Heard these buzzwords, “Adopt, Don’t Shop” and not entirely sure what it refers to? “Adopt, don’t shop” is a campaign slogan that a growing number of animal rights champions are using to promote to adopt pets from shelters and animal safe houses, rather than buying them from pet stores or puppy mills.
Some people and legitimate licensed breeders object to the slogan “Adopt, Don’t Shop” as they are committed to humane practices and place high emphasis on securing their purebred puppies in forever homes. Many breeders are passionate and passionately support rescue organizations as does many of the people who purchase thoroughbreds.
My personal gripe is that conditions at puppy mills are most often unpleasant for the expectant mother. Housed in shocking conditions, often under cruel weather conditions and my pet hate, chained on a short leash. There is a marked absence of medical care, sometimes barely any food or water. Sick and depressed, their babies are born with medical issues later on… and with that huge medical bills for the adoptive parent. Some barely have any human interaction, besides their jailers for company and once they have served their purpose, are discarded in the worst possible ways. Whilst there is a handful, that have a genuine love for breeding, most are in for the money. My perspective is that sourcing a pet from the rescue centre will eventually put puppy mills out of business.
Thinking of adopting a pet and wavering in your decision? Let me simplify matters for you and hopefully, you too, will enjoy unconditional love, loyalty and acceptance. Here are 15 reasons why adopting can be good psychologically, emotionally and physically :
- Facts : You are Saving a Life : Animals are euthanized in some pet shelters because there are simply too many that are brought in or rescued. By adopting a shelter pet, a space is emptied for another rescue’s reprieve.
- Adopting Helps Fight Puppy Mills : Due to the many animals already available for adoption, why shop and pay substantial fees when a shelter is full to overflowing of prospective fur children. Hopefully once breeders realise that a market no longer exists for the sale of puppies, they will close shop.
- Find a Fully Trained Dog : Wanting a puppy but not the poop that comes with it? Most dogs are already house trained and left at shelters because of divorces, death or immigration.
- You’ll Know the Dog’s Personality : Once you have expressed your requirements, the experienced shelter foster parents will be able assist you to choose the ideal pet provided you have predetermined your needs. Shelter foster parents will have previously sussed out personalities and behavior to facilitate an easier adoption.
- Vaccinations and other fees : Rescue pets have had all their vaccinations and may have been spayed, neutered or micro-chipped. Shelters unlike pet breeders have very reasonable adoption fees.
- Spoilt for choice : Be warned, there is a wide variety of desperately hopefully fur children waiting to be adopted. Expect to feel a deluge of emotions, some bittersweet when you see the anticipation on their faces.
- Parenting bliss : The question of “medicate or not to medicate” for my hyperactive child, did not arise. I simply had two Labradors who performed miracles with the children. Besides, there was absolutely no way, a stranger was going to get access to my children as their dogs were fiercely loyal and protective. The children have grown up with bodyguards, have learned compassion, empathy and responsibility as the pets were bathed, fed and played with. This human-animal bond has allowed them to become positive, confident and able to break barriers and make friends. Autistic children and other challenged children are able to relate more with pets than people.
- Light up worlds : It is a mutually satisfying relationship whereby man and animal provide each with renewed vigour and constant joy. It is a very blessed pet parent who comes home to a loving pet, the welcome and loving licks are heartfelt and pure.
- Good for health : A household pet can and will significantly lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Pet parents live longer than non-pet parents. Our local SPCA has a coffee shop cum quaint bookstore where cats lie supine on bookshelves and puppies romp freely, some even appropriating their own armchairs for hours on end. It is an ideal set up of relaxation and healing.
- Forget the Gym Fees : No point in signing up for the gym when you can meet and even exceed your exercise requirements as pets command and demand constants walks. Physical activity with pets can help prevent weight gain, diabetes and is known to improve posture, strengthen bones and reduce hypertension.
- A babe magnet : You smile? Yes, dogs do help break the communication barrier and dates are easier to get!
- Sensory stress relief : Pets are sensitive and respond well to body language and other cues. A wagging tail and a loving purr makes a world of difference at the end of the day.
- Trauma Counsellors : It has been proven that trained therapy dogs assist in the rehabilitation of soldiers suffering from PTSD. Even hardened prisoners are re-educated and almost transformed with assistance..
- Addiction Recovery : Stress is a major factor and the right pet, especially cats can assist people suffering from action. Drug rehabilitation centres advocate that acquiring a furry friend will reduce stress and addiction.
- Emotional support : Those “seeing-eye dogs” you spot on the street are a blind persons eyes. This “personal nurse”/service animal is able to assist in alleviating and even removing anxiety, depression and Some advice though, it is important not to pet these specialized aides as they cannot afford to be distracted.
Many advantages indeed but NOT a miracle cure for illnesses. A pet must only be sourced provided that the prospective parent (because that is admittedly what one becomes, albeit without the responsibilities of parenthood to human children), is prepared to invest in, love and appreciate domestic animals.
Affordability needs to be taken into account as owning dogs costs money. Puppies require spaying/neutering and vaccinations whilst adult dogs need flea and tick prevention treatments as well as vaccination boosters. Take into account the cost of a kennel, bedding, daily food and other paraphernalia, professional grooming, even pet sitting. Like a child, a sick dog requires veterinary treatment and bills can be daunting. It is a 10 to 15 year investment which brings pain at the ultimate loss of the pet.
Disadvantages of parenting a dog :
- Spontaneity is curbed. Embarking on a weekend away means first ensuring that a suitable “babysitter” or kennel is found for your fur child.
- A dog needs to be walked and mentally stimulated. Dogs have boundless energy and cannot be cooped up in a flat, as compared to maybe a cat.
- Dogs can be destructive if they have been sick, pregnant or left alone for too long. I once took mercy on a Jack Russell, unaware that she was pregnant, housed her, left her alone for a couple of hours and came home to scratched furniture and a favourite shoe, chewed.
- Dogs require responsibility and are capable of inflicting injury on people and children if not trained properly, eg, an active dog may in his enthusiasm, knock over a toddler.
- Those prone to allergies may be unable to keep a dog or visit homes with dogs.
Some animal shelters and rescue groups offering pet “rental” programs, on the basis of fostering an animal temporarily until a permanent home is found or if the personality fits in with the household. Adopted a human child, change your mind and give it back? No. The emotional repercussions are devastating for animals too, so careful consideration is required.
Cannot commit completely? Consider volunteering at a shelter, they are ALWAYS looking for volunteers.
Adopting and owing a pet is a long and mutually satisfying relationship built on unconditional love, trust, loyalty and companionship, some of that not forthcoming from humans.
What is your stance, would you adopt or buy?
Main image courtesy of treasureboxonline.com