Adopt, Don’t Shop: A Phrase Worth Thousands of Lives

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Have you heard the latest catch-phrase, “Adopt, Don’t Shop?” If so, you might be wondering what it means. Adopt, Don’t Shop is a campaign slogan that a growing number of animal rights proponents are using to promote adopting pets from shelters, rather than buying them from pet stores. What’s behind the movement? Is it controversial? And how can you get involved? Read on for answers to all these questions and more.

Why You Should Adopt a Pet Rather Than Buy

Most of the puppies sold in pet stores or online originate from puppy mills, commercial dog-breeding facilities that focus on increasing profit with little regard for the health and welfare of the animals. Although puppy mills in the U.S. are legal, a vast majority aren’t regulated. Practices and conditions in most puppy mills are unethical and downright abhorrent in many cases. Dogs live in filthy conditions without adequate food, water or veterinary care. And female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little to no recovery time between litters. Inbreeding is also a huge problem.

Because of these conditions, puppy mills often produce animals with serious health problems down the road. And this translates to hefty vet bills for you. Many pet stores also don’t socialize their animals, which can lead to potential behavioral problems that aren’t ideal for a family pet. Adopting a pet, however, has a ton of advantages. The ASPCA reports that roughly 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters every year.

What Are the Benefits of Adopting a Pet From a Shelter?

There are many advantages of adopting a rescue dog that you and your family can enjoy.

1. You’re Saving a Life

Adopting a dog from a shelter not only means that you’re giving him a happy life, but you also free up a spot at the rescue or shelter to save another dog’s life.

2. You Can Find a Fully Trained Dog

Don’t know much about training a puppy or don’t have the patience? You can find an adult rescue dog who’s already house trained and has his basic manners down pat. But if you’re up to the challenge, a rescue can find you a puppy as well.

3. You’ll Know the Dog’s Personality

Rescues and shelters care about how a dog will fit in with your family and will give you as much information as possible about each dog’s personality, activity level, how they behave with children, other pets and strangers, and other factors that make for a good fit. Be sure to tell them about the qualities you want in your pet and ask lots of questions. That way, you can find a perfect addition to your family.

4. Rescue Dogs Are Less Expensive

A rescue dog has already had all of his vaccinations and may have been spayed or neutered. And shelters typically have very reasonable adoption fees, ranging from $50 to $300.

5. You’ll Find a Lot of Choices

Rescue shelters often have dogs of all ages and genders, as well as purebred and mixed breeds of all kinds (an estimated 30% of dogs in rescues are purebred). And if you have a specific breed in mind, reach out to a breed-specific rescue near you.

6. Adopting Helps Fight Puppy Mills

Approximately 95% of puppies you can buy in pet stores or online are from puppy mills. Adopting a dog from a shelter takes business away from mills. The more people who adopt, the more puppy mills have a hard time staying in business.

What’s the “Adopt, Don’t Shop” Campaign?

“Adopt, Don’t Shop” is a national campaign to raise awareness about the benefits of adopting rescue pets instead of puppies from pet stores that buy from puppy mills. The organization that launched the Adopt Don’t Shop campaign is Los Angeles-based Last Chance for Animals (LCA), an international, nonprofit animal advocacy organization focused on investigating, exposing and ending animal exploitation since 1984. LCA founder Chris DeRose is a leader in the animal rights movement and works closely with countless individuals and groups dedicated to humane treatment of animals.

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