Adoption & Fostering

Why You Should Always Adopt, Don’t Shop When Getting a Pet

white labrador dog couch christmas decor

Are you thinking about welcoming a cute pet into your home? That’s wonderful! Bringing a pet into your life can be incredibly rewarding. But before you start browsing the puppies at your local pet store, please consider adopting from a shelter instead.

Adopt, Don’t Shop isn’t just a catchy slogan – it’s a compassionate choice that can make a huge difference. Let me tell you why.

Why You Should Adopt A Pet Rather Than Buy

It breaks my heart to say it, but most puppies sold in pet stores and online come from puppy mills. What’s a puppy mill? It’s a commercial dog-breeding facility that prioritizes profits over the well-being of the animals. The PAWS reports a shocking statistic: 90% of pet store puppies originate from these inhumane operations.  

woman holding paw of dog 1

Imagine dogs crammed into filthy cages, deprived of adequate food, water, and veterinary care. Female dogs are forced to bear litter after litter with barely any recovery time. Rampant inbreeding causes painful health issues. These are the hidden horrors behind that cute puppy in the window. 


And even though puppy mills are legal in the U.S., the vast majority operate without any oversight or regulation. It’s an industry built on animal cruelty. By adopting from a shelter, you can take a stand against these abusive puppy mills and avoid giving them your money and support. 

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Adopting Saves Lives and Prevents Overpopulation

Every year, about 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. shelters, according to the ASPCA. By adopting, you’re giving one of these animals a second chance at a happy life. You’re opening your home to a dog or cat who may have been abandoned, abused, or forced to fend for themselves on the streets. It’s an opportunity to turn their story from tragedy to triumph.

puppy sleeping pet owner adorable

Adopting from a shelter also helps fight the massive problem of pet overpopulation. When you adopt, you’re caring for an animal already in need rather than creating demand for yet another puppy to be born. It’s one small action that can make a big dent in ensuring all pets get the love and care they deserve.

Find Your Perfect Match at a Shelter 

“But I want a specific breed!” is something I hear a lot. I totally get that. You may have your heart set on a particular type of dog. But guess what? An estimated 30% of shelter dogs are actually purebred. And if you have a specific breed in mind, you can always reach out to a breed-specific rescue organization. Adopting doesn’t mean settling for less than your dream dog.

What’s more, shelters are committed to finding you the ideal pet for your lifestyle and family. They learn so much about each animal’s personality, quirks, and needs. 

playing puppies young dogs

Looking for a couch potato cuddle buddy? An energetic adventure companion? A dog that’s great with kids? Shelter staff can play matchmaker and pair you with your perfect fit. It sure beats the limited info you’d get from a pet store or puppy mill.

Not all homes should have a dog, but all dogs should have a home.

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Rescues Have Dogs of All Ages (Even Puppies!)

Now, I know puppies are insanely cute. Those big eyes, clumsy paws, fuzzy faces – I mean, come on! But let me tell you, puppies are also a TON of work. If you’ve never had a puppy before, get ready for round-the-clock potty training, nipping, chewing, and boundless energy. It takes a lot of time and patience to raise a puppy right.

dog puppy cub shih poo cute

If you’re up for the puppy challenge, shelters can still hook you up! Pregnant mama dogs sometimes end up in rescues. But if you’d prefer a furry friend without all the puppy training, shelters are full of adult and senior dogs who often already know the basics, like house training and leash manners. From puppies to wise old dogs, shelters really do have it all.

Save Money and Get a Healthy Pet

Okay, let’s talk money. I know vet bills can be daunting, but adopting from a shelter can actually save you some major cash upfront. Adoption fees typically range from just $50-$300, and that usually includes the animal’s vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, and even microchipping. Compared to the expenses of buying from a breeder or pet store, it’s a fantastic deal.


Plus, shelter animals receive excellent medical care before adoption. You’ll take home a pet who’s up to date on vaccines and has been evaluated by a vet. It’s not uncommon for puppy mill dogs to have painful and expensive health issues down the line because of the poor conditions they came from. With a rescue pet, you can feel more confident about your new friend’s health.

a veterinarian vaccinating a dog 1

Get Training Help and Lifetime Support

One of the coolest perks of adopting? The amazing support system you gain. Shelter staff are experts in animal behavior and training. They can give you all the tips and guidance you need to help your new pet adjust to home life. Have a question 2 weeks or 2 years down the line? They’ll be there for you.

Many shelter pets have already lived with families, so a lot of them have some training under their belt, whether it’s basic commands or house manners. They’ve experienced home life before and can settle in more smoothly than you might expect. Of course, any new pet will need some time and understanding. But with a shelter dog, you’re rarely starting totally from scratch.

the girl and the dog are playing

Final Words

Listen, I know adoption isn’t the right choice for everyone, and that’s okay. But I truly believe that if more people opened their minds to adopting, the world would be a better place for animals. It’s a small, personal choice that adds up to a huge positive impact.

Adopting is a way to gain a best friend while fighting cruelty and saving lives. You get an incredible pet, handpicked for your lifestyle, with a support network behind you. And trust me, when your rescue dog looks up at you with those grateful, loving eyes, it’s a feeling like no other. It just might change your life.

dogs puppies friends

So, before you buy, will you consider checking out your local shelter? Talk to the staff there, meet some of the animals, and open your mind to the amazing potential of rescued pets. Visit to search for adoptable animals near you. And if you do end up adopting, share your story and spread the Adopt, Don’t Shop message far and wide! Together, we can fight puppy mills and create a more compassionate world for pets.


About Helen K. White

As someone who deeply believes in the power of adoption and fostering, I've seen firsthand how it can change lives—for both animals and humans alike. Through heartwarming stories and practical tips, I'm here to share insights, advice, and resources to support you every step of the way. With years of experience volunteering at shelters, fostering countless furry pals, and helping families find their perfect pet match, I bring a wealth of knowledge and passion to the table. Whether you're thinking about adoption, navigating the foster journey, or just looking for heartwarming tales to brighten your day, I've got you covered.