Check out the adoption option
When you start to look for a dog or cat there are a lot of options out there. You can look in the newspaper or on the Internet for breeders, you can go to your local pet store, you can pick one up from a person giving them away at a grocery store, or you can go to your local animal shelter and adopt one.
Many of you might not see the difference among these choices, so I’m going to explain why the adoption option is best.
Breeders: If you want a purebred and can’t find it in a rescue or a shelter, do your research (Keep in mind that 25 percent of dogs in shelters are purebred). A good breeder will have you fill out an application, demand the dog or cat come back if it doesn’t work out, and will have already put a great deal of money into the care of the animals to ensure their health.
They do all of this because they care passionately about the breed. Unfortunately, most people who breed do it for the money with little concern for the animals they bring into this world. Plus, responsible breeders rarely advertise in the newspaper.
Pet stores: Pet stores notoriously support puppy mills by buying animals in “bulk” from mass breeding operations all over the country. Unsuspecting people keep these operations in business because what they see in the window of the pet store seems harmless enough. The truth is, the animals kept as breeding stock in puppy mills are incredibly abused, neglected and mistreated. Pet stores also “help” the public by taking their unwanted puppies and kittens off their hands. This is nothing more than a business venture on the part of the store. They don’t care who buys the dogs or cats, whether or not they are vaccinated or sterilized, or what happens to them after they leave the store.
Puppy or kitten giveaways: Supporting people who are looking to “unload” their puppies or kittens does no good for anyone. Generally, the people who take these pets are being impulsive and rarely think that they may have the pet for 15 years or more. These pets often end up unruly, untrained and in a shelter once they are full-grown. By this point their chances of finding a home are greatly diminished. If those babies went to a local shelter right away, they would have found responsible homes and been sterilized and vaccinated. Also, the people who let their dog breed would never have learned a lesson and will likely let their female breed every time she goes into heat because of “how easy it was to get rid of them.”
Adoption: First and foremost, when you adopt, you save a life. When you adopt from a shelter every effort will be made to ensure you and your new pet are a good match. We know our animals well and we’ll tell you all about their personalities. Also, when you adopt a pet from the Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe (or most shelters for that matter), your pet will be vaccinated, spayed, neutered and tested for certain diseases. Dogs are also micro-chipped and receive four weeks of obedience training. You can’t go wrong. Plus, you are doing your part in helping to solve the homeless pet overpopulation problem.
When the time comes for you to bring in a new furry family member, call us at 587-5948.
Stephanie Hiemstra is the executive director of the Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe.