Adopt don’t shop?

I know adopting pets (specifically, in this post, dogs) is good…but we shouldn’t forget it’s not the only the option.

I think we can all agree that buying puppies from pet shops isn’t a good idea.

Almost all puppies sold in pet shops have come from back yard breeders, or puppy mills. They won’t have been health tested, they won’t have been socialised well, they won’t have been well bred and most times they will have been treated very badly.

This is the same for those tiny, dirty pet shops that randomly sell puppies, and it is the same for those giant, corporate, squeaky clean pet shops that sell nothing but puppies. The latter usually sell pure breeds and/or ‘designer’ cross breeds for hundreds of pounds.

Buying puppies from pet shops is not a good idea.

However I don’t agree with this new ‘adopt, don’t shop’ approach. This idea that we MUST adopt dogs, and we are terrible people if we get a puppy through a breeder.

I disagree so strongly with this.

Buying a dog from a responsible breeder, who treats their dogs well, is not a crime. It’s a wonderful way to source a dog, especially if you are looking for a particular breed or you want a puppy that should be easy to mould into what you want.

I see a lot of places that love to claim ‘dogs in rescue centres almost never have behavioural issues’, and I have to call this out.

I have had two rescue dogs and have also volunteered at several rescues, working with dogs.

Our first dog we adopted straight from somebody’s home; he came with a myriad of issues and we were lied to a lot about his behaviour. We’ve had to put SO MUCH effort into getting him to be anywhere near a happy, confident, stable dog.

Our second dog was bought from a pet shop, sold to a despicable human who kept her outside, then given to us. Zoey had a lot of issues, and was an incredibly difficult dog. Even though people would argue she should have been a blank slate, as we rescued her around 10 weeks old…she wasn’t.

Our third dog on the other hand was from a breeder. He had a great start, good socialisation with the breeder, and he has been so much easier than our other two dogs. I cannot even describe it – I didn’t know dogs could be this easy!!

I am NOT saying every dog you get from a breeder is automatically great. I’m not saying every dog from a rescue is riddled with issues…I’m saying we need to stop telling people that rescue dogs are always perfect, stable dogs.

Rescuing a dog is good; it gives a dog in need a home.

But buying a dog from a responsible breeder is also good. A good breeder’s dogs will never end up in rescue as good breeders will always take them back or help home them.

Some people do not want rescue dogs, and that’s fine. For other people they need a puppy from a breeder, for a variety of reasons. These can include:

~ They want a working or sport dog, so need a dog that will have the right drive & temperament
~ They want a specific breed of puppy
~ They want the great start; the health tests, the meeting the parents, the knowing about early socialisation and training and food
~ They want a puppy that will settle in quickly; adult dogs usually take several months to settle
~ They can’t get a dog from a rescue centre due to over-strict requirements
(this counts for us, the following are reasons why various rescues would not let us adopt one of their dogs: I am disabled, we don’t work, we have other pets, age, our garden has less than 6ft fencing)

This is me with the dog we really wanted to adopt, before we found Kasper.

I fell in love with him.


Smudge was at one of the rescues we volunteered with; he was an unknown mix (Spaniel, Collie, what the hell else?!), he was young (I’d guess around 4-5 months) and he was incredible. I wanted him SO BAD.

But the rescue wouldn’t let us adopt him.

We lived in a small flat with no garden, we weren’t working and we were young (twenty and twenty-one). All those things obviously meant we were incapable of caring for a dog…yet a week later we found Kasper, and we have given him the best life we possibly could.

Anyway, nobody should feel forced into taking in a rescue dog.

After adding Raiden to the family, I honestly don’t know if we will ever want a rescue dog again.

  1. Our only option for adopting dogs is to go via their old owners, who could lie to us again
  2. Adult dogs have already been shaped by their past experiences; they often come with a lot of behavioural issues
  3. I love the experience of puppyhood – from choosing the breed, the breeder, visiting the babies, obedience training…I love it 🙂
  4. After volunteering at five rescue centres, I am not happy with how ANY of them treated the dogs. Oftentimes the way staff interacted with the dogs made me highly uncomfortable.
  5. I put my mental health first. Bringing a breeder puppy home is so much easier for me than bringing home an adult rescue

Responsible breeders are not the enemy.

Backyard breeders, puppy mills and pet shops are the enemy.

Rescue dogs are not perfect, and they are not perfect for everyone. We should not be slating people and forcing them into taking in rescue dogs, nor should we make them feel bad for choosing another fantastic, responsible option.

By all means, if you’re able and would like to, rescue a dog. Or go through a breeder. It’s YOUR choice 🙂




5 thoughts on “Adopt don’t shop?

  1. I cannot thank you enough for this post. In fact, I wrote a similar post on my own blog:

    In our case, I knew I wanted a golden retriever, and my kids really wanted the experience of raising a puppy. Well, golden retriever puppies don’t often find themselves at rescue centers or pounds, at least not in the area in which we live. Additionally, the golden retriever rescue program in our state does not adopt to families with children under 10, and our daughter was four at the time. My husband is also not a big dog person the way I am, so I knew we needed to do everything to increase our odds of success. Especially with four kids and an at-home business, a problem dog just would not have worked. For us, it was not a decision between rescue dog or breeder dog; it was breeder dog or no dog at all. Would I consider adopting a rescue dog in the future? Absolutely! I have volunteered at rescue shelters and know the heartbreak of euthanizing wonderful animals. As with most things, I think people should assume most people are trying to do the best they can and not rush to judgment.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this post 🙂

      I couldn’t quite get to your post from the link (it took me to a page saying “you are not allowed to edit this”) but I searched ‘adopt’ on your blog and found the one I think you were talking about 😀

      I have had two rescues and, although I like to think I would only go the breeder route for future pups, I know we’ll end up with a rescue dog or two somewhere in the mix. I also rescue a lot of smaller pets. But it’s definitely not the only ‘good’ way to get a pet, and it’s unfair when people say it is. I know a lot of people who get their dogs from breeders end up bashed by complete strangers for not rescuing the dog – it’s none of your business, you have no idea why they chose to go through a breeder!

      Thanks for the comment, and Aspen is beautiful 🙂

  2. We started looking at rescues and came across something which is not really talked about. Lots of rescues won’t adopt with young children in the house, this includes small puppies. This is for obvious reasons, we knew the sort of dog we wanted and were willing to wait, but in the end we went with a breeder

    • I’ve seen that. Most rescues I’ve volunteered with have had a no kids under about 5 or 6 rule.

      I understand where they’re coming from, but it’s another daft blanket statement. The right dog matched with the right children could work; giving an adolescent Collie that’s had no training to a house full of children with already overwhelmed parents probably wouldn’t 😛

      Our local rescue actually does it (badly) the other way, and adopts out dogs that have aggression or fear issues to families with kids. I’ve lost count of the number of dogs that go into the rescue and are described as “shy” (in my experience with this particular rescue, ‘shy’ normally means the dog growls and snaps at strangers), and the rescue says the dog can be homed with kids of any age…it doesn’t seem wise to me, and a lot of dogs at this place are returned due to behavioural issues the adoptive owners weren’t aware of.

      • I agree, I don’t think there should be a blanket ban, but it should be right dog to the right family, good forbid you give the wrong dog to the wrong family and something happens. Even if it doesn’t the effect on the dog must be overwhelming to be passed on from pillar to post

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s