When you’re ready to add a new dog to your family, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is where your new family addition is going to come from. But before you start looking at local breeders, spare a thought for the thousands of puppies and adult dogs waiting in shelters to be adopted. Once you start looking into what really goes on in dog breeding operations, it becomes hard to overlook the benefits of giving a shelter dog a second chance at a happy life. Read on for five reasons why rescuing a dog is way better than buying one.
5 Reasons Why Rescuing a Dog is Way Better Than Buying One
Purchasing a puppy from a breeder can easily cost several hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on the breed. Rescuing a dog, on the other hand, could be free or cost a couple of hundred dollars at most. At the very least, you’ll know that any money you pay to a dog shelter when rescuing a dog will be put to good use, providing facilities for other dogs in need of a good home.
Cost savings of rescuing a dog rather than buying a new puppy don’t just extend to the initial cost of the dog. When you bring a new puppy into your home, that’s when the bills start coming in. Puppy vaccinations will see you at your vet’s office on a regular basis while your puppy is little, and your new little addition will also need microchipping as soon as possible, and to be spayed or neutered when they reach the right age.
Rescuing a dog from a shelter is a simple way of saving on those initial expenses that come with a new puppy. Most shelter dogs will be completely up-to-date with their vaccinations and other veterinary needs, and will already be spayed or neutered and microchipped. All you’ll need to do is update the microchip details once you bring your new rescue dog home, and then continue with their vaccinations in the future.
Skip the Puppy Stage
For some people, the initial adorable puppy stage is one of the biggest drawcards of bringing a new dog into your home. However, the adorable faces and cute, chubby paws quickly lose their appeal when your puppy cries through the night, has accidents all over the house, and systematically chews their way through all your shoes and furniture. The cold reality of life with a brand-new puppy may turn some people off the idea of adding a dog to their family altogether.
The ability to skip the puppy stage altogether is, for some people, one of the biggest questions to consider when deciding whether to choose a dog who has been rescued or bred.
When you rescue a dog, you’ll have your choice of dogs of all ages and at all stages of life. You don’t have to choose a senior dog if you don’t want to, but you could save yourself the woes of life with a brand-new puppy by rescuing a dog between six months and two years of age. Dogs of this age are most likely already toilet trained, and even if they aren’t, they’re mature and calm enough to pick up the lessons quickly and easily.
Some shelter dogs will have already been partly trained and be able to walk nicely on a leash, making it much easier for you to bond with your new dog. If you picture cuddles on the couch, long relaxing walks, and a companion who will easily slot into your existing family routine, adopting a slightly older dog from a shelter could be a much better option than starting from scratch with a brand-new puppy.
Know What You’re Getting
When you purchase a new puppy, there is no real way of knowing exactly what your dog is going to look like when they’re grown or what their temperament is going to be. While some of these traits are inherited from their parents and are specific to their breed, each dog is an individual and most litters will produce a dog that is shyer and quieter than the others, and another dog that is a natural-born leader. When you’re choosing a puppy, you’re really rolling the dice as to what type of temperament you’re getting.
Rescuing a dog from a shelter, however, gives you the opportunity to get to know your dog and understand their personality before committing to adopting them. Most dogs are fully grown well before they’re a year old, so even if you rescue a relatively young dog you’ll still know exactly what size dog you’re getting.
The staff and volunteers at the shelter will be able to give you a good idea of the dog’s temperament, so you’ll know exactly what you’re dealing with and whether you’re equipped to take on any particular issues that the dog may have. If you’re happy to welcome a shyer or more timid dog into your home, you can work together to build your dog’s confidence. But that is a decision that you should be able to make in advance, rather than taking a new puppy and being surprised at an unexpected temperament as the puppy matures.
The Benefits of Mixed Breeds
While it’s certainly possible to adopt a purebred dog from a shelter, the majority of rescue dogs are mixed breeds. Unfortunately, for various reasons, purebred dogs tend to be more likely to develop health problems throughout their lives whereas mixed breeds tend to be more resilient and less likely to suffer from health problems. While this is, of course, a generalization and there is no way of predicting the future healthfulness of your dog, you may be able to save yourself some future heartache (and vet bills) by rescuing a mixed breed rather than purchasing a purebred puppy.
Saving Lives and Giving Second Chances
Nothing can beat the feeling that comes with rescuing a dog from a shelter, knowing that you’re giving an innocent dog a much-needed second chance. When you choose to adopt, not only are you saving the life of the dog you choose, you’re also potentially saving the life of another unknown dog who can take your dog’s place in the shelter.
It is common knowledge that pets can help us with stress and anxiety, but the feelings you’ll have in knowing that you saved an innocent dog’s life by welcoming them into your family will be unlike any other.
And while any dog will show love and affection to their human family members, rescue dogs will bring a sense of deep gratitude to the relationship that you simply won’t get if you purchase a puppy from a breeder.
Just as no two people are the same, no two rescue dogs will ever be the same. Some rescue dogs need a new home because of behavioral or socialization problems, and these are the shelter dogs that you’re most likely to hear about from friends or on the news. But the majority of dogs serving time in a shelter are there through no fault of their own – perhaps because their previous owners were not equipped to deal with the ongoing demands of a pet, their owners moved away, or due to a death or other major event.
These dogs deserve a second chance at a happy and fulfilling life. They certainly don’t deserve to spend the rest of their days waiting patiently to be rescued from a dog shelter. You have an amazing opportunity to do something wonderful for you and your family by rescuing a dog who will undoubtedly bring a lot of joy and happiness to your home.
About Our Guest Author
James Woller is a long-time dog enthusiast, and owner of Release the Hounds and Jet Pet Resort, professional dog walking and boarding companies in Vancouver, Canada. On his days off from running his companies, he enjoys learning and writing about topics that are of interest to caring pet owners.