We knew we wanted to adopt a dog when we moved in together, and we searched for one for a long time. It took us some time because we wanted a puppy. Tony had never had a dog before, and I was afraid that an older rescue might come with behavioral problems that would be difficult to train. Someday we’d like to rescue an older dog, but for Tony’s first pet, I wanted to make sure that we were beginning the training process from scratch.
I also didn’t want anything to do with commercial pet stores. I’ve heard too much about the practice of puppy milling, and I wanted to make sure that we weren’t participating in it. If you’re considering adopting a pet from a store, please research the practice of puppy milling, and see if you can ensure that the store you’re considering doesn’t work with puppy mills.
After visiting animal shelters, looking at PetFinder.com for hours a day, and visiting the PetSmart adoption fairs, we finally found Howie at a humane society about an hour away. The picture above is the one that was displayed on PetFinder.com when we found him. Pretty hard to say no to that face, isn’t it?
We paid a $150 adoption fee which included neutering, three rounds of shots, and extensive veterinary care to ensure that the puppies were healthy before they were adopted. The adoption fee barely covered what the humane society had already paid for his vet bills. If we had found Howie on the streets and paid no adoption fee, we still would have shelled out the money for neutering, shots, and a physical exam to ensure his health.
Humane societies are non-profit organizations, so even if you choose an older dog that doesn’t have the high pre-adoption puppy vet bills that Howie did, your adoption fee is a charitable donation to an organization that is fostering unwanted animals. So you get a lovable, healthy new family member, and you get to donate to a good cause. It’s win-win.
If your heart is set on purchasing a pure-bred puppy, keep this in mind: pure-bred dogs are often prone to genetic defects and medical problems that could eventually be costly, such as joint disorders, blindness, and epilepsy. I grew up with pure-bred Great Danes, and they were wonderful pets. Unfortunately, they also suffered extensive joint pain and none lived longer than 9 years.
The mixed breeds that you’ll find at the humane society are not only free to adopt, but they are typically less prone to the medical issues of pure breeds. So in the long run, a mixed breed could cost you less in vet bills, too.
If you’re thinking about welcoming a new pet into your family, I hope you’ll consider the humane society. Not only does it make sense financially, but it’s good karma.