adopting a pet

Adopting vs Buying

This article has been submitted by our web designer, who has a very long history with dog rescue.


There is a reason there are animal rescues out there: There are too many homeless and unwanted pets, most of them through no fault of their own! When a pet comes into rescue, they are evaluated for temperament, brought to good health, and the rescue takes time to get to know them so when they are placed in a new home, they are in their forever home with a family that loves them. Adopting vs buying. What is the difference?

Let me tell you a short story:

adopting a pet


The year was 2008. I was in a local pet store with my young grandson, who wished to see the puppies. He could look through that glass for a long time, so to occupy myself I began reading the breeder cards attached to the puppy cages. This pet store advertised itself as “puppy mill aware” and “only sold dogs from reputable breeders.” As I read card after card, I began to see a pattern. The cards all had similarities; a dozen puppies of four different breeds all from the same breeder, several other puppies of different breeds from another breeder name but the same address, even more with other ‘same breeder/address’ but from the same state as the others. I took out my phone and started taking pictures of the breeder cards. When the clerk noticed what I was doing, we were escorted out. I took my time and snapped a picture of every card.

I did my research, calling contacts in rescue and breed organizations, and even took an out of state trip to see for myself. My heart was broken. Puppy mills, every one. That pet store has since closed its doors, but there are still some out there, hoping to grab someone’s heartstrings and lure them into a spur of the moment sale, sending them home with an overpriced puppy and bags of supplies. Of course, I’ve noticed they are more careful with what is displayed on the breeder cards, if they even have them.

My advice is to stay away from pet stores and backyard breeders, one and all.

adopting a pet

In my experience reputable breeders never sell their puppies through pet stores. They breed their pups conscientiously. They are very careful about who gets their dogs, and they choose those new owners personally. They are registered with their breed organization and they will most likely have a waiting list, because their reputation precedes them.

A reputable rescue does not breed their dogs, but they are one hundred percent just as conscientious in the care and placement of their dogs as a good breeder is. They won’t have a huge list of dogs and would never brag of placing huge numbers of dogs every year. They are more careful than that, and they too, may have a waiting list, but it is more likely their dogs who are waiting while the rescue finds the right home for them.

adopting a pet

Adopt or buy? Here’s the checklist:

  • If you plan to show or breed your dog, you will have to go to a breeder.
  • If you are concerned with your dog’s pedigree, you will have to go to a breeder.
  • If you want a very specific breed, start your search through rescues. With patience, you will find just the right fit! If not, you may end up going through a breeder.
  • If you want an adult dog, look to rescue.
  • If you want a pet who is already house trained, look to rescue.
  • If you just want to find the right dog for you and your family, to love and who will love you, PLEASE adopt a dog from a rescue. A dog who truly needs you. I promise you, this experience will open your heart to a love and devotion that is like no other, and it goes both ways.

Good luck in finding your new family member. And yes, you are on the right website!

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