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.