Adopt, Don't Shop

Halen Doughty

I had the pleasure of attending a pet adoption put on by the SPCA of Livingston this weekend, and I have to say, it was such a challenge not to walk out of there with at least three puppies. The only thing that kept me from taking home all the fur babies was knowing how betrayed my bulldog and cat would feel. (And how angry my boyfriend would be with me, but that's beside the point.)

As I stood there in awe of the cuteness around me, I thought about how sad it is that none of these adorable puppies and adult puppies had a "furever" home of their own. Truly, these were the cutest dogs I've ever seen, and I only say that about every single dog I encounter.

If you've been looking to grow your household by four feet, then look no further than your local animal shelter or rescue. There are far too many pups looking for love, and they need our help.

I know not everyone can just go out and get a dog. Trust me, if I had the money and the yard for it, I'd be running a farm. Unfortunately, that just isn't feasible right now. But if you are looking for one, don't waste thousands of dollars on a pure-bred pup when there are so many little muts out there looking for love. Whether you're looking for a big dog or a small one, a puppy or an adult, a male or a female, there's guaranteed to be at least one up for adoption within a few-parish ratio.

I get the desire for a designer pup because corgis have my heart. But puppy mills are often abusive and breed their momma dogs nearly to death. If you think shelters are depressing, you should see where some of these inbred pups come from. Personally, I just can't encourage that. I will not create more demand for something which already has an abundant supply.

If you're looking for a hunting dog, the shelter has those too. It doesn't matter if you need a lab or a cur, a hound or a retriever--they're out there. They may not be full-blooded and registered, but they will be loyal, committed, and devoted to you with a love I don't think people can understand.

Finally, if you've got a pup of your own, there are things you can do to help control the pet population. (Thank you, Bob Barker.) Get your babies spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted pups being dumped at local shelters. And if you have to find a new home for your baby for whatever reason, contact local animal rescue groups to find out about alternatives to sheltering. Foster groups can help you find a new home for your fur ball without having to surrender them to a shelter that may be forced to put them down later.

My pets are two of the biggest blessings in my life. They've taught me responsibility and how to love and be loved unconditionally, even when I'm angry at the pee on the floor. Both of my little ones are rescues, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

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