-8 million animals every year. Millions of dogs that don’t find homes are instead euthanized. Unfortunately, there are not enough homes for the constant stream of homeless dogs, but you can help by rescuing instead of buying. And always spay and neuter your pets.