The Adopt Don't Shop movement focuses on encouraging the adoption of animals from shelters and rescues rather than from puppy mills or breeders. As a vet tech, I think it's part of my responsibility to spread this movement and everything it stands for, so here is a collection of reasons why you should Adopt not Shop.

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1. Adopting animals saves lives.

When you adopt a homeless animal from a rescue or shelter, you are saving this animal's life, as well as another animal who now has a spot to stay in the rescue/shelter. Don't believe me? Check out these facts.

Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. Shelters EVERY YEAR. Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized. Thankfully, this number has declined since 2011, which had 2.6 million pets euthanized. But there is no reason we can't stop the number of healthy pets being euthanized COMPLETELY.

44% of households in the United States own a dog, and 35% own a cat. BUT 34% of dogs are obtained by a BREEDER.

( info retrieved from ASPCA.org )

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2. "But what if I want a specific breed?"

There are countless shelters and rescues across the U.S. that specialize in specific breeds. All you have to do is google the breed you want and google rescues around you.

However, consider this: Many purebred dogs are genetically predisposed to have health issues. This is due to overbreeding and incest (ew) conducted by breeders with little or no experience in animal genetics. For example, many miniature dachshunds that are overbred end up having very long torsos and legs that are too short to support their weight, causing joint and back pain and issues throughout their lives. Similarly, Boxers, Pugs, Boston terriers, and other "short-nosed" breeds, also known as brachycephalic breeds, are known to have heart and breathing issues that are particularly bad if they've been overbred.

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3. Adopting is Cheaper!

Buying a "purebred" animal from a breeder can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of pocket, and rarely includes proper medical care for the puppy/kitten. Meaning that you'll be spending even more money at the vet to get shots, deworming, tests, and exams after you get your new pet.

When you adopt a shelter/rescue animal, more often than not they come fully vetted, meaning they're up to date with their vaccinations, have had all necessary testing, surgeries, and are in good health. All of this comes at a relatively small adoption fee, sometimes even with no adoption fee at all, depending on the shelter/rescue you choose.

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4. You Are Helping With the Animal Overpopulation Crisis in the U.S.

Individuals who breed their pets instead of having them spayed or neutered are contributing to the overpopulation of stray and homeless animals in the U.S. And when someone decides to purchase an animal from these breeders, they are encouraging them to keep breeding their animals and making more money. This is a vicious cycle of overpopulation, overbreeding, and ignorance. Most people don't understand the harm they're doing by adopting a cute purebred golden retriever puppy, but they might have just sentenced a stray puppy found by animal services to death because nobody would adopt them in the time allowed. Whether we mean to or not, if you don't spay/neuter your pets or adopt your pets, you're contributing to the problem.

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It may sound silly, but dogs know when you've rescued them. And they will never forget it. You will be their life, their best friend, and they will change your life for the better.

Next time it's time for you or a friend to pick out a new furry friend, please choose to

ADOPT DON'T SHOP!