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Adopt, Don't Buy: Why People Need to Start Adopting Pets

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Why keep buying while those in shelters are dying? Millions of animals find themselves surrendered to shelters each year. The growing numbers are cause for the overpopulation crisis that shelters face. To relieve the shelters, millions of animals are euthanized every year, and in order to save these animals, the community needs to not only embrace the motto: ‘Adopt, Don’t Shop’, but execute it. People often look to buy that cute little puppy in the pet store window, not realizing that that only leads to more animals relinquished to shelters. People should look to adopt animals from their local shelters rather than buying them from elsewhere to beneficially minimize the overpopulation crisis shelters face.

Deciding on whether or not to get a pet is no easy decision; it takes thorough consideration. They are considered a part of the family and that often means that they require a lot of care. Pets provide a sense of companionship, but may lead to some problems in and out of the house. Having a pet can cause health issues for some; they can cause family members to develop an allergy. Depending on the severity, allergies can cause fatal reactions. Families should make precautionary decisions when getting a pet. While getting an allergy is possible, it is not always the case. In fact, pets have been known to help protect against allergies. If exposed to animals at a young age, pets can actually help children build immunity against bacteria. Often times people are concerned over the safety of their children when considering a pet. Whether it be allergies or behavioral issues, sometimes pets can be aggressive and dangerous. There is always a fear of the unknown, and getting a pet can sometimes be a blind decision. Most often, people do not know how the pet is going to react when it is brought home and introduced to children. While some pets can be aggressive, not all are and many are only aggressive when they feel threatened. Some pets are already trained, and if they have behavioral issues there is always the option to train them. A pet often comes with a handful of responsibilities. Responsibilities mean time and money some people may not have the budget for. It is necessary for pets to get annual care, but they cost a good bit of money. Preventative maintenance treatments alone can cost anywhere from fifty to a couple of hundreds of dollars a month, and people may not have the financial stability to get coverage on them or maintain the veterinary visits regularly. If money is a problem, then getting a pet would not be the best idea; it would be a hassle on the owner and deprive the animal of basic care. Getting a pet and then not being able to provide for it is one of the leading causes of animals ending up on the street and in shelters. It would do the animals more harm than good. There are numerous things to consider when getting a pet, and there may be some downsides, but a pet is certain to bring happiness.

Despite the difficulties that a pet may bring, that care can help teach life lessons. Having a pet can teach people to have responsibility and accountability for something other than his or herself; not only would he or she have to provide for themselves but for another living thing as well. A pet also helps teach time management and budgeting skills. People need to be able to manage their daily lives while also saving time for their pet, and they need to be able to budget their money accordingly so that they can provide for their new furry friend. Pets can help children learn how to be compassionate and gentle, while also supplying a lesson in patience when training them. There are downsides to everything and having a pet is no exception, but the benefits they bring far outweigh the bad. Everyone should do themselves a favor and get a pet. In addition to the amity between pet and owner, pets have been known to have a positive effect on a person’s mental and physical health. Dogs help to promote physical activity, whether it is throwing a ball or simply walking; fifty-four percent of dog owners get more exercise than non-dog owners. Not only does a dog require exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but humans do as well. Furthermore, having a pet and staying active helps improve one’s health. The physical activity provided from having a pet can enhance heart health. Having a strong heart reduces the risks of cardiovascular disease, thus resulting in more health benefits that may also be associated with a lower risk of obesity, lower blood pressure, less stress, and lower cholesterol levels. Having a furry exercise partner is not the only benefit of going outside though. Pets act as motivation to get out and relish in the sunlight. Going out and spending time in the sun can raise vitamin D levels, which can counter depression. Pets pushing people to get outside is not just good for the body, but also the mind. For instance, they help to reduce stress and counter disorders like anxiety and depression. Besides combating disorders, pets also help people become better versions of themselves. Analyst have shown that pet owners are more outgoing and confident; they are also less likely to feel lonely or be anxious about daily life challenges. Pets help bolster people’s confidence and help them to express themselves better; they help people be more open and friendly. Dogs were found to have helped children with autism communicate with others. They provide a sense of emotional support and help people to be more vocalized. Pets help people form better relationships. Pet owners are believed to have initiate in conversation and form friendships. They can help build relationships by acting as an icebreaker for conversation. Like who does not like to talk about animals? In addition to acting as an icebreaker, they also help people to be more empathetic which always people to connect. Furthermore, forming friendships helps people to be more open and confident; being surrounded by both people and pets provides a sense of belonging and helps to reduce stress. In particularly, having a pet can help people to cope with challenges and unexpected traumas. They have the ability to read someone’s body language so they would sense when someone is feeling uneasy, dejected, vexed, etc., and provide a calming presence to get him or her in a better state of mind. Equally beneficial is that pets can provide an extra sense of security in the home and on the street. Home intruders are likely to be scared off by a barking dog, and other animals can alert their owner of dangers like a fire or gas leak. Who would not mind a little extra protection, especially in the form of a furry friend? While pets provide a sense of security, they also provide a sense of comfort. Pets can sense when their owner is feeling bad by reading their facial expressions and picking up on their body language. They are always there to put a smile on someone’s face or lick their tears away. Animals live in the moment and they serve as motivation for people to do the same. Pets live their lives one day at a time, and they do not worry about what is going on this day or the next. They bring joy into the lives of the people they meet. They make people smile when all they want to do is scream or cry, and they provide a sense of comfort that people cannot. In their short lives, pets provide an unconditional love that is unrivaled.

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Animals often get the short end of the stick because of humans. Many people think that the majority of animals in shelters are there because of their bad behavior, but contrary to popular belief, most animals are there because of human problems. Moving into a new place might mean giving up a beloved animal because of the new landlord. Sometimes people need to move whether it be because of financial issues, a new job, or a family split (divorce). During these times people may find themselves in need of moving into a cheaper place. Sometimes these new, affordable places do not allow for pets, only allow certain breeds, or require a pet fee. Other times animals end up in shelters because their owner can no longer afford to keep them or take care of them. Sometimes people can no longer take care of their pet(s) due to a loss of income or a lack of access to pet resources. Not only may they not have the financial stability to provide for the pet, but they may also not have insurance to cover the health expenses or have a veterinary care facility close by. When change happens suddenly, be it having to move or losing a job, people often feel overwhelmed. They need to be able to manage all their responsibilities and that includes taking care of their pet. Depending on the situation, people may feel like they can no longer care for their pet and are forced to make the decision of giving them up. For whatever the reason - moving, financial issues, a lack of access to care and facilities, family problems, or a change of heart - shelters are having to increase their intake of animals. This continued intake adds to the overflow of animals into shelters. The fate of many of these animals is out of their control and is distressing.

In order to alleviate overpopulation, shelters have to make the difficult decisions, one of those being whether to euthanize an animal or not. Every year, six to eight million dogs wait to be adopted from animal shelters- so many that millions are euthanized each year due to overcrowding, according to PETA. As people continue to buy animals, others are forced to be put down. Why buy when adopting one saves a little life? Often times people are oblivious to where their purebred is actually coming from. People who purposely buy from pet stores are unaware that they are playing a major part in generating a market for inhumane breeding. Facilities responsible for this callous practice are known as ‘puppy mills’. People are oblivious to the substandard conditions in which these animals are kept in and the inadequate care they receive. Puppy mills are factory-style breeding facilities that put profit above the welfare of dogs. Animals from puppy mills are housed in shockingly poor conditions with improper medical care, and are often very sick and behaviorally troubled as a result. These animals are denied the proper care on a daily basis with no repercussions. Being treated inadequately results in the animals suffering not only physically but mentally. A lack of sufficient care and connection with other animals or humans, while being constantly confined is cause for an unhealthy and dissociated pet. Animals from puppy mills are usually shy or aggressive because of the lack of social interaction they get from being cooped up all the time. They also get little freedom and are deprived of things like toys and treats. This often leads to people abandoning their pet shortly after getting them because they become frustrated with their behavior. This adds to the continuation of overpopulated shelters. Animals continue to suffer at the hands of humans. Dogs from puppy mills suffer greatly and often have health problems. Puppy mill dogs are commonly afflicted with epilepsy, heart conditions, kidney disease, musculoskeletal disorders, endocrine disorders, blood disorders, deafness, eye disorders, and respiratory problems. Puppy mill puppies may be purchased with any number of diseases and medical conditions including parvovirus, distemper, respiratory infections, pneumonia, mange, fleas, ticks, giardia, heartworm, chronic diarrhea, intestinal parasites, and kennel cough. A lot of the time people are unaware of these health problems until after purchasing the dog, and these dogs are in a constant state of suffering. Not only do they have health problems, but breeders often produce animals with hereditary defects. These defects are passed down through the constant breeding process and continuously effects animals. Dogs from puppy mills can be sold through pet stores, online vendors, flea markets, or even newspaper ads. The only way to stop this inhumane practice from continuing to thrive is for people to stop buying their pets from stores and breeders. It starts with research and people need to do their research before purchasing a pet. If people stop buying animals, puppy mills will lose their profits and eventually vanish. As a result, it would put an end to these animals’ agony. Humans caused this problem and it is up to them to fix it. Adopting an animal is the best way to not only put an end to the inhumane practices of puppy mills, but also the best way to find a best friend. There are numerous benefits to adopting a new found companion.

How gratifying would it be to save not one life but two? Adopting a pet helps more than just the animal itself. For instance, when an animal gets adopted, it is being saved from potentially being put down, but it also frees up room, allowing the shelter to help another animal off the streets. In addition to making room for more intakes, it can also help to alleviate shelters of overpopulation. The shelters provide the animals with food and care, giving them the proper nourishment. Most shelters pets have received their annual vaccinations and been wormed, treated for fleas and ticks, microchipped, and spayed or neutered. That can save up to at least $800 in saving. Pets available for adoption have all the health care expenses covered, and that is a good deal for both parties. People who purchase from pet stores or breeders would still need to pay for all those treatments. Buying a pet can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars while adopting can cost as little as $50 and rarely more than $200. Adopting not only saves lives but also money. Why buy a pet that not only cost a fortune, but also contributes to inhumane practices? Why not adopt, what is holding people back? People often do not adopt because they believe animals in shelters are badly behaved. Contrary to this popular belief, most of the dogs in the shelter are actually well behaved and trained. Fewer than 18% of animals are in shelters due to bad behavior. Consequently, many are just there because the family could no longer provide for them. Most of the animals are already house trained and the staff makes sure that they are in good health before they are considered adoptable. In fact, shelter staff trains the animals whenever they can and performs behavioral tests in order to determine whether they are ready to be put up for adoption or not. It helps them learn what causes an animal to act out and set precautions for people coming in to adopt. People avoid shelters because they do not want a mutt. While people are hesitant to adopt because stereotypes, there is an animal for everyone whether it be a mixed-breed or purebred. Around 25% of animals in shelters are purebreds. There is also more than one place to adopt. If someone cannot find the specific animal, they want at their local shelter they can try another one or look for breed-specific rescues. There is simply no excuse as to why someone should not adopt a pet over buying one. While people often search for a purebred, it may be in the potential owner’s interest to get a mixed breed. Mixed breeds have a longer life expectancy compared to a purebred because purebreds are prone to developing health problems ranging from breathing difficulties to hip dysplasia to an enlarged heart. A mixed breed from a shelter would be another contributor to saving money. With little health problems comes far less veterinary bills that can cost a substantial amount. The majority of animals in shelters are already spayed or neutered; this gives the prospective owner a healthier and better-behaved pet. Spaying/neutering an animal helps eliminate health problems like breast cancer, uterine infections, testicular cancer, and prostatic hyperplasia, while also reducing some of the problems connected to mating. Having a pet already ‘fixed’ helps eliminate health problems which then in turn saves the owner money. They save money on not only the operation but also on potential medical bills that could result in the future if the pet is not spayed/neutered. They also get a better companion and avoid frustrations that could result in them surrendering their animal to a shelter or the streets. There is a range of variety in shelters; animals of all ages, breeds, charisma, and sizes are available for adoption. There is an animal for everyone to adopt, it is just a matter of how hard someone is willing to look for the perfect best friend to take home. There is really no excuse as to why someone would avoid animal shelters and adopting. Animals that have been adopted have often been described as showing ceaseless loyalty and love. Adopted pets are forever grateful to their owner who gave them a forever home. Adopting is bound to bring unconditional love, so who really rescued who?

In order to reduce the overpopulation in shelters, people need to start adopting animals rather than purchasing them from breeders and pet stores. Buying an animal results in less opportunities for animals to be adopted. Shelters are in need of their communities’ support and help. If not, animals will continue to be euthanized in order to create space and maximize resources. People need to start executing the motto: ‘Adopt, Don’t Shop’. And if they cannot adopt themselves, they need to make it known to their community and everyone that these animals need to be adopted. Post on social media: Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc. Spread the word, “Hey this dog/cat needs to be adopted soon or it will be killed! RT until we find him/her a home”. People can donate money or more specifically supplies that their local shelters may be in need of: newspaper, food, treats, blankets, towels, toys, etc. Not only donating items or money but also time. Becoming a volunteer or even just visiting with the animals from time to time is more than enough. Shelter staff cannot walk and play with every animal. Taking them outside and interacting with them is not only beneficial to their health but also just makes their day. Adopt, don’t shop.

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Adopt, Don’t Buy: Why People Need to Start Adopting Pets. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 8, 2023, from
“Adopt, Don’t Buy: Why People Need to Start Adopting Pets.” Edubirdie, 15 Dec. 2022,
Adopt, Don’t Buy: Why People Need to Start Adopting Pets. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 Dec. 2023].
Adopt, Don’t Buy: Why People Need to Start Adopting Pets [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 15 [cited 2023 Dec 8]. Available from:
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