I am completely sincere when I talk about my obsession with my dogs. They both mean the world to me, and I treat them like my first children. Mason will grow up believing they are his big sisters, and he their little brother. Elliot and Piper are like my soul mates, and I would do anything for them. They are both rescues from the same animal shelter in Ohio. The reason I am so passionate about adoption is because of my girls. Elliot and Piper are both the most loving, forgiving, and adaptable girls, and I can’t imagine my world without them.
If you adopt a dog, you’re getting a best friend and if you’re as lucky as I was, a soul mate.
My 5 Reasons to Adopt a Dog
One: You’re saving a life, literally.
Did you know there are 1.5 million pets euthanized yearly in the United States alone because there are just too many strays? Shelters, unfortunately, cannot always handle the volume of strays and surrenders taken in yearly that they’re forced to euthanize pets that should just have homes.
Those pets you see behind bars in shelters could be there for many reasons: honest-to-god surrenders because their owners couldn’t take care of them; strays found outside dying; or even a Christmas present returned after the holidays because pets are “too much work”. These animals need you to save their lives: don’t buy a dog from a store, adopt from a shelter! That brings me to…
Two: You’re helping to end puppy mills.
Do you know what a puppy mill is?If you don’t already, I am about to burst that little bubble you’ve been living in and break a piece of your heart.
Puppy mills are grotesque places where “breeders” continually impregnate dogs who live their lives in cages with the minimum legally required space. These dogs have their litters taken away from them far too soon, breaking their hearts over and over again. They’re often not cared for medically and bred with close relatives that cause abnormalities in their litters.
This cycle of breeding is vicious, and should be illegal. Rescue groups across the country work very hard to end these puppy mills, but you can help end them altogether.
Don’t buy a pet from a store. Just don’t. If you’re not buying, puppy mills will not make any money and they’ll be forced to quit hurting these dogs. For more information about puppy mills and how to stop them, click here.
Three: The adoption fee is a great thing.
Adoption does come at a price. But let’s consider what that fee covers:
- Spay and/or neuter surgery
- Any medication or surgeries your dog needs if they were sick.
This alone probably costs more than 5X the price of adoption.
When you consider this, you should probably also donate to that shelter on top of paying the adoption price. They need all the help they can get with all these perfect pups!
Four: You’re getting the most grateful pet to ever exist in the world
You may never really know what your baby went through. When I adopted Elliot, they didn’t have a lot of back story on her. But after all the issues that I had with her separation anxiety, I knew she probably was left alone for long periods of time and didn’t know when her previous owners would come home to take care of her.
We did know about Piper: her owners had divorced and the man surrendered her to the shelter. When we adopted her, we were told that if they were contacted by the woman within the first 30 days that we would have to return her to that owner. Thank God she never contacted the shelter: I don’t know what we would do without her!
But rescue dogs, no matter the background, are the most grateful animals. They all need time to learn to trust again. But once the trust is there, then they will look at you with the most loving, grateful eyes.
Five: Rescue pets are healthy pets.
This one is based off of my experience with dogs. My Elliot, though she has a heart murmur from a previous surgery, is healthy as a horse (where does that comparison come from?). Piper has never ever had any problems.
Even while I’ve been working at a veterinary hospital, it’s mainly the purebred dogs that have issues. Breeds are just often inbred and pushed to a point that their genes start to mutate and cause flaws and health issues. Most short-faced dogs, like pugs and bulldogs, have breathing problems and undergo nasal surgery to correct it. Plenty of breeds are predisposed to cancer (read more here), others need to have a surgery called gastropexy done to prevent horrific death (read more here). At our hospital, we have had multiple dogs have this surgery. In fact, one of our clients brought their best friend in too late, and the dog unfortunately passed.
It’s not their fault – it’s bad breeding. To keep the appearance of a certain breed that we love so much, breeders will “line breed” which means that they will bring relatives together to mate. There are obvious complications with inbreeding, but we continue to buy dogs from breeders based on their looks, and we neglect their health. Read more about this kind of breeding here.
To keep the appearance of a certain breed that we love so much, breeders will “line breed” which means that they will bring relatives together to mate.
But, I’ll allow… some breeds are pretty cute. I, for one, love Staffordshire terriers, Airedales, and Afghans. But guess what, I can find them in a shelter. All it takes is looking around, if you really, really, really just have to have a certain breed. It’s better to rescue them than continue to support line breeding or puppy mills.
What To Do With Your New Best Friend?
Have I convinced you? Surely the next thing you’re thinking is “Where can I get my new best friend? I have to adopt!” You are right to think so! And congratulations on this wonderful decision.
What to do now, you might be thinking. Alright, let me walk you through the next steps.
Where To Adopt Your Best Friend
Please, please, please find your nearest shelter and start there. You do not have to search far for your best friend; I can almost guarantee you’ll find him or her there. Be wary of online shopping for dogs, they could be a guise from a puppy mill. Local rescue groups and shelters are the place to go!
What You Need To Care For Your Best Friend
You will need to make sure you’ve got the appropriate necessities for your new pup. These can be found anywhere from Wal-Mart to PetsMart. Here’s the list:
- Water bowls and food feeder
- Appropriate age and health dog food
- Grooming tools, including brushes, nail trimmers, ear cleaner, tooth brush
- Carrier, crate, or travel necessities
- Heartworm prevention (to be purchased at your veterinarian) and flea prevention
- Collar with identification and leashes (might be interested in microchipping)
- Chew toys (you’ll have to experiment with the textures/noises your pet likes)
- Emergency kit
If you’ve got these things, you are set! I would suggest a feeder that is height-adjustable so that your pet doesn’t have to bend over too far You can get this large double bowl feeder if you’re getting two dogs like me! Grooming tools will vary by the size and hair length of the pet, this FURminator works wonders. Food should be as suggested by your veterinarian, as well as the heartworm prevention. Make sure to keep identification on your pet, be it a collar or mirochip. Toys will vary, and you are sure to go through lots of them (see what I do for my girls here)! And lastly, keep that emergency kit in your care in case you need it.
Realistic Expectations With Your New Best Friend
Let me paint you a picture. You’ve gone to the shelter, had the pet in mind that you want to adopt. The day before, you purchased all the things your best friend could need and have it all set up at home. So now you’re on your way to the shelter to pick him or her up!
“Aw, you are all so adorable,” you say to each pet, petting their adorable heads as you walk along. Then your eyes finally meet – the most beautiful blue pit bull locks eyes with you and you know that you’ve both fallen in love with each other. A staff member brings her out to you, and it’s over! She’s got to be yours!
The car ride home, she hangs her head out the window with a big ol’ pibble smile. After parking in the driveway, you bring her into her new home for the first time!
There’s your picture, okay? Got it in your mind? Awesome. Let’s pause the picture and really think about what kind of expectations you should be setting for yourself.
You don’t know what kind of life your baby had before you. Be kind and understanding of that past, and work as hard as you can to set a routine for her that she can trust. She may be all smiles to be out of the shelter, but she needs to trust you before a friendship can truly form. Provide her meals every day at the same time. Play with her how she wants to play, not too rough. Be understanding if she can’t read your mind immediately; she’s going to mess up. There will be potty accidents, chewed possessions, and possibly howling if she’s the vocal type. She needs to learn what is and isn’t okay, and you have to be kind. Kindness goes a long way with a rescue dog!
The best thing you can give her is time and patience. After a few days (or maybe weeks), you will have a dog that adores you with her whole being! I give this advice from personal experience. Elliot struggled with separation anxiety (and still does) when I first adopted her. It took me a month to get to a point that she trusted me and my schedule. We made it a point to go on a walk daily, go potty at the same time, and sleep together in bed at night. With the addition of Piper, she calmed down significantly and they are now inseparable.
Even just reading this article is an achievement. I hope that with all the research in this article, you’ve had a chance to learn a bit about adopted animals. I’ve touched on the importance of adoption and why it’s imperative to end puppy mills and line breeding. I’ve also gone over what to buy and helped give a realistic view of the first few days with an adopted animal.
I hope this has helped you make a decision. And I hope that you’re as passionate about adoption as I am. Elliot and Piper are my girls, my daughters. I can only hope that every else out there goes into a shelter and finds their best friend, and their soul mate.
One Last Thing!
In case you missed it, add your email in below to get our free and simple checklist of what things you need to be completely prepared for your new best friend. Once you’ve got it, print it out and go shopping at PetSmart together as BFFS!