Guest column: 5 great reasons to rescue a dog
By Samantha Randall — YouTuber, podcaster and editor-in-chief at Top Dog Tips.
“Rescue Me” is a recurring column by Samantha Randall, editor-in-chief at Top Dog Tips. She’ll provide personal anecdotes and perspective about her life as a pet lover with a passion for cat and dog rescue. Today, in honor of National Dog Week, she gives us 5 great reasons to adopt a rescue.
You’ve finally decided to bring a dog into your family. You’re ready for this responsibility but you’re on the fence about the process. You’ve heard all kinds of things and now you’re not sure if it’s better to adopt one from a rescue organization or get the dog elsewhere. As someone who’s adopted many dogs over my lifetime, here are the five best reasons you should adopt a rescue instead of buying a dog.
1. You Are Saving a Life
There are more than 3.3 million dogs in shelters across the country. Only a third of those dogs will be adopted, according to the ASPCA. The rest will likely be euthanized.
Unfortunately, many people still prefer to buy a dog instead of adopting a rescue. If more pet owners began adopting dogs instead of buying them, the number of euthanized dogs could be dramatically lower, which ultimately benefits everyone (more on this below). By adopting a rescue dog, you will certainly be saving at least one life — and yes, it’s something to be proud of.
2. It’s Economical
Adoption prices are much lower than the cost of buying a dog. According to the Humane Society, the usual adoption fee for adult dogs ranges from $50 to $150, depending on the dog’s size, breed, age, etc. For puppies, the usual fee is $330. Compare that to the average price of purchasing a purebred puppy, which is usually between $400 and $1,500, and sometimes higher. And that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to saving on costs of dog ownership.
In most cases, the cost of spaying or neutering a dog, vaccinating him, initial checkup and occasionally even microchipping is included in the adoption fee when getting a dog from a rescue. If the pet you adopted is adult and trained, you will also save on housebreaking and training expenses.
3. Regular Support
People working in rescue organizations care for the pets they foster and always try to find a perfect home for residents who are leaving them. They are always ready to answer questions and provide support — before, during and after adoption. You can let them know what qualities you are looking for, what energy level you prefer in a dog, what your living and family situation is and more. It’s standard for them to have an adoption questionnaire that will ensure that you find a dog that is the perfect fit.
In addition to this, you will get support and help from the rescue group any time you need it. After you bring your pooch home, you can ask them any questions that arise; they can walk new pet owners through unforeseen circumstances. Even if you must take the dog back for some reason, they will make sure the process is smooth.
4. You Know What You Will Get
Adopting a rescue dog means that you have an opportunity to choose exactly what you are looking for. Shelters are filled with dogs of every breed, gender, shape, size and color. If you are adopting an adult rescue dog, you’ll know what kind of personality the pet has and what you can expect, because the staff will inform you of everything you need to know about the dog. This is even truer when you are adopting a rescue dog from a foster home. The current owner can provide firsthand information about the dog’s personality, behavior, how they act with other pets and strangers, how they behave around children and more.
You can even get a fully trained pooch when you adopt a rescue. That’s especially good for first-time owners since you won’t have to worry about potty training and other behavioral problems common in puppies and untrained dogs, which can be sometimes frustrating. Another thing to mention is that many rescue groups and ASPCA shelters offer specific “foster-to-adopt” programs, in which you will be able to spend some time with the dog before you decide to adopt him.
5. You’ll Be Helping in the Fight Against Puppy Mills
Unless you know how to find a reputable breeder, there is a strong possibility that you will get a puppy that came from a puppy mill. This is even more likely when buying a dog online, in most pet stores or at a flea market (yes, that still happens).
Puppy mills are disreputable dog-breeding factories that only care about the profit and don’t pay attention to the dog’s well-being. That means that the dogs are not provided with adequate medical care and are often abused and suffer from physical and emotional trauma. The only purpose of dogs in puppy mills is breeding. All dogs — puppies and their mothers — are often kept in cages without any companionship or attention. When they can no longer breed, they are simply thrown away or killed.
Adopting a dog, whether from a shelter or a rescue group, is the best way to fight these illegal puppy mills. As long as people buy puppies from these breeders, they will stay in business. So make a conscious decision to adopt a dog from a rescue and help in the fight against the unethical and abusive practices of puppy mills.