Have you ever owned an animal? Whether it be a komodo dragon, cat, rabbit, piranha or dog, do you know who you bought your companion from? Did you know them personally? Were they part of an organization or was it some stranger selling animals off the back of their truck? Knowing the history of where you adopt your companion is one of the most important things in an adoption process. Another important factor when adopting is that when you do adopt from a shelter, the money helps more animals have a good experience at the shelter and a better chance of being adopted too. The alternative to adopting from a shelter is adopting from a puppy mill or pet store where they reproduce and inbreed animals just to sell them, which is not morally just to the animals. Specifically, with dogs (and cats), adopting from a shelter is vital to the organization, other dogs, your dog and yourself.
I was in the seventh grade and it was a miserable January. I had been obsessing over dogs ever since I could remember. I had never really thought about where or how I would get one, I just knew that I had to have one. My mom was the one who was really doing the digging when researching on what would be the perfect pup for family. We traveled all way to Coon Rapids, Minnesota to the Northern Lights Greyhound Adoption where they were able to give us a lot of important information about adopting greyhounds. In and out of the visiting room with their tails between their legs the greyhounds available for adoption came to meet my family. We picked the shortest one with the softest fur and changed his racing name to Flynn.
The shelter made sure that we knew we were ready to adopt. When adopting for the first time, this is crucial. So many animals become strays or are returned to the shelters because the humans who adopted them were not ready and threw them out. After becoming a stray, if the local animal control finds them, they could be brought to a pound where after a certain number of days, the animals have to be euthanized, according the Humane Society of the United States, “Each year, 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States.” This is morally wrong because most of those animals could have been adopted with the right care and training. Instead, the dogs from puppy mills or pet stores take their places because they are only bred for money.
The shelter knew most of our companion’s history. When we rescued our retired greyhound, they knew his breeding and racing history. They also showed us a video about of what life was like for him at the track. The shelter also had his medical records and helped with the costs. Without the shelter, we would not have known all the food allergies he has or what races he won. We got to understand his goofy greyhound personality and become closer as the months went by.
One reason many people decide to adopt through puppy mills is because they want a specific breed, or purebred. First of all, purebreds come from generations of inbreeding, and although there is nothing wrong with specifically purebreds, buying them from pet shops and puppy mills has disadvantages. Purebreds already have enough problems, as they are more prone to cancers and other diseases. When purebreds are in such close quarters with no one taking care of their medical issues, it adds to the misery they are already enduring.
When you adopt from a shelter you make more room for other animals to get a chance to be adopted. Most non-profit shelters have a policy of not euthanizing any animals unless they are too ill and it is necessary to relieve the animals of their pain. During the summer-time shelters are overcrowded with animals, because stray dogs come out of trying to survive the winter and less people try to adopt in the summer. Making sure that all the animals get a good home and that they can get the care they need from staff members of the shelter is very difficult to achieve, so when someone eligible to adopt a companion decides to bring one home, it helps more animals find homes.
Going the alternative route, adopting from puppy mills/pet stores, you still save a companion, but you are investing into a corrupt business. Puppy mills keep puppies and dogs in cruel conditions, not giving the dogs necessary health care, proper food portions or exercise. They usually are in close proximity to each other which can lead to aggression. The worst thing about puppy mills is how they only breed dogs for money, over populating and giving them homes instead of stray animals. The Rolling Stones says, “The number of pet dogs in America boomed between 1970 and today tripling to almost 80 million.” The dogs at the puppy mills should have homes as should the dogs in rescue centers, but shutting down puppy mills would help decrease the population. As much as I would like to think you cannot have too many puppies, there are too many dogs being created for the wrong reasons. Many organizations are trying their best to stop the animal cruelty that comes along with puppy mills, but it is very difficult with the large number of illegal puppy mills there are and only 10,000 puppy mills are known according to the HSUS.
Rescuing an animal from the shelter is so important because you are benefitting yourself, your animal and other animals, rather than giving other businesses money to violate animal cruelty. A lot of people say they want a specific type of dog without doing research or considering a shelter dog because they do not know what they are going to get with a rescue dog, but adopting from the shelter will give you more important information about your new companion’s life and medical history. Adopting a rescue animal from a shelter is the most morally correct way to adopt.