What does adopt vs. shop mean?

“Adopt don’t shop is a campaign slogan that a growing number of animal rights organizations use to promote adopting pets from shelters, rather than buying them from pet stores.

Thousands of animals are in shelters right now
Millions of animals are euthanized each year.
You can still find that “designer dog” in a shelter.
You want to STOP the problem- not contribute to the problem! RIGHT?
It’s cheaper to adopt!
Don’t encourage a puppy mill.
Adopt your forever dog
It’s the “cool thing” to do!

I advocate for this animal rights issue for a variety of reasons. To begin, I love all kinds of animals- especially cats. I have grown up with cats all of my life and my mother owns and operates a non-for profit cat rescue organization, Ten Lives Club. As I have grown up with this animal rescue experience, it has given me firsthand knowledge in the rescue world. It has allowed me to see the brutal reality of animal shelters and homeless pets in our city and the people who contribute to the problem. Although cats can be “bought” too, the majority of “animal shopping” is done with dogs.

Reason #1 Thousands of animals are in shelters right now.

There are 6-8 million dogs and cats entering shelters each year. There is no shortage of dogs or cats, and all of these pets entering shelters need homes, and they need them fast. An animal’s personality and well-being can deteriorate from stress and anxiety while in a shelter. Also, depending on the state and the rescue, some shelters have to euthanize the animals if they are not adopted after a certain amount of time in order to make room for the others. This is why it is absolutely crucial for pets to not call a shelter “home” for long.

In Buffalo, there are over 20 different shelters and adoption centers for cats and dogs.

Reason #2 Millions of animals are euthanized each year in shelters.

Yes, you read that right. Millions of adoptable animals are euthanized each year in shelters. Specifically, 3 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year. Out of the 3 million euthanized, approximately 2.4 million (80%) are healthy and treatable and could have been adopted into new homes. They are euthanized due to a lack of space and time spent in the shelter. There is constant need to make room for the new surrenders coming in and when the overlooked animals are not adopted, many are euthanized.

Rescue dog looking through fence.

Click here to see a map of the states with the highest euthanasia rates.

Reason #3 You can still find that “designer dog” in a shelter.

25% of dogs in a shelter are purebred dogs. A purebred dog is a pedigreed member of a modern breed. Or, they are known as dogs that are 100% one breed. For example, a german shepherd, golden retriever, a black lab, etc. Many people believe there are never any purebreds in a shelter so they have to get their dog from a breeder.

THIS IS FALSE! There are always tons of dogs in shelters that go overlooked because people don’t think they can get a purebred dog at a shelter. There are MANY shelters and rescue organizations that specify in certain dog breeds and have purebred “designer dogs”. You most likely will even rescue a dog from a severe breeding situation.

Click here to see a local Buffalo dog adoption group that specializes in purebred dogs! If you’re trying to find an animal rescue near you, search Facebook for “rescues near you”.

Reason #4 You want to STOP the problem- not contribute to the problem! RIGHT?

By adopting a shelter pet, you’re making room for more animals to have a chance at being adopted instead of euthanized right away due to overcrowding. By going to a breeder or a “pet store” to buy an animal, you are contributing to the problem of breeding by overcrowding the shelters and world population with more animals.

We, as educated individuals do NOT need to keep breeding dogs over and over to make money off puppies when sold. We need to curb the pet overpopulation. This starts by not giving breeders business.

Rescue dog looking in the distance taken from Pixabay.

Adopt Don’t Shop

Reason #5 It’s cheaper to adopt!

It is much cheaper to adopt a pet from an animal rescue or shelter rather than a pet store or breeder. An adoption fee can range anywhere between $50-$200 and covers the whole vet bill of that animal usually. The new pet will most likely be up to date on all shots, flea treatment and be spayed/neutered. When you purchase from a breeder, you will spend close to $1,000+. You will pay a “ticketed” price and the animal will come without any vet visits so you will pick up those extra costs.

Wouldn’t you want to support a local animal shelter in your community with an adoption donation rather than hand $2,000 cash over to a backyard breeder?

Reason #6 Don’t encourage a puppy mill.

According to the ASPCAa puppy mill is a “large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.” These are usually horrific conditions that the dogs live in. They cannot run and play like normal dogs…instead, they are confined to small cages and left with little food and water. They are used simply for breeding and tossed away when not needed anymore.

Puppy mills are usually seen down south and then the dogs are shipped all over to different pet “stores” to be sold for pricey amounts. The more people continue to buy from these horrific places, the more you are keeping them in business!

“Breeding parents spend their lives in 24-hour confinement to cages. It is common to see wire cages stacked on top of each other. They generally do not have protection from heat, cold, or inclement weather…Dogs in puppy mills live in dirty, unsanitary conditions.”

-The Puppy Mill Project

Reason #7 Adopt your “forever” dog.

Adopting a dog rather than shopping for one is so great for a variety of reasons! When adopting a dog, you get to see if that dog is really for you, forever. If you visit a local shelter, you can usually take the dog for a walk or outside to play catch and really get to know them. You can have 1 on 1 time with them in a room and get to understand their personality. Many shelters even do an “overnight” program where they allow the dog to sleepover at your house before any adoption is finalized.

This makes the process easy for families knowing exactly what kind of dog you’re getting! When going to a breeder, you’re getting a puppy and that’s it. You don’t know what their personality is like…will they sleep all day? want to play?

Reason #8 “It’s the cool thing to do!”

Adopting a dog really is a cool thing to do! SO many people now understand the true importance of adopting a rescue. It is the cool thing to do when you have a fun “mix” of a dog. They aren’t just one breed-they are so many of them which makes them so great. You feel like you’re doing something great for the community and you’re donating money back into a local shelter that can keep on saving lives because of your adoption of your new best friend.