To Buy or Adopt a Dog – Things You Need to Know

This black beauty was up for adoption at the Suds of Fun event in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. The other puppy just had a bath at this event, proceeds went to help homeless pets.

This black beauty was up for adoption at the Suds of Fun event in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. The other puppy just had a bath at this event, proceeds went to help homeless pets.

On my blog post about how I help in animal welfare, I mentioned that I would never purchase a dog. Why buy a dog when there are so many unwanted dogs in need of a home? But I want to make sure you all understand that I have nothing against anyone who chooses to purchase instead of adopt. Great dogs come from everywhere. My message isn’t that you should never buy a dog. My only hope is that if you do buy one, you know to research the breeder to make sure they are responsible breeders and not what is defined as a backyard breeder or puppy mill breeder. Trying to determine the responsibility of the breeder can be difficult, especially for someone who is buying a dog for the first time. For tips on what to look for in a dog breeder, check out this article from the Humane Society of the United States – Finding a Responsible Dog Breeder.

As I mentioned to Bunk the Pug in a comment on that blog post, even if you adopt a dog you have to do research. Some unsavory breeders have exploited the new trend to “adopt don’t shop” by passing themselves off as an animal rescue group. How can you tell the difference? One big way is by comparing the ‘adoption fee’ to the services your new pet is receiving. Are they spayed or neutered? Are they up to date on shots? If the dogs are puppies, then these things may not have happened yet. But a reputable animal rescue group will arrange these things for you at no additional cost. A real rescue group is not going to let you adopt a dog unless the pet is spayed or neutered or will soon be.

So, if you approach a ‘rescue group’ about adopting a dog and they are charging $300 or more but are not providing veterinary support of the pet’s vaccinations and other veterinary fees, then something might be wrong. An animal rescue group should not make a profit. And don’t let them fool you with, “Oh, we are just getting reimbursed for transport fees. This dog came from such-and-such place.” A real rescue group is run by volunteers who are likely not being reimbursed for transporting a dog from another location. Ask questions. Ask for proof of their non-profit status. Research them online.

I hope that clears up my stand on buying or adopting a dog. I love all dogs no matter where they come from. While I am proud to have had the opportunity to adopt and rescue two great dogs, it’s not their origins that make me proud. It them, their personalities, their silly antics, and all the other great things they do to make my life better.

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9 Responses to “To Buy or Adopt a Dog – Things You Need to Know”

  1. catchatcaren Says:

    While my first cat was a stray (who I found when he was 6 mos old and he lived with me for 18 wonderful years) and my second cat was adopted from a foster at a Petco event, my dog WAS purchased.
    I purchased him from a responsible breeder who was also a veterinarian. She was selling him because she couldn’t “show” him (he didn’t meet the standards) Her dogs were primarily bred for show and she only sold what she couldn’t show (meaning there weren’t countless litters for selling purposes)
    We purchased him when he was 6 mos old and we couldn’t be happier.
    Our first choice was to adopt from a Sheltie rescue but at that time I was not a blogger and there were no Sheltie rescues in our immediate vicinity in Michigan. My husband and I never knew about pet transport (which I know about now). I used to be ashamed and embarrassed that I purchased our dog but no more. I donate to every animal rescue imaginable, I promote countless adoption events on BOTH of my blogs and I feel comfortable that my dog came from a reputable breeder.
    People shouldn’t judge those who purchase their dogs when they don’t know the circumstances involving the purchase.

  2. Loy Says:

    I agree with catchatcaren. Circumstances are always telling, We once bought a dog. He had papers and everything. We thought it was a reputable breeder, Unfortunately, one look at the place, the condition his parents were living in etc, and I knew I could not leave him there. It was the best thing I ever did! Despite numerous health issues, he lived for 15 years! So no, he wasn’t a formal rescue, but….Happy Saturday.

    • catchatcaren Says:

      you are exactly right. I didn’t want to say this in case my breeder ever read this, but I didn’t think that Dakota received the emotional care that her “show” dogs did. He was well cared for physically, but every time we went to see him he came out from the other room where he had been in his crate.
      I had told my husband in a sense I feel that we “rescued” him emotionally

  3. thatjenk Says:

    This is great advice. More and more shady people are posing as rescue organizations to draw people in, and it’s becoming increasingly important to do due diligence there now, too.

  4. barkandchatter Says:

    You make some really great points. We have both bought and adopted, numerous times. Some relationships worked out better than others – as you point out, doing your research is high on the list of determining factors.

  5. Clowie Says:

    The really important thing is that people are really prepared to look after a dog and do all the things necessary to keep the dog happy and healthy.

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