Editor’s note: As someone who’s always adopted his pets (including the wife’s two horses), I was really pleased when Environment 911’s Amy Lizee approached me with this post. Want to get more information on the environmental costs of stray animals? Check out my earlier post on stray animals and sustainability.
Since National Homeless Animal Day is coming up towards the end of August, I thought we could talk about the concept of the ‘homeless’ animals and why it is better to adopt, not shop.
For many people, puppies and kittens in a pet store are irresistible, but for those of you who are looking to get a new addition to the family, don’t be so quick to buy! In almost every state and province, there are animal shelters or rescue centers with numerous potential new family members just waiting to be found, including the irresistible puppies and kittens.
Some people may balk at the idea of adopting or rescuing an animal versus purchasing one, but there are plenty of good reasons to do so. These are some of the most important ones in terms of the environment and animal well being that should be taken into consideration.
Four Good Reasons to Adopt a Pet
4. Adoption is more cost-effective then purchasing
One of the top reasons people choose to adopt an animal is that they are generally cheaper then purchasing from a breeder (providing they are a reputable one). As most rescue animals are of mixed breeds, their value is considered to be ‘less’, which in turn makes them less expensive, despite the fact that rescue animals tend to make the best pets because they know that they were given a second chance.
A purebred dog from a breeder generally costs a lot more then adoption and adoption is the more cost effective choice. An animal in a shelter or rescue facility will have their health care up to date and they will be spayed/neutered already.
3. You’ll get a healthy pet
There are thousands of animals available at rescue centers across the world at any given time. The misconception here is that people think that if they are at a shelter they must be sick, injured or something is wrong with them. However, the majority of animals dropped off at shelters are there because the people who bought them underestimated their needs or behaviors.
Animal shelters provide vet care and examinations for animals both physically and mentally. While some breeders and pet stores may leave out information, a good animal rescue will provide all the details up front so you know what you are getting.
2. You have a better chance of finding a good match for your family through a rescue organization
When you buy a puppy from a pet store or breeder, you get a cuddly ball of fluff, but that is about it. There are many qualities and traits in puppies and kittens that people do not take into consideration when they purchase. These can include anything from breed-specific qualities to the size of a full-grown adult.
Instead of purchasing a puppy, when you seek a new pet through rescue organizations and channels, not only will the animal have been assessed and evaluated, but a good organization will ask the right questions to try and help you go home with the best match for your family. This lessens the chances of animals being returned or dumped in shelters in the future.
1. You won’t be supporting backyard breeders or puppy mills
This is perhaps the most important reason for choosing to adopt over purchasing a pet. In a world that is facing an overpopulation of pets such as dogs and cats and even animals like horses, supporting backyard breeders and puppy mills is a ‘no-no’. There are hundreds, even thousands, of animals that are euthanized every day because there simply are not enough homes for them.
When you purchase a dog, cat or even a horse from a breeder or puppy mill, you are perpetuating the cycle. While you think you’re getting a new addition, they see dollar signs and will continue to produce more animals until those dollar signs disappear. However, when you adopt an animal from a rescue or shelter, you are not only saving its life, but you are also saving the life of the animal who will take its place at the shelter. Plus, you are not creating a reason to bring more lives into the world.
If not only for the purpose of saving two versus one, by not perpetuating the breeding cycle, you are also saving resources and helping the environment and the economy. The amount of resources that go into shelters to euthanize animals is not necessary and if more people choose to adopt, can be avoided almost completely.
So remember – Don’t shop… Adopt!
Environment911.org is an interactive website for individuals to come and discuss the environment from green business to natural disasters. We feel it is important for people to come together and share their thoughts, ideas and visions for the future. The more we can communicate what is happening in our world, the more people can be educated and the more we can progress. Beyond Environment911.org you can find us on Facebook and Twitter where we are continuing to spread the message about our global environment and the impact that we have on it every day.
Image credit: Amy Lizee
Bernard the Green Jobs Guru
I couldn’t agree more! Of the 3 dogs we have , 2 came from a shelter, and they’re very nice, well behaved, and happy dogs. Our 2 cats also came from a shelter as kittens, and the 5 of them are just a big happy cat/dog family. The shelter animals were all vaccinated, and went thru a vet exam.
Before getting our 2nd dog from the shelter, we tried a “puppy mill” and were saddened by the poor conditions under which the mother and puppies were kept, and decided our money was better spent at a rescue/shelter where animals are treated nicely.
Also don’t forget that whatever fees you pay to shelters are charity donations and are tax deductible.