Many people seeking a new pet bypass the adoption option for one reason or another. While there are certainly some situations in which purchasing from a reputable, responsible breeder is ideal, consider this list of five myths about pet adoption before bypassing rescue to look for a breeder.
1. Shelter dogs are all mutts.
It’s a fact: You’ll find every breed, from lovable mutts to registered purebreds, at your local shelter. Some rescues and shelters keep a waiting list for prospective pet parents hoping to adopt a particular breed. If you want to bring a pet of a specific breed into your life, call around and look for a shelter, like the Denver Dumb Friends League, that maintains a purebred waiting list.
2. If you want an exotic pet, your only choices are pet stores and breeders.
Think you’ll find only dogs and cats available for adoption? Think again. Any pet can be unwanted, and any pet can be in need of an adoptive home. With a little searching, you can find rescues offering parrots, hedgehogs, rats, ferrets, rabbits, lizards, turtles, horses, burros, chinchillas, and more.
3. To adopt a pet, you’ll have to look for a shelter close to home.
While it’s true that many rescues only adopt within a certain geographic area, some are willing to adopt to loving homes nationwide or even internationally. Did the lastest WHS ad tempt you? Is the perfect kitten calling to you from across the country? If so, don’t let distance stop you from calling or emailing. There are many ways to adopt at a distance. Dogster users maintain a “railroad,” organized and administered through the site’s forums, that helps adopters transport dogs adopted long-distance. For horses, commercial shippers can transport across long distances for a fee of several hundred dollars. I used a shipper when I adopted a horse from Pennsylvania and needed to transport him to Colorado. You can ship dogs, cats, and some small animals as cargo on airplanes, but it is a good idea to research the dangers of shipping, ensure that someone watches the animal loaded on the plane, and avoid shipping certain breeds, like Pugs or Boston Terriers, that may be more prone to breathing difficulty.
4. Shelter pets are more prone to behavior problems.
Some shelter pets may have behavior problems, but so may pets from breeders and pet stores. If you’re concerned about avoiding behavioral issues in your new pet, perhaps the best option is to look into adopting an adult animal. Look for a shelter that works primarily through foster care, like Perfect Match Dog Rescue, so that you will be able to discuss the potential adoptee’s behavior with a foster parent. Most rescues are happy to fully disclose any known issues, because they’d rather lose an adoption today than have a pet returned next week. An older animal may even have had previous obedience training, be accustomed to flying solo during the day while owners are at work, and be used to kids and other pets.
5. The process of adopting from a shelter is long and drawn-out.
Some rescues do require a great deal of effort from potential adopters, and conduct home visits, check references, and much more. However, any breeder worth their salt will do the same. If you are hoping to adopt a pet without a lot of muss and fuss surrounding the process, look not to a breeder or a breed-specific rescue, but to the county pound. Shelters that must euthanize excess pets are often more motivated to adopt pets out quickly. At many shelters that take in and adopt out pets at a high rate, same-day adoptions are the norm.