Adopt, don’t shop
Benefits of adopting when looking for a pup
By Andi Endruhn, Staff Writer
You want a dog. You’ve been scrolling through picture after picture of puppies on Instagram, and you made the mistake of joining the Dog Spotting group on Facebook.You’re desperate for your own tiny fuzzball. An important question arises: where are you going to get your new forever best friend from?
Pet shops and breeders are known for either astronomically expensive prices, or questionable breeding tactics. This can be daunting for both you, and your wallet. What about adoption?
Phil Fulton from the Calgary Humane Society says that the main reason to adopt is the benefit for the animal. “By adopting, you are providing a home to pet who is already homeless. Our adoptable pets also come with a wealth of background information such as health check, vet records, vaccinations and behaviour assessment.”
When many of us think about getting a dog, we imagine picking out a little fuzzy bundle of fur from a litter and taking them home, assuming adoption is reserved only for older dogs. But according to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS), roughly 18 per cent of dogs taken into shelters are juvenile, making the odds of you finding a puppy pretty good. But don’t forget that there are plenty of older dogs out there that might just be a perfect fit for you.
Picking your dog up from a shelter, rather than a breeder, can help stop overpopulation in shelters. Remember that puppy mills and backyard breeders are commercial business that are focused on turning a profit. Often, the welfare of the dogs they breed and sell is disregarded. This can result in over breeding, poor socialization of the puppies, and sometimes health defects. These animals often find themselves with long term health or behaviour problems that might contribute to them ending up in shelters. Adoption offers an ethical way to both pick out a dog suited to your lifestyle, and take a stand against the unethical treatment of animals.
Adoption allows dogs that have been given up by their past owners, found in abusive situations or as strays, a second chance at life. Many of them have ended up there because they couldn’t be cared for properly.
“The majority of animals are either surrendered by owners or found stray. However, some of our population is seized by our Animal Protection and Cruelty investigation team,” Fulton stated.
Local shelters like Calgary’s Humane Society work within the city to take care of abandoned or surrendered animals. Similarly, you can look to other organizations like the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS). AARCS works with Alberta’s rural and Indigenous communities to take care of animals found where there are little to no animal services. AARCS rehabilitates its animals in foster homes around the province to ensure the best care for their animals. They often have adoption events with animals on site for you to meet, play with, and potentially take home.
For students and others on a budget looking into pets, adoption is a great budget saver! A purebred puppy from a puppy mill costs about $900, while one from an ethical breeder usually sits around the $2,000 range.
In contrast, puppy adoption from Calgary’s Humane Society is $490. This fee also includes vaccination and puppy training classes for you and your new dog. Older dogs and bonded pairs (depending on their age) are significantly less, costing anywhere from $350 downwards. AARCS also has similar price points that will help make your dreams of dog-ownership possible.
Lastly, don’t forget that shelters aren’t home to just stray dogs. In your quest for a canine, you might have forgotten the option of other animals like the many cats, rabbits, birds and reptiles that cohabitate the shelter system. Keep an open mind. Visiting your local shelter, you might find your new family member in a completely different species! Your perfect companion might be a rabbit who loves to snuggle, or a pair of senior cats who are looking for their new home.
So take a chance. Browse the websites and go to animal meet and greets at your local shelters. Your new best friend might just be waiting there for you!