One of my favorite places in Raleigh is the Village District. Although the vibe there reeks of both overpriced food and privilege, it offers an escape from college life — as well as great antique shops. Because of its walkable layout, I often see a lot of dogs strutting the sidewalks, and they’re almost always purebred dogs.
I have nothing against purebred dogs per se. I believe all dogs deserve a loving home and I’m not saying that all purebred dog owners don’t provide it. However, if someone decides to pay thousands of dollars for a purebred animal instead of putting that money into supporting the lives of animals in need, I have a problem.
When you decide to buy a purebred dog, it often means going to a breeder. Buying from breeders not only hurts your bank account, but also contributes to animal overpopulation. In the US alone, about 70 million cats and dogs are homeless. Only about 10% of these animals end up in animal shelters where they have the chance of a loving home.
Although some breeders are better than others, animal shelters are generally more concerned with animal welfare than profit. Many of the puppies that are shipped to pet stores and breeders come from puppy factories, which are large breeding operations. Often these places subject the animals to cruel conditions as the goal is to produce as many puppies as possible. When you choose to adopt from an animal shelter, you are helping to put unethical breeding practices out of business.
Some people are reluctant to support animal shelters that put their animals to sleep. For reasons of space and financing, however, homes often resort to this measure. When you adopt from a shelter, you not only make room for another animal, you also save the lives of other animals at the shelter.
If you’re still put off by the idea of adopting an animal from one of these shelters, don’t worry. Another option is a non-kill shelter like that of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Wake County, where the animals will not be euthanized unless the animal is too ill or injured to fully recover , or if it is an animal posing a serious threat to human security.
Also, animal shelters aren’t the only places animals can be adopted—there are animal shelters, too. Often these organizations are made up of dedicated volunteers who take steps to ensure their animals end up in the right homes. Rescues typically consist of caretakers or people who temporarily care for specific animals in the rescue.
There is a common misconception that shelter animals are unhealthier than purebreds. However, this is not necessarily the case. Many reputable animal shelters will almost always provide veterinary care upon an animal’s arrival, such as B. vaccinations, as well as a healthy, consistent diet.
In addition, purebreds have a higher incidence of health disorders. Due to the increasing popularity of dog shows over the past two centuries, selection for desirable traits through inbreeding has increased. This meant that purebreds were not only more likely to have genetic disorders, but also greater health problems due to their body shape. For example, a Boston Terrier’s squished nose — while very cute — makes them more prone to respiratory problems than other dog breeds.
But if you are determined to get a purebred dog, consider a rescue before going to a breeder. That’s right – there are breed-specific rescues! From corgis to ragdoll cats, there are a plethora of organizations dedicated to the welfare of your favorite breeds.
Regardless of where you find your best friend, make sure you are willing to take on the big responsibility of caring for an animal. Many of the animals that end up in shelters and rescues are surrenders. As Deputy Opinion Editor Mari Fabian wrote, most of us have so much to do and little time to do it that owning a pet might not be the best choice right now.
Pets can be a wonderful addition to our lives, brightening our days and giving us something to look forward to when we come home. However, almost any pet can provide these benefits without a large price tag or an aesthetically pleasing look. If you choose to adopt rather than shop, not only will your newfound friend get a new chance at life — but you might, too.