Editor’s Note: Petful is a vocal supporter of adoption/rescue over purchasing pets. With that said, we also believe in allowing a range of opinions on our site. The writer of the essay below may not be a cheerleader for shelter adoptions, but she clearly advocates careful research and breeder scrutiny when it comes to purchasing pets.
Over 30 years ago I met a giant dog who terrified me. He was my aunt’s dog and wasn’t mean; he was just a huge dog.
I was so afraid of this dog that whenever we visited my aunt, I wouldn’t go inside her house until the dog was put in another room.
It wasn’t long until I came to realize there was no reason to fear this dog, because he was the sweetest, gentlest dog I had ever met, and he gave the best kisses.
From then on, I swore that one day I would have a dog just like that.
Cash Exchanges Hands
Thirty years later I got that dog I had dreamed of for so many years. Actually, I bought that dog.
It wasn’t a spontaneous purchase. I didn’t all of a sudden one day decide that I wanted a dog and went out and bought the first one that I saw. It took years for me to buy this dog.
I researched the breed. I researched the breeders. I knew what I wanted, and I knew what to expect. And then I waited for the perfect time to purchase him. This dog was going to become a member of my family — a companion for me, a companion for my husband and a companion for my children. Things needed to be just right for us to bring this new member of the family home.
The kids had to be a reasonable age, the finances to care for a dog had to be there and the time needed to care for a dog had to be available.
Finally, the planets aligned, and the perfect time came. I put down a cash deposit before he was born, and 9 weeks later he graced this world with his adorable, plump brown self. I drove more than 6 hours to get him and handed over a lump sum of cash to the breeder.
No Buyer’s Remorse
I have never regretted that day or the amount of money I spent. Never — ever.
In fact, 4 years after I bought him, I bought another one. And in 10 years I will probably buy another one and another one and another one. I won’t ever feel bad about it, and what bothers me is that some people try to make me feel bad for buying a dog.
Why is there a stigma attached to buying a purebred dog?
I’ve been alienated at events for not adopting from a shelter instead. I’ve been told by a person that they would never touch my breeder-bought dog, not even with a 10-foot pole. I’ve been told numerous times that for every dog I bought, a shelter dog died. Good grief, people.
People Like Me Aren’t the Problem
I am fully aware that there are millions of dogs in shelters that need homes, and that sucks. I’m not against adopting — I’m all for it. It’s just not my choice.
I am also fully aware that people like me are not the ones who are responsible for those dogs being in shelters, and people like me are not the ones who are adding to the number of growing dogs in shelters today. I’m one of the responsible pet caretakers who bought a dog from a responsible breeder and put a lot of careful research into it.
I’m not the one who bought a dog from a backyard breeder or a pet shop and then decided to drop it off at the pound because it had too many health problems.
I’m not the person who picked up and moved and left my dog behind.
I’m not the one who kept my dog for 12 years and then decided it was too old and took it to the pound.
And dare I say it, I’m not the person who adopted a dog from a shelter that I knew nothing about, then it turned out s/he was just too much to handle — so I’m exchanging this dog for the other dog in the shelter that I know nothing about, and wouldn’t you know, that dog poops too much, so I’m going to just leave it outside for the rest of its life.
I am not that person.
I did purchase a puppy. I’ll do it again, and I won’t feel any remorse for it. And one day maybe I will adopt a dog from a shelter, but not because someone told me I had to — rather, because it will be my own choice.