Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.

Rescue Dogs: 10 Tips To Help You Adopt, Not Shop

Rachel Poli Author
May 6 ·
tips to adopt a rescue dog

Did you know that about 3.1 million dogs are brought to animal shelters every year? Only about 1.6 million of those dogs are adopted. Unfortunately, about 390,000 of those dogs are euthanized because they can’t be adopted. Let’s discuss some tips to adopt a rescue dog.

This is why people are always saying, “adopt, not shop.” However, you could potentially save a dog’s life if you adopt from a shelter or a rescue.

What Does It Mean To “Adopt, Not Shop?”

To break it down, “shop” means to shop for a specific breed through a breeder or puppy mill. Also, people are more inclined to find puppies than adult dogs or seniors.

On the other hand, “adopt” means to find a dog or other animal from an animal shelter or a breed rescue organization.

Animal Shelters

Animal shelters, also known as the pound, are places where dogs, cats, and other animals go when they have nowhere else to go. Most of the time, these animals are found wandering the streets as strays or were abandoned or surrendered to the shelter by their previous owners.

Some dogs get loose from their yard and are lost in some cases. At some point, they’re happily reunited with their owners. But, in other cases, they stay at the shelter for far too long, waiting for the right family to come along and adopt them.

Rescue Organizations

These places are similar to animal shelters. Rescues are groups that “rescue” animals off the streets and are dedicated to finding good homes.

Some rescues are “breed-specific,” which means they cater to helping certain breeds. For example, a Chihuahua rescue organization only works with purebred Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixed breeds.

Why Should You Adopt Rather Than Shop?

There are many reasons you should adopt rather than shop. A few reasons are listed below:

  • It’s less expensive
  • You can save a dog’s life
  • The shelter knows the dog’s personality
  • Adoption helps to fight puppy mills and breeders
  • You’ll have many choices

As you can see, there are many benefits to adopting dogs rather than shopping for a specific breed.

10 Tips To Help You Adopt, Not Shop

Some people go through a breeder to get a purebred dog or a designer dog (a mixed breed). Or sometimes they have their heart set on getting a puppy rather than a dog that’s any older.

Depending on what you want for your family or what your family needs, be sure to consider all your options. Check with animals shelters and rescue organizations first.

1. Puppies are sometimes available

Most people go through breeders because they want a puppy. Puppies are more attractive since they’re supposedly more adorable than adults or senior dogs. Also, people want a puppy because they’ll have the dog as part of the family for a much longer time.

Sometimes, shelters get dogs from a hoarding situation, or they were rescued from a puppy mill or backyard breeder. So, puppies are occasionally available at the shelter.

If this is the case, the shelter may even have a special adoption event to give all the puppies and their parent good homes.

2. Some dogs are fully trained

When a dog arrives at the shelter, they’re thoroughly evaluated. They get checked over by a vet and are also evaluated for their personality. They check to see if they’re good with other dogs or cats, depending on the other animals in the shelter.

In some cases, if their previous family surrenders the dog, they’ll be able to tell the shelter if the dog is reactive, friendly with young children, affectionate with family, etc. 

Also, depending on how old the dog is, they may already be trained. However, the shelter will work with them to train them properly. This way they should know basic commands and also have some manners.

3. You can save a dog’s life

Unfortunately, some of these dogs have been waiting at the animal shelter for years. They watch their doggy friends get adopted one by one and go to a forever home while eagerly awaiting their turn.

No matter the dog’s age, most of them are afraid to be in the shelter because they don’t understand why they’re there. If they were lost or abandoned by their previous owners, then they may feel like they’re not good enough and still miss their previous family.

So, you can save a dog’s life by providing them with a new, loving, forever home. Show them what it means to be loved again.

On the other hand, some shelters euthanize the dogs to make room for new dogs if they’ve been there for too long. There’s absolutely no reason a poor dog should lose its life simply because it doesn’t have a home.

4. You can still find the breed you’re looking for

Another reason people tend to go to breeders is because they’re looking for a specific breed. For example, maybe their friend has a purebred Golden Retriever, and that’s just the type of dog you’d love to have as part of your family.

Instead of asking them which breeder they went through, you can first check your local animal shelter. They might have purebred Golden Retrievers or mixed breeds available that have Golden Retriever in their genetics.

Alternatively, you can research breed rescues. There are Golde Retriever-specific rescues that you can go through. They too will have Golden Retriever purebreds, mixed breeds, puppies, adults, or seniors looking for a loving, forever home. 

5. Let the dog pick you and your family

One of the best ways to adopt is to allow the dog to pick you. Bring your whole family along so all of you can make the decision together. When going through the kennels, see which dogs jump out at you and pay attention to those who get excited to see you.

It’s always best to inquire more about those dogs. They see potential in you and want to go home with you.

6. Adoption is cheaper

Going through a breeder or a puppy mill may cost you thousands per dog. Adoption is much cheaper. You may only spend a couple of hundred at the most, but some shelters have adoption events that make the cost lower.

7. Shelters may have adoption events

Adoption events are typically weekend-long events where the adoption fees are waived. This makes it even cheaper for you to adopt a dog, cat, or small animal.

This event can also occur when the shelter has too many dogs. So, you could potentially have many dogs to choose from to see which one will be right for you and your family.

8. You’ll fight puppy mills

Puppy mills are legal in the United States, but they’re not ethical. They breed dogs to profit from selling the puppies online or by selling them to a pet store. If you go through shelters and rescues, you’ll help combat puppy mills, thus making it harder for them to stay in business.

9. You’ll support the animal shelter or rescue

Most shelters and rescues are non-profit organizations and are often run by volunteers. By adopting from these places, you can help fund their practices. This will allow them to save more dogs provide more room, food, toys, etc. 

10. Shelters and rescues offer support

Whether you’re a novice dog owner or an experienced one, the shelter and rescue will help you. They’ll walk you through the adoption process and help you make the right decision when choosing a dog.

In addition, some shelters may reach out a few weeks later to check-in and make sure you and the dog are settling in well.

Always Adopt, Not Shop

Overall, shelters and rescues truly care about the health and wellbeing of the dogs. Their goal is to find forever, loving homes for each and every pup, no matter their breed, age, or background. 

Rachel Poli Author
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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