Why “Adopt, Don’t Shop” Matters

I know so many people roll their eyes at the phrase, “Adopt, don’t shop.”

I’ve even advocated before that it’s OK to buy a pet from a breeder if you research and visit them to know they’re ethical and truly care for their animals. I still believe reputable breeders are better than pet stores, the latter of which are notorious for supporting shady puppy mills.

But I believe more than ever in that little but powerful phrase, “Adopt, don’t shop.”

Why does this matter so much? Let me share C.J. English’s words from the book Rescue Matters that tells the story of the Turtle Mountain Animal Rescue in North Dakota.

“Buying animals from pet stores and breeding dogs to bring more of them into a world that cannot take care of their brothers and sisters, keeps millions of dogs stuck in the system or sentenced to death. A friend once told me that if I bought a dog, it would sentence seven other shelter dogs to death. I was curious to see if that was just rhetoric or if those statistics were closer to the truth. I dug in to find out. What I wanted to know was, ‘does buying a dog sentence other shelter dogs to death?’ The answer I found was yes. Yes, it does.

  • 45 million households in the U.S. have a dog.
  • 1.5 million of those homes have a rescued dog.
  • 43.5 million households have dogs that were intentionally brought into the world.

“Of those 43.5 million homes that have bought dogs, if ONE out of every 64 families adopted a dog instead, it would END euthanasia for dogs in shelters across the U.S.

  • 3 million dogs go into shelters in the U.S. each year.
  • 1.5 million of those dogs get adopted.
  • 670,000 dogs get euthanized because they did not get adopted, are deemed unadoptable, or there is simply just no room.

“Ending euthanasia of healthy unwanted dogs is a problem that is solvable and within our grasp. A rescue revolution has begun. Through awareness, education, and encouraging one another to adopt not shop, we can end the suffering of millions of homeless dogs right now. Not in 20 years, not in the next generation, right now. If we do nothing, we sentence dogs waiting in shelters to death, and the next ones in line for that kennel share the same fate.”

I recommend every single person, especially if you call yourself an animal lover, read this book.

It’s also important to note that these numbers are even higher for dogs labeled pit bull breeds.

It’s truly heartbreaking. So yeah, that’s why adopting matters. That’s why rescue matters. That’s why I care.

The stories in Rescue Matters shook me more than I thought they would. It’s heartbreaking, it’s enlightening, and it’s so, so important.

For every animal that hasn’t known love, that hasn’t had a home, that hasn’t had a chance, for beautiful rescue dogs like my Brick, for my many rescue cats, I’ll never stop caring. ❤


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