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Why Should You Adopt a Dog

Updated on May 23, 2008
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney has over 10 years of experience in dog training, rescuing, and healthcare.

Dog Adoption

If you're thinking about bringing a dog into your life, you should strongly consider dog adoption. There are so many reasons why you should adopt a dog, but I could only think of a few as to why you should buy a dog.

At first this started as "Should you Adopt or Buy a Dog," but when I got to reasons to buy a dog, I could only think of one or two. Definitely not enough to set a good comparison, so I quickly changed the premise to adopting dogs.

Of course you may have a million reasons as to why you should buy a dog from a breeder and a small handful to adoption, you really should weigh your options before you bring home a new pet.

I will say this one thing about purebred dogs; if you're going to purchase a pure bred dog, please stay away from pet stores. The majority of pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills, which tend to be very unhealthy and prone to health conditions throughout their lives. You may think that you're getting a good dog, but if you look at the pedigree, most puppies from pet stores are severely in-bred, which has the potential to cause severe health conditions and behavioral concerns presently and down the road.

So anyway, below you'll find reasons why you should adopt a dog, and even further down, you'll find dog adoption myths.

by David Reece
by David Reece

Why You Should Adopt

If the feeling you get from saving a dog from a kill-shelter is not enough, you're really saving two lives when you adopt, not just one. When you adopt a dog you save that dog from potentially being euthanized, and at the same time, you free up kennel space for another dog to be brought in.

There are so many other reasons as to why you should adopt a dog.

  1. When you adopt a dog, you have a better chance of finding the perfect match for your family. Shelter workers tend to have a pretty good grasp on the dog's temperament, so they can help match you and your family with the perfect dog for your personality and your lifestyle. This is a great way to ensure that you don't have to bring the dog back because he just wasn't what you expected.
  2. Shelter dogs are generally kept up with they're vaccinations, spayed or neutered, and microchipped before or right after you adopt the dog. This helps cut vet bills tremendously. Yes, you have to pay an adoption fee, but that is generally a mere percent of what the shelter actually spent caring for the dog and vet bills, which means it's just a mere percent that you have to pay for something that would have normally cost hundreds.
  3. Most shelter dogs, depending on their size, are somewhat crate trained. Even the larger dogs in the dog runs are still considered somewhat crate trained, as they'll generally potty on the outside portion of the run. This is a big help when you bring the dog home, as it reduces housetraining time.
  4. Generally, shelter dogs bond rather quickly and deeply with their new owners. Usually, these dogs are uprooted from a happy home due to divorce, death, or some other lifestyle change, that they do go through a mourning process, so once they've found a loving home again, they want to please the new owners as much as possible to hopefully ensure that they won't be homeless again. Even dogs who were picked up from the streets, never really knowing a good home, will bond quickly to hopefully ensure that they won't be rummaging through the trash for their dinner.

On top of all that, when you adopt a dog from a pet store, you inevitably help reduce the number of puppies at the pet store. Remember those puppies are at minimum 90% puppy mill puppies.

It probably sounds like a stretch reducing the number of pet store puppies by adopting a dog, or puppy, but think about it. Most people adopt pure bred dogs because they're under the impression that the only good dog is a pure bred dog or that pure bred dogs are the only ones worth having, so by adopting a good dog from a shelter, you're decreasing the demand for pure bred pet store puppies, which will in turn eventually help decrease the supply (it's the basic supply and demand concept).

by bunchofpants
by bunchofpants

Dog Adoption Myths

Ok some people rely on these myths as excuses to buying dogs from breeders instead of adopting a dog from a shelter.

1. Dogs at shelters are not good pets; if they were, their owners would not have given them up.

If this was the main reason dogs were taken to shelters, there would be thousands of empty shelters across the country. Dogs are commonly taken to shelters because...

  • The owner has died
  • An irresponsible owner didn't spay or neuter the dog, and found themselves with a litter of puppies that they didn't want, and in many cases the mother is given up with the pups because they'd rather not pay for the spay to prevent future litters. (It's just easier.)
  • The dog was in an abusive situation that authorities removed him from.
  • The dog was purchased previously adopted by someone who didn't take into consideration the responsibility that is entailed for caring for dogs.
  • Someone purchases or adopts a puppy, or dog, to find out that their apartment complex or rental home does not allow pets.

2. Animals pulled from abusive homes will never be good pets because they've been mistreated for so long.

Depending on the extent of the abuse and mistreatment, most dogs will still recover completely- physically and, most important, emotionally- as long as they are given proper care and attention. In actuality, most of these dogs are so grateful to be rescued from their previous situation, that they end up more devoted and loyal than a dog coming from a non-abusive home.

3. You never know what you're getting with a shelter dog.

Although, it's true that you won't know the extent of the medical history or temperament unless the dog's owner gives a detailed report when they drop off the dog, which is typically the case, unless the dog was tied to the shelter door. But, if you think about it, this is no different than getting a puppy from a pet store, unless you buy the pedigree.

4. All shelter dogs are sickly and unhealthy.

It is possible that a shelter dog, or puppy, may have some kind of medical problem, but the majority of dogs in a rescue are perfectly healthy. If the dog is not 100% healthy, shelter workers will generally give you the breakdown of the dog's medical problems or previous medical problems. These people really do care about animals and want to see all animals in good homes, so there's no reason to lie about a medical condition, whereas many pet stores and backyard breeders only care about the money, and will leave out any medical conditions.

Dogs who live in shelters, generally are treated much better than those in pet stores. They're given free-time outside and sometimes training and socialization, whereas pet store dogs do not; they generally live in cramped kennels with their feces which increases risks for health problems.

Most rescues will correct any medical conditions before they even put the dog up for adoption. For example, if a dog comes in with heartworms, the shelter will get treatment, and wait for the dog to fully recover before placing him up for adoption.

5. The only dogs you'll find at shelters are mutts.

Absolutely untrue. Remember that shelters are meant to be safe places for people to surrender their pets in hopes that they find a good home. People do not only return mix breed dogs. You can walk down the runs or kennels of most animal rescues and find a number of pure bred dogs waiting for a good home.


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    • profile image

      Kristen Barth 

      7 years ago

      Great article, but I disagree with one part--THERE IS NO GOOD RESON TO EVER BUY A DOG!!!!!!!!! The term "responsible breeder" is an oxymoron and by buying a dog from ANY breeder, you are simply funding the irresponsibility. I will never understand why people don't seem to get this!!

    • Paulart profile image


      7 years ago from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001

      I am really glad to read this hub information.Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great hub! I adopted my dog, Coco, when she was 8 and she has been the absolute perfect dog for me. I agree with Solarshingles, great job advocating for homes for all the dogs.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I think your article was great! I was looking up the pros and cons of adoption for a school research project, and after reading your article, I realized there were only pros!:)

      My 5 year old German Shepherd, Sedona, is adopted from a shelter, and she is so sweet and the perfect dog. Thank you for raising awareness about how wonderful it is to adopt!

    • Puppyluv profile image

      Serena Zehlius 

      8 years ago from Hanover, PA

      Hello fellow animal lover! :) Great job on educating the public on adoption. It's so much better than supporting puppy mills!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My beautiful boy Bruno a crossbreed was from a shelter. He was abandoned by his previous owners at six years old and is now 12. Yes, he's had problems, mainly with separation anxiety and I can't leave him alone too long as he howls the place down! I love him, it's as simple as that and I say to his previous owners, you are scum and he deserved better than you, but at least I found him after you dumped him and he's happy now. I would ALWAYS, ALWAYS get a dog from a shelter, especially an older one as they are often overlooked. Dogs are great and just need a chance. Be loving and responsbile towards them and you have a great companion.

    • profile image

      Cathy McCormick 

      8 years ago

      I have just addopted a 2yr old black lab cross, which was found on the streets of Manchester.We used Cesar Millan's (dog whisperer's)tips to choose him, we are also using his calm assertive energy stratagy. So far we have learnt that our dog Sam is house trained works well on a lead and loves kids, she also doesn't tire easily and can run like a whippet.

      Now i don't expect all dogs to be like this and we are very surprised at how quickly Sam has fitted in to our lives,but with the right guidence and control, any dog can be loving and loyal.

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 

      9 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      Great hub Whitney, I have posted a link to your hub on my Dog Tails blog on (hope you don't mind, but it was too good not to share!)

    • profile image

      Little DeeDee 

      9 years ago

      alot of animals go to animal control not just becouse the owner don't love they. some people don't know if they don't get there animals spayed or neuter,that an animal can have five to fifteen puppies are kitten at a time. some people don't know what to do with that amount of animals at that time.So people being stupid they dump the animals or people that thing they wanted to take an animal in don't see that it is like have a kide,you have to feed, water and take them to a vet. just as we have to go to the hopt.. It is more then most people can handel.

    • Doggie Devotee profile image

      Doggie Devotee 

      9 years ago from Danville KY

      Wonderful hub, I recently had to re home my dog because of a weight limit at the place I moved to. He whent to a very loving home, He was found on petfinder and is now living happily with his new family, but for a lot of pups out there their ending isn't so happy. Many end up in shelters. I am alowed to have a dog under 20lbs, I am going to adopt from a shelter and help save a life. Thanks for sharing this information!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      My dog is from a rescue organization, and she is the best! You are so right! My sis has 2 purebred mini Schnauzers, and they BARK and BARK and BARK! That proves it, because she bought them.

    • Akita Puppies Guy profile image

      Akita Puppies Guy 

      9 years ago

      Rescue is clearly the way to go. I have a good friend who rescues EVERYTHING--birds, reptiles, oh and dogs too

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Georgia

      I agree it's definitely a big myth, but people still go by it sometimes. Personally, I think the myths are just used as excuses for some people to go out and purchase a pure bred, knowing they can find a pure bred whatever in a shelter or breed rescue.

      In one instance that pops up in my head was of an American Staffordshire Terrier, who was initially purchased by a local breeder who showed and competed with her dogs. The person who purchased the dog as a pup had two other dogs, who attacked the pup (when he was older). They gave the breeder the dog back so that the situation didn't worsen. The dog was given to a rescue (rescue owner was as friend of the breeder). People kept saying bc he was attacked he'll be dog aggressive, but this dog ended up staying with the rescue owner as a house dog with other dogs. He has yet to go dog aggressive.

      Dog's are more forgiving than people think, and shelter dogs are "generally" great dogs no matter what their background or what they endured before.

    • Lillie's Diary profile image

      Lillie's Diary 

      9 years ago

      What a great article. I want to touch on one area...

      2. Animals pulled from abusive homes will never be good pets because they've been mistreated for so long.

      ** We have a rescue. We don't know her full story but we can tell she was abused. She is AMAZING. She loves us with all her heart and soul. You can just see and feel the appreciation she has for us. And we give the same appreciation back to her. Something people need to think about is, when we as humans are going through hard times we tend to be a better person in the long run because we appreciate more. I feel the same way about rescues.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      i have 2 dogs both from shelters one is 14 and the other is 9 shelter dogs live longer because puebreds normanly have haert or hip issues witch causes them to pass sooner who wants that

    • profile image

      Crazy for Dogs 

      10 years ago

      I wish more people would adopt dogs too. It's not fair that a dog has to die just so they can fit another one. I try to make donations all the time. I also have a dog at home who was rescued his name is Kono.

    • Minnie's Mom profile image

      Minnie's Mom 

      11 years ago from Seattle, WA

      My dog, Minnie is a rescue dog who has a few issues but far less than some members of my family. I encourage more people to adopt. I don't even go to the shelter anymore, I'm a softie and would bring them all home.

    • Jazy profile image


      11 years ago from Queensland, Australia

      Hey, what a cool Hub! I love dogs and have always want to train a guide dog puppy - but I currently live in a unit - so maybe another day...

    • jim10 profile image


      11 years ago from ma

      We adopted a dog last year and it was the best thing for us. We got a black lab mix from a shelter. The shelter took care of most of the shots and she was already fixed. It was much cheaper than going to a store or breeder. She is the kindest dog, just perfect for our kids. I have friends and relatives who spent over $1,000 for their dogs and they are, well not that friendly.

    • stevemark122000 profile image


      11 years ago from Southern California

      Nice hub! i totally agree with you. We adopted our Border Collie, who was found abandoned in a ditch as a baby, and taken to the animal shelter. We feel like we have the greatest dog in the world.

    • nashomega profile image


      11 years ago

      I love Dogs!

      Great Hub!

      GReat PLACE!

    • Sapphire Eclipse profile image

      Sapphire Eclipse 

      11 years ago from Japan

      This is a wonderfully encouraging article on how we can help save a lonely friend or two from the pound instead of going with a purebred from a breeder or pet store. There are so many unfortunate animals stuck behind bars that are really deserving of a good home.

      Great work on this touching hub!

    • bettiegurrl profile image


      11 years ago from Portland, Or

      Awwwww...the pictures made me sad and I don't even like dogs. Great story here. I agree with you one hundred million percent! My ex bred his dogs and sold them to a pet store. I thought, why in the world are you doing that when a)you don't need the money and b)there are millions of other dogs who need good homes. Thankfully he finally got them fixed.

      As for abused dogs making good pets, I can attest to what you've said. When I was growing up we had a collie named Princess. She came from an abused home. We had her from the time I was 4 til I was about 20. She was very scared of men at first, but quickly grew to love my father and the rest of us. I felt so bad for her that someone had actually abused this precious thing. She died about 12 years ago, old age and a tumor on her belly. I still remember the day she had puppies and I was very young and I don't remember a thing else about that age (around 8.) I know since Ive been an adult that I just cant stand dogs but the more Im around them and the more I see them being abused on tv shows, the more I realize maybe Im just afraid of getting attached to a pet. Its probably the reason the only pets I have are turtles, cant get too attached to them (even tho I am.)

      Anyway, Ive spilled way too much. Great post and thanks for making me realize that I don't hate dogs. Jerk. :)

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Georgia

      Rachel I agree that the only reason to buy a dog is if you plan on showing or competing with the dog. But people don't realize that you can still find purebred dogs at rescues locally, and even breed specific shelters. I have a hub about finding a mate for your dog, and it's essentially all about spaying and neutering and only breeding if you have a dog of champion bloodlines, and I get so many people saying that's stupid because they don't want to pay so much for a pure bred dog when all they want is a pet. It's called adopt one from a breed specific rescue if you want a particular breed.

      storytellersrus, it's the amazon capsule. I have teo amazon capsules side by side.

    • Storytellersrus profile image


      11 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      I loved the Hub and I have a couple dogs for you to adopt... LOL! Mine barked at some mysterious spirit all night. Gotta love 'em.

      How did you get those cute doggie tales inserted into your Hub? I just can't master this. Maybe it's because I am sleep deprived :).

    • RachelOrd profile image

      Rachel Ord 

      11 years ago from Palm Coast

      I'm so glad you put this out there! I currently have a dog I adopted from a shelter. Throughout my life my family and I have had several dogs from both breeders and shelters, and I have to say that not only is my dog "Jake" the best dog I could possibly ask for, as a whole we have had less health issues with the shelter dogs.

      Dogs are bred and inbred to achieve their "pure bred" status and look and I just don't think that is necessary when there are so many pets out there in need of a loving home! Unless you are planning on showing your dog competetively-which I might ad there are shows and events for dogs who are not pure bred--what is the need to purchase a dog from a breeder, puppy mill or pet store?

      I also wanted to add that I have adopted an adult dog before, and he had his quirks, and we had to get to know each other, but he turned out to be a really good dog. He fit right in after a few weeks of testing his boundaries. ;)

      Great hub Whitney!

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Georgia

      Eileen, you can stick with your favorite breed and still rescue. You can always find a heeler rescue.

      starrwriter in my area our pound and oldest shelter are right across the street from each other, so if you can't find what you want at the kill-pound, you can go to the no-kill shelter and take a look. But, we also have about three other no-kill shelters. I just hope that more people start to adopt; yes, I have puchased dogs from breeders, but the dogs that I have rescued are much better behaved, calmer, and more loving.

      Julie, I think shelter dogs are wonderful, and I think that if more people relized that they CAN find purbred dogs at local shelters and breed specific rescues, they would be saving a life versus helping to pay a breeder's phone bill. I love yorkies and APBTs, and you can be my next dog will be a yorkie from a yorkie rescue.

    • Julie A. Johnson profile image

      Julie A. Johnson 

      11 years ago from Duluth, MN


      We adopted a beagle from a shelter, and at first she was a handful because she has separation anxiety. She has adjusted and now she's a member oof the family. I will always adopt from a shelter before I would purchase a dog from a private party or pet store. These animals need homes too, and more often than not, they turn out to be good pets. Thanks for advocating for these animals.

    • starrwriter profile image


      11 years ago from Cottage Grove, Wisconsin

      Good information!  There are many people who are misinformed or uninformed about adoption options who can benefit from this hub. 

      One other thing that is important to know is when you go to the Humane Society in some larger metro areas they may have overflow areas where dogs like labs are kept.  They do this because they don't have enough room in the main kennel area where they keep the more popular breeds. 

      This is how it was set up where i used to live in Oklahoma City, so next time you go make sure that you ask to see all the areas where they have dogs so you don't miss out on your perfect pup.  We found out lab-vizsla mix in a holding cell a day before he was scheduled to be put down.  One of the best choices we ever made was when we adopted Oliver. 

      Thank you for helping to raise awareness.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      11 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Gosh you write great articles about dogs and animals. Yes I love reading them too. As you probably realise I love my dogs too. But I keep inheriting mine from my son when he leaves a relationship. We have three dogs now.

      But we love them all. My favorite is my blue heeler. If I ever need another dog I hope not, I will get one from a shelter. Thanks to you and your articles. Thanks for sharing this great article.

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Georgia

      solarshingles, thank you so much.

      CennyWenny, black pets don't stand out as much as other colors and color patterns. They tend to blend into the background. Usually, people look for different, and a black lab mix is pretty common in most areas, whereas a "cool" Australian shepherd spotted dog with a mostly white face and paws, is different and stands out more.

    • CennyWenny profile image


      11 years ago from Washington

      Thanks for this hub, hopefully it will impact readers and get them down to the humane society! Two of my animals (one kitty, one dog) are adopted, and they are wonderful. Heck, my cat even eats bugs for me, what more can you ask for? I've read articles that black animals always linger in shelters longer (all of mine are black except one) and I wonder why this is.

    • solarshingles profile image


      11 years ago from london

      Beautiful and so well though hub! Whitney, you are truly a 'damned' good pet advocate! I enjoy reading your pet oriented hubs.


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