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The cold winter months after the holidays can be a bit disheartening - it is also a perilous time for some pets. After the zeal of the holiday season fades, animals that were gifted for Christmas are often disposed of by their guardians to animal shelters. The purpose of this post is to give the future pet-parent a flash list of reasons why adopting a best friend from a shelter is a wise choice.
Puppy mills are cruel. They exist with the mindset that profit trumps the welfare of the animal. Period. They are deceptive organizations that do not offer transparency which is a huge red flag. In Quebec, the puppy mill trade is particularly high due to lax animal protection laws. A good way to thwart their existence is to halt the demand, which can be achieved by educating the public to their nefarious ways. Why are puppy mills deemed cruel? The reason for this is simple: puppy mills churn out baby dogs in a factory fashion, with zero standard of living. This means that the animals - parents and pups - are kept in cramped, inhumane conditions and subjected to diseases. Often, the mothers are made to carry litters to term incessantly, which is unrecommended. In many cases, there is inbreeding. The main supplier of puppy mill dogs to the public is pet stores. In pet stores, puppies are seldom socialized, which in itself can lead to behavioral problems.
From the get-go, the chances of you purchasing an animal that is diseased or has behavioral issues is higher when it is acquired through a puppy mill by the means of a pet store. Let it be known that, as mentioned above, deceptive tactics are employed by both pet stores and puppy mills to hide the truth behind the dog’s origins - no one wants to buy an “at risk” dog. That being said, when you acquire a dog from a shelter, chances are that either the previous guardians went through the basic vet procedures already or that these are included in the already cheaper shelter price - this is hardly negligible. Indeed, “designer dogs” for sale in pet stores are often sold for thousands of dollars. You, however, can leave a shelter with your forever buddy for a couple of hundred. As for behavioral issues, these too come at a cost. Trainers can be expensive and an unsocialized dog is quite challenging.
Often, dogs are disposed of because of human-engendered issues such as moving or allergies - the percentage of dogs in shelters surrendered by a guardian is 33% . This means that the problem is not the dog itself (we’d go as far as to say that it is never the dog’s fault, actually). What you get when you rescue an older dog that has already lived with a family is a dog that is more than likely to have basic house-training and has a track record of socialization - a definite plus!
The emotional impact of adopting a shelter dog must be taken into account. The action you are posing by doing so is two-fold: you are securing a safe space for a dog that has been abandoned and freeing up a space for another dog in need. Dogs are a source of unconditional love and support and their presence in our lives offers endless psychological benefits, why not return the favor? Also, we would like to take this minute to debunk certain preconceived notions. If you are in the market for a specific breed for any number of reasons, a little research can go a long way. Indeed, there are many passionate dog-lovers out there who offer breed-specific re-homing options, all you need to do is do a little digging! We highly recommend going the “adopt way” - the rewards are endless and you will make friends along the way.
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