We are planning to get a dog this summer and we are having a debate in our home about whether we should find our new dog through a reputable breeder or if we should look into adopting from a shelter or rescue group. Any advice?
Debating Adoption in Acres Homes
Dear Debating Adoption,
Your family’s debate is a fairly common one. There are certainly people who would only consider getting a pet through a breeder, then there are those who couldn’t fathom doing anything but adopting. From a personal standpoint, I always advocate for adopting, so I’ll do my best to nudge you in that direction.
For starters, since you are exploring going through a breeder, I’m guessing that you have a specific breed of dog in mind. If that is the case, a good alternative for you would be to seek out breed-specific rescue groups. There are rescue groups that cater to most every breed of dog out there–most of them even with a presence in Texas. A quick internet search should put you directly in touch with a rescue group who will have the exact breed you are looking for with, oftentimes, a mix of young and older animals to choose from. These dogs are often in foster care prior to adoption, where they’ve been assessed on personality and health, so you’ll likely know exactly what you’re getting when you choose a pet from foster care. The same can not be said of a puppy from a breeder. Additionally, it is common for pure-bred animals to show up in animal shelters too, so you can talk to the folks at the animal shelter, tell them what you’re looking for and they can alert you if that breed of dog becomes available.
It is often quite costly to get a pet from a breeder. According to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the going rate for a purebred dog from a breeder can easily cost from $500 well into the thousands of dollars. This fee often doesn’t include vaccinations or spay/neuter surgery. When you adopt an animal from a shelter or rescue, the rate can be as low as $50 (sometimes even lower during special shelter promotions) and includes all vetting and sterilization.
Best Friends also informs us of the concept of “hybrid vigor,” wherein mixed breed dogs tend to be healthier and cost you less at the vet than purebred dogs, due to this principle. According to Best Friends, “many purebred dogs are prone to developing health problems ranging from breathing difficulties to hip dysplasia to an enlarged heart.” A healthy dog will cost you less money over time and set your mind at ease.
The reasons that I support adopting over going through a breeder are numerous and too many to list here. Just remember that, when you adopt, you are saving a life and creating more space to help other animals in need. The United States has a huge animal overpopulation issue and any part that you can play in helping shelters and rescue groups really adds up to make a big difference in your community and the world. It just doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
Have a burning question for Tabby? Email her at deartabby firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pet of the Week
Speaking of adoption…meet George. George is an all-star at Friends For Life. George has impeccable house manners and knowns lots of commands. He is crate trained and doesn’t even get into mischief when left alone. While he is a natural athlete and loves a brisk walk and playing fetch, George also knows the value of a good nap in the sun and a major snuggle sesh with his people. To learn more about George, visit www.friends4life.org.