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Why You Should Adopt, Not Shop

If you’re like most of us, seeing a dog on your way to class – or even better, seeing multiple dogs during your walk to Psychology – is probably the highlight of your day. And if this is the case, the thought of getting a furry companion of your own has probably crossed your mind at some point.

Whether you’re thinking of adding a four-legged friend to your family now because you live in a pet-friendly apartment, or you’re planning on making the jump after graduation, I have one thing to ask of you: please consider adopting instead of buying from a pet store or a breeder.

Here are a few reasons why.

1. 6.5 million animals end up in animal shelters in the U.S. alone every year.

Of those, approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats, according to the ASPCA. This number has declined since 2011, when estimates were closer to 7.2 million total, but there are still millions of animals in need of homes out there.

2. You’ll save a life –  1.5 million of those animals are euthanized every year.

There are some no-kill shelters out there that will take animals and keep them until they find homes, but a lot of animals aren’t that lucky. The ASPA reports that of those 1.5 million, 670,000 are dogs and 860,000 are cats. By adopting a pet instead of buying one, you’re saving a life.

3. And you’ll save another life – the life of the animal that now gets your new pet’s place at the shelter.

When you adopt a pet from a shelter, you free up a cage for another animal and give them a chance to find their forever home too.

4. You’ll save a lot of money.

Buying a pure-bred puppy from a breeder can cost you anywhere from $500 to over $1000 – and that’s just for the puppy alone. There’s no guarantee they’ll have their shots or that they’ll be microchipped and spayed/neutered. When you adopt a pet, you pay a much smaller adoption fee, and that includes shots, spaying/neutering, microchip, and sometimes even your first vet visit and some food to start you off.

5. It’s the easiest way to fight puppy mills.

Unfortunately, if you buy a dog from a pet store or an online seller, you’re probably getting a dog from a puppy mill, according to the Humane Society.

The Humane Society also gives a definition of puppy mills for those who aren’t familiar with the term and explains why none of us should support them.

“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. The moms of these puppies are kept in cages to be bred over and over for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever joining a family. And after they’re no longer profitable, breeding dogs are simply discarded – either killed, abandoned, or sold at auction.”

By adopting, you’re choosing not to support puppy mills and their abuse of dogs.

6. You’ll get to experience the eternal love and gratitude your new best friend will have for you.

Adopted pets, especially ones that have been at the shelter for a while, are grateful to be able to go home with you, and they’ll show it every day for the rest of their lives by loving you unconditionally.

7. Many are already trained and housebroken

This might not be the case if you get a kitten or puppy, but if you get a pet over a year old, chances are it’ll already be well on its way to being fully trained, saving you a lot of time and effort and giving you more time to play with your new baby.

8. It’ll change your life.

Getting a new pet is life-changing enough, but adopting one and knowing you’ve made a difference is invaluable. Sure, it may seem like rescuing one animal out of millions isn’t a huge deal, but to the animal you adopt, your choice will make all of the difference.

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Dania De La Hoya

Illinois State

Dania De La Hoya is a senior at Illinois State University double majoring in Journalism and French. She hopes to one day work for anything from a magazine to a newspaper to a TV station. Her biggest goal is to one day publish a fiction novel. When she is not writing or juggling three languages, she can be found binge-watching her latest obsession on Netflix, eating guacamole, or petting cute dogs. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @daniadelahoya.
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