Pick Your New Pup From The Pound

This post was originally written as an Opposite Editorial (Op-Ed) piece for my Journalism 868 class.

Forget breeders. Ignore Craigslist. If you haven’t already renounced puppy mills, do some additional research and ask yourself why you’re really getting a pet at all. Instead, take a trip to your local human society or shelter; it’s the best place to get a dog. You may only adopt one dog, but you’re likely helping rescue more.
There’s nothing wrong with the other options (except puppy mills, of course). There are good and bad breeders, just like people in any other path of life. There are just far more positives for the typical dog owner in rescuing.
First, there are the financial reasons. Rescuing a dog from a shelter generally costs less than $250 out the door. That money often covers the spay or neuter, shots, vaccinations and more at a much lower cost to the shelter than if you cover the costs yourself for a non-shelter dog. At the breeder’s, the pup will likely be covered on these treatments too, but will also usually cost you more than $500, with many notable breeds (or dogs from reputable breeders) checking in at more than $1000 (Kelley, 2017).
Next, there’s the great service. You’ll generally receive assistance from a volunteer, someone working with the shelter purely for the love of animals and the goodness of their hearts. Volunteers at shelters do everything from walk and feed the animals to lead fundraisers (The Human Society of the United States, 2012). Volunteers will teach you about dog care, tell you about the dogs’ personalities and habits, and have already potty trained the dogs for you (Stillwell). Most importantly, these volunteers’ goal is to hook you up with just the right pup.
Finally, you’ll know you helped not just one, but multiple dogs. Many shelters are overcrowded, and face a constant struggle to help save as many pets as possible. When you adopt a dog, we like to say you’ve “rescued” that dog. The reality is that you’ve probably rescued the next dog, the one for whom there was otherwise no space in the shelter (Stillwell). You’re giving one dog a home, and giving the next dog a chance to find its own.
Ignore common myths about shelters. Saying that pure-bred dogs are “better” than the unique mixed-combos you’ll find in a shelter s isn’t notably different than suggesting that a person of a single, documented ethnicity is “better” than a person of mixed heritage. Sure every breed has common defining characteristics, but every dog is special.
If you’re considering getting a dog, I’m begging you to consider getting it from a shelter. Find your local Humane Society, pet rescue, or even PetSmart store, where the company helps you adopt (as opposed to selling you) dogs in need of rescue (PetSmart: The Adopt Spot, 2017).
Consider going a step further to help your local shelter pets. You don’t have to volunteer to be of service; just spread the joy you’ve found! Let people know where you found your bundle of joy, why you went there, and encourage them to do the same. Share with them where to get the newest member of their family for all the right reasons.

“The Adopt Spot.” (2017). PetSmart. [web]. Retrieved Feb. 21, 2017, from:

Kelley, J. (2017). “Dog Adoption Fees Explained.” PawCulture: Your Pets, Your Culture. [web].
Retrieved Feb. 21, 2017, from: http://www.pawculture.com/tips-advice/pet-parenting-how-tos/dog-adoption-fees-explained/

Stillwell, V. “Shelter vs. Breeder.” Positively: The Future of Dog Training. [web]. Retrieved
Feb. 21, 2017, from: https://positively.com/dog-behavior/new-dogs/shelter-vs-breeder/

“Top Reasons to Volunteer at Your Local Animal Shelter.” (Nov. 1, 2012). The Human Society

of the United States. [web]. Retrieved Feb. 21, 2017, from: http://www.humanesociety.org/animal_community/resources/tips/reasons_volunteer_shelter.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/?referrer=http://www.humanesociety.org/animal_community/resources/tips/reasons_volunteer_shelter.html