If your family is considering adding a pet to your household, Congratulations! Pets bring joy to so many families. Who can resist the quirky antics, companionship, responsibility, and love from owning a pet? When someone decides to get a pet, the controversial topic often discussed upon friends is “adopting” a pet from a shelter or rescue, or “shopping” for a pet from a private party, breeder, or even online.  Let’s discuss some of the considerations when “adopting” or “shopping” for a pet.

The Controversy Behind the Idea of “Adopting” vs. “Shopping” for Pets

Before we get started, let’s talk about the argument behind adopting vs. “shopping” for pets. I may have already pushed a few hot buttons for some folks, so I wanted to encourage everyone to have an open mind regarding the subject. People are quick to judge each other’s lifestyles and choices, and this subject is no exception. Some people will be ready to point out that by “shopping” for a pet, you are contributing to the “overpopulated” pet society and are encouraging breeding rather than spaying and neutering pets.

Breeders would argue that if everyone quit breeding pets, then we would not be passing on the heritage and desired traits that purebred pets bring to the world. Just like ANY controversial topic, there are multiple sides to every story. All I am trying to illustrate is that, just like we are quick to judge others on the decisions they make, I encourage everyone to try and have an open mind and make an educated decision before jumping on either side of the argument.

Adopting a Pet

There are several things to consider in the argument of people adopting pets (versus shopping for a pet).

Other considerations when adopting a pet: As I mentioned, if you are choosing a pet from a shelter or rescue, expect the facility to interview you about your home life, housing situations, and maybe even come out for a home visit before deciding if you can adopt the pet. They may also ask personal questions such as is your roommate/spouse/significant other on board with getting a pet.

If you are renting your home, they may ask for written approval from your landlord. While this can be an uncomfortable process, the shelter is only trying to ensure the pet has a forever home, and that they are not returned to a shelter because “things didn’t work out” or the “landlord wouldn’t allow the pet.”

Shopping for A Pet

Shopping for a pet can be a very controversial topic. However, there are numerous factors as to why a person may “shop” for a pet rather than adopt one. Some shelters and rescues have particular screening processes, and your family may not take home the exact pet you want because you don’t fit the criteria for that pet’s needs.  Other folks will shop for pets because they have a specific breed or age of pet in mind that they may not find locally at their shelter or rescue.

Other Considerations when Shopping for pets: Breeders may be just as picky in their screening process as shelters or rescues. Responsible breeders that are proud of their pets invest a lot of time and energy into the health and well-being of the pet. They want to ensure the pet will be a good fit for your lifestyle and go to the right home. Most breeders ask pet owners to sign a contract that has several terms and conditions regarding the pet’s health, spay/neuter/breeding status, or even proper nutrition for the pet.  After all, your pet is an example of what their kennel can produce, so they want to make sure you understand the importance of taking care of your new pet properly.

Use extreme caution when getting a pet online from a pet store, breeder, or even Craigslist or Facebook. There are a lot of responsible breeders out there, but there are also a LOT of puppy/kitten mills and irresponsible breeding, as well as a lot of scams online!

Consider Your Options

As you can see, there are many considerations for bringing a pet into your family. Some argue that “adopting” a pet is not an excellent fit for every family. Purchasing a purebred animal might not be an excellent fit for every family due to the cost or time restrictions involved.  When you are ready to bring a new pet home, consider your circumstances, including finances, time restrictions, and desires.  Whether you decide to “adopt” or “shop” for a pet, you can feel good about your choice as you are bringing joy and companionship to that pet’s life for many years to come!

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