Rescue dogs should be the first option for anyone looking to own a dog as a pet for yourself or the family.
As someone who has always had a dog in my life, I am a huge supporter of having a pet. If you’re a dog lover like me then you might even have secret “voices” for your dogs. I realize to the non-pet owner this may sound crazy but we’re not alone. We talk like our dogs all the time and they’ve come to know “their voice” and respond and come to us when speaking like them. They also all have nicknames and respond to those names as well as their real name. A little more about that later.
Growing up we bought our dogs from the local pet store. That was all we knew back then unless you had a friend who had a dog that just had puppies. Many of the pet stores today have been buying their dogs from puppy mills for years and we didn’t even know about it.
Dogs raised in puppy mills experience some of the worst possible conditions. Many of the animals are crossbred and generally forced to live a terrible existence until they are shipped to the store to find a home. The females are oftentimes forced to breed with very little time between deliveries. I’d post pictures of these conditions but I can’t bear to do so as it breaks my heart.
The more we looked into rescue dogs we decided that moving forward we would never purchase a dog from a store again.
5 Ironclad Reasons You Need To Adopt Don’t Shop
You’ll save a life
Each year in the United States alone, 2.7 million adoptable rescue dogs are euthanized because not enough people think to adopt from shelters. Space in shelters is limited so unfortunately if an animal is there too long they are euthanized. If people were to rescue these dogs instead of shopping at pet sores the number of euthanized animals would be considerably lower.
When you adopt rescue dogs from the humane society or a private animal shelter or a rescue group, you actually help save the lives of two animals. You will be saving the life of the pet you adopt as well as an animal somewhere who can now be rescued because of space you helped free up.
Adopting rescue dogs will save you money
Adopting rescue dogs is less expensive than buying a pet at a pet store or through a competent breeder. Dogs from pet stores or breeders can range in price from several hundred to thousands of dollars. We got our three rescue dogs for around $250 each and that included vaccinations and check-ups. A great deal indeed!
You won’t be supporting puppy mills and pet stores
Puppy mills as I said earlier are the “factory style” breeding facilities. Animals raised in puppy mills are in terrible living conditions often without medical care. The female dog’s purpose is to keep churning out puppies. After the dogs have reached the end of their ability to breed they are discarded meaning they are killed, abandoned, or sold at auction.
Most of the time puppy-mill puppies are sold to consumers and pet stores without any knowledge of where the dogs have come from. Since most people are not even aware that puppy mills exist they buy a pet from a pet store not realizing they are supporting this terrible industry. By adopting rescue dogs instead of buying a pet, you can be certain you aren’t supporting puppy mills.
Puppy mills will continue to exist until people stop buying animals from pet stores. That’s why I always stress to people to adopt don’t shop and look into rescue dogs as a viable pet option.
Adopting a pet will make you feel better
Rescue dogs and pets, in general, have a way of making even a bad day seem good. Caring for a pet provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment and can reduce loneliness at any age. This can be especially true for our older population which may have just lost a spouse who they’ve been with for many years. Our pets become our friends.
It’s almost as though rescue dogs know they were saved from the brink of death and just try harder to be loved. All of our rescue dogs are mushes who love to be pet, snuggle, and spend time with you. They’ve spent so much time by themselves they need that human contact. There is little that can compete with the unconditional love supplied to us by our pets. If you’ve ever left your house and come back in two minutes later because you forgot something you know how your dogs will surround you as if you’ve been gone for hours. Let these loving pets into your home and they will provide you all the love you need and more!
Our Stories of Adoption
Our first dog with the children and last purchase
When my oldest daughter was around 8 we purchased what would be our last dog directly from a pet store. It was a reputable store and is still in business today. We were looking for a pure breed puppy at the time and weren’t familiar with the adoption process. The family also had some false ideas about the type of dogs you can get through adoption. We saw Celie, a Havanese poodle mix (Havapoo), and knew that she would be the perfect dog for us. We just lost Celie earlier this year and it was rough.
It’s never easy losing a pet and Celie was no different. She got sick very quickly and before we knew it we had to make the decision to put her to sleep. It was a very difficult day for all of us especially holding her until the moment she breathed her last breath.
Celie was a sassy Cuban (being Havanese of course) and spoke with a Spanish accent. She also went by “Celie Bear”, “Celester” and “Bear”. We also called her Yak when she needed a haircut because, well she would look like a Yak. Technically Celie wasn’t our first as we had a Maltese and a Yorkie before her but she was the first to be a part of our rescue story as an “outsider”.
How did we become an “adopt don’t shop” family?
Fast forward 4 years and I’m at the pet store with my daughter buying guinea pig food, (It’s a bit like Wild Kingdon in my house at times) There is an adoption event by a local animal rescue organization and of course, a cute little terrier mix by the name of Mia catches our eye. Mia was rescued by the organization from a kill shelter in Georgia. Instantly we fell in love with her. My wife wasn’t home so we called and asked what her thoughts were – should we get another dog?
Once we spoke and I shared pictures with her I knew what she would say. She’d have 100 dogs in our house if possible. We went back the next day in the hopes that Mia would still be there. She was still in her cage looking as calm as the day before. Upon further inspection, we noticed that her stitches were bleeding from where she was “fixed” and she seemed a little warm. The rescue told us they would take her to the vet and have her checked again.
It’s a good thing they did because Mia had very bad pneumonia and could have died. A terrific vet nursed her back to health and we couldn’t be happier with our first rescue. She is the most loving dog. She is a bit grayer these days but aren’t we all.
Now being that Mia was from Georgia and the South it’s only fitting that she has a southern accent. She is very proper and more of a large antebellum mansion kind of girl. She goes by “Mia”, “Mama Mia” and “Mama”.
But wait there’s more!
A few years later after we acclimated to life with two dogs, I was on Facebook and the same rescue organization posted an image of a Beagle who was 5 years old and looking for a home. Apparently, he had been roaming Long Island for some time. He had been found and brought back to his owners and they didn’t want him so he was available for adoption. I was hesitant because we already had two dogs and I wasn’t sure how they would all react to another addition.
Our family decided we’d let a couple of weeks go by hoping that someone would adopt him. About three weeks later I still saw his photo on the website. We made the call and said that we’d “foster” him first to see how he got along with everyone else. The term “foster” in dog adoption means you get to try out the dog and you will never give it back. At least that has been our experience.
We’re what’s referred to as a “foster failure”. Rocco became an official member of our home and is also the sweetest dog. He’s not a typical Beagle and doesn’t bark and bay all the time, though he does snore and make some extremely funny noises. He has the best personality and fits right in with the others.
When you have children you never have a favorite and love them all the same but Rocco has imprinted on me and vice versa. He is most certainly my guy and most of my family will agree he loves me the most!
Rocco sounds a lot like Foghorn leghorn and sometimes stutters to get his point across. He is affectionately called “Rocco”, “Roccadilly”, “Roccadilly Hamilton”, “Dilly”, “Big Guy” and occasionally “Chubber”.
Who has four dogs?
In search of a dog bed, I ventured to Pet Smart only to see the rescue organization back. This time in the pen was a tiny Yorkshire terrier. I looked at him and thought “why in the world would a purebred dog be up for adoption?” He was found wandering the streets of Brooklyn – all mangy and unkempt. I held him and he was so tiny….4 pounds and extremely cute.
He had little crooked front legs and all he wanted to do was sit with you. I snapped a picture and forwarded it to my wife who again was not home. (I’ve learned from now on that when my wife and I are not together DO NOT go to the pet store). She, of course, said bring him home. I told the adoption people that I needed to discuss it further but I’d bring my girls back later in the day to visit him. When they saw him they fell in love. Kiwi is his name and he too fits right in.
My story of rescue dogs is like many others. I urge everyone to adopt, don’t shop, and help save some of these wonderful animals who need your help.
For more information from the Humane Society click here
Do you have any rescues? Comment below.