Adopting vs. buying your next forever pet

Mona the bulldog has a personality all her own.

I’ve always been a huge advocate for the animal rescues across the country and around the world that work hard every day to improve the lives of abused and neglected pets. I used to walk and socialize dogs for a local SPCA chapter when I was in college, and I donate to the national organization whenever possible.

So when it came time to add a dog into my household, adoption definitely seemed like the logical strategy. But there was one problem: Over the course of several years, I had decided that the English bulldog was the breed for me. And because I had never even had a dog growing up, I also wanted to go through the “puppy experience.”

If you know anything about, which is a great resource for finding amazing adoptable pets in your area, you know that English bulldog puppies are hard to come by, to say the least. They’re a highly desirable breed, and if they happen to end up in a shelter, they’re scooped up very quickly. So after several months of intense searching and coming up short, I decided that adopting an English bulldog wasn’t a likely option.

The term “breeder” doesn’t always induce the most pleasant imagery. Many people picture a backyard puppy mill-type situation, where dogs are kept in cramped quarters, stacked on top of each other like sardines, with little-to-no exercise or concern for their well-being.

This is certainly the reality in many situations, and there was no way I was going to support this type of operation by purchasing a puppy from a pet store (as they often come from this type of background). So my most responsible course of action was to do my research, and find a reputable breeder that was passionate about the breed and looking to place their puppies in the best home possible.

I found it in a breeder called Motown Bulldogs, based in metro Detroit. After completing a home visit and spending time with the puppies, my gut was telling me that this was the place my first dog should come from. But I hesitated: How can I buy a puppy, when there are so many out there that desperately need a good home? Isn’t this hypocritical of me? What am I thinking?

There was an intense soul-searching period, at the end of which I decided, ultimately, to move forward with the puppy I met and fell in love with — and whom I had already named Mona. I have validated my decision a thousand times over, as I can’t remember what life was like before this chubby, lazy and quirky bulldog came into our lives. Am I happy with my decision? Yes. Is it still possible my next dog will be adopted from a shelter? Absolutely.

At the end of the day, you have to decide what’s right for you and your specific situation, and vow to love unconditionally the pet you end up with. Giving a dog or cat (or guinea pig or turtle) a healthy, warm and positive environment to grow old in is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Has anyone else experienced this same internal struggle? What did you ultimately decide?

Erica Moss is the social media outreach coordinator for the Online Masters in Nursing program at Georgetown University, which has one of the nation’s leading nurse practitioner programs.

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Outside of work, Erica is an avid dog lover who enjoys spending time with her 3-year-old English bulldog, Mona. Follow her on Twitter @ericajmoss.

2 Responses

  1. Alexis
    | Reply

    I felt the exact same dilemma when purchasing my dog, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This was my first dog and I still lived with my parents and we have never owned a dog before. I knew a lot about training but wasn’t ready for any behavioral problems/issues that an adopted dog would have. If I was looking for a larger breed of dog then I would have adopted, but it is really hard to find small breeds without aggression to children/other dogs in my community. I also had planned on having him become a certified therapy dog, so raising a healthy puppy was a main priority. In the end, the rareness of this breed, the genetic testing his breeders did to rule out common breed diseases, the healthy upbringing and socialization received from his breeder, and the temperament of this specific breed helped me to choose a breeder instead of adoption. But I would still love to adopt another dog, now that I am more experienced.

    • Erica Moss
      | Reply

      Thank you for sharing your story, Alexis! It’s not a decision to be made lightly, and it sounds like you really did your research, too, so kudos to you!

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