Updated: Oct 19, 2019
#adoptdontshop is an agenda I’ve pushed since first working with #animal rescue charities as a #teen. I’m not here to tell you that your latest #rescue #rabbit will look you in the eye and blink ‘thank you’ in Morse code but I here to explain why #rescuing a #pet instead of buying one should be your first stop!
So without further ado, here are 10 really hard to argue reasons that you should be visiting your local rescue instead of calling up a #breeder or shop for your next fur, scale or feather baby, at least as a first choice.
1. A strong case of the warm fuzzies and associated bragging rights
Okay let us get the ambiguous one out of the way first. As a firm believe that doing good deeds helps the world go round, there’s nothing better than being the one to hold your hands up and go ‘look at the difference I have made to this life’. More so if you can post up before and after shots and send updates to the rescue centre to show how good rescuing can be! Also, if you don’t have the time or space, there are other ways to support that give you bragging rights and a feel good fuzzy as well.
2. Save a life (or lives…)
Literally. By taking in a rescue pet, not only are you saving this animal from a non-ideal environment, you are potentially saving its life and freeing up a space for a new rescue. Yes, there are a number of no-kill shelters but the reality is that in 2014, 102,363 stray dogs alone were handled by the LA (local authority). In the same year, the LA was responsible for 5,142 stray dog PTS cases (put to sleep, euthanasia). That’s one dog every two hours.
This is just dogs remember; cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, horses, pigs, goats, sheep, snakes, lizards, geckos, chickens -you name it, it’s available for re-homing! Even with no-kill policies, you’re taking a life out of a kennel and into a home!
3. All the training and effort that get put into rescue pets
When you visit a rescue centre or re-homing professional, you are getting animals that have benefited from a lot of money, effort, training and care. Animals don’t just get passed into a kennel and out again, they undergo health checks, behavioural assessments, training, socialisation and will be sent to a home that suits the animal, just as you will be advised on an animal that suits you. The whole package you are very unlikely to get from a commercial business.
Yes breeders will be able to offer you a pedigree or ‘designer crossbreed’ where you can trace back lineage, but unless you are planning to go to crufts, what’s the point? Not only can you get a huge variety of dog breeds, pedigree and mixes, you can get almost any other type of pet too. As we mentioned before, there are all different reasons animals end up in rescue centres, and these are universal. You can be allergic to rabbits or budgies. You might have to give up your 3-bed semi and your dog, or your studio and your beta fish – it doesn’t mean there is something ‘wrong’ with the animal in the shelter. You are spoiled for choice – especially now social media helps re-homers advertise.
5. Veterinary health care and neutering
I know we mentioned the ‘package deal’ before, but consider the cost and stress of putting your pet through spaying or castration. Also consider the way many pet shops cannot guarantee the sex of your pet… The average pet lover will not want to breed so neutering is highly advised due to the benefits to health and welfare, and the impact on pet populations it causes. More than likely, your rescue dog cat and even rabbit will be neutered before they come home, at no extra cost, and will have likely had veterinary checks or treatment before you even turn up and fall in love at the lick of a hand.
6. All the advice and support
Now I am not for a second saying that pet shops, breeders and online advertisers will not offer you advice, but how many will stick with you throughout that animal’s lifetime? I saw a couple spend many months trying to rehabilitate a rescue dog, and when it didn’t work out, she went back to the shelter for a home without young children. No rescuer or re-homer is going to shut their doors and their inbox too you once you’ve paid up. Not only that, but the effort these places will put in to help you find the right pet for you speaks volumes.
7. Pet’s with manageable and stable health
All pets, no matter what species, are liable to diseases, disorders, pests, injuries and stress. Rescue centres and re-homers will see their fair share of ailments, whether environmental or congenital, and will deal with them. A rescue centre is not going to bring you in, make you fall in love with a pet and not tell you it has diabetes or F.I.V. If you do even end up falling for and taking home a rescue pet with an illness, you will be 100% clued up on how to manage it, and will still be taking home a pet with a good quality of life. Can the same be said for commercial animal sellers?
8. The price (is right?)
How much would you pay for your dream dog? Or your dream snake? Or even your dream fish? (Don’t laugh – my dream fish was my 4 ft carp, Markie! RIP) Pedigree and purebreds aside, you can pick up some animals really cheap. I saw a deal on in a pet shop once, get this, “buy a cage get a hamster free” and they were selling £30 cages that were only fit to transport hammy home. The thing is, adoption fees are generally cheaper than breeder prices, and even if they are on par, where is that money going, and what are you getting for that money? I keep going back to the ‘package deal’ but its a solid point – all the effort, food, socialisation, training, vet care and neutering you are getting for less than a pet shop puppy. Plus, the money you put in is going BACK to the charity to support and save other animals.
9. Adult pets are awesome! (plus no size or colour surprises)
I want to quickly debunk the theory that you can’t rescue or re-home a baby animal – YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN! But as you can imagine, these are going to be popular and slightly harder to find. Adult pets however have the power! Putting the puppy and kitty house training, socialisation etc. aside, when you adopt an adult pet, you know what size and colour to expect. If you know you can only accommodate a small dog, or you particularly want a placid and cuddly cat, adopting an adult with these known traits will greatly help! I love my ginger puss, Forrest Bump, but my next rescue will be an old moggy who is desperate to be on my lap!
10. You are actively making a difference to animal welfare
Despite 91% of pet owners believing that online pet sales should be regulated better, 15% of dog owners got their dog from an online source. Only 40% of pet owners (who declared themselves up to date on the 5 welfare needs) expected to see the young animal (dog, cat, rabbit) with their mum. 21% said they’d consider purchasing from a seller who approaches them. 16% of pet owners surveyed for the 2018 PDSA PAW Report said they would consider purchasing from a puppy farm. Let that sink in a moment. “16%? that’s not that many!” you say, well the current ownership percentage of the UK population is 46%. The current UK population is over 66.5 million and in 2017, 26% of the UK population owned a dog. That’s 17,309,111 dog owners, of which 2,769,458 would consider buying from a puppy farm. 2.7 million people.
Buy getting your dog from a rescue charity, you are actively removing revenue from puppy farmers and bad commercial breeders just in it for the profit. If you get your pet from a rescue charity you are pumping money into a good cause, and therefore not giving it (albeit unknowingly) to a business that thrives on poor animal welfare conditions.
If numbers 1-9 didn’t convince you, google puppy farms and pet shop breeders. Be smart in your searches, but remember to email me when you pick up your rescue pet.