Dogs bring joy to so many people’s lives all around the world. Americans are particularly enchanted by these animals, as according to Michelle Megnathey’s article, “Pet Ownership Statistics 2023” published in Forbes. In the article, she includes information about how dogs are the most popular type of pet in households nationwide, with an estimated 65.1 million homes owning a dog. Still, there is a big issue in our country right now revolving around these furry friends.
Samantha Raphelson of National Public Radio gives good insight in her article, “No ‘Easy Answer’ To Growing Number Of Stray Dogs In The U.S., Advocate Says,” as she writes, “The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates about 3.3 million dogs enter U.S. animal shelters every year.” This is a very cornering statistic that will only get worse if people continue to decide to buy dogs instead of adopting.
Although many people do not think about the topic deeply, when you buy a dog, you are deciding to pass up on the opportunity to save an animal in need. There is an overpopulation of dogs in shelters as many dogs are found homeless or abandoned. By adopting a dog, you are supporting the cause of saving homeless animals and also doing your part in helping with the overpopulation problems in shelters all across America.
If people do not adopt a dog, they will typically buy one from a breeder. These breeders are a major reason for the overpopulation and homelessness problem that dogs face today.
According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), “There are an estimated 70 million dogs and cats struggling to survive on the streets in the U.S., and buying a dog contributes to that number. For every puppy bought, there’s one less home for an animal in a shelter. Also, breeders often don’t require the puppies they sell to be spayed or neutered, so these animals can continue to have puppies of their own.” To add on to this point, shelters typically make sure the dogs are spayed and neutered, so they are helping out with the overpopulation problem instead of ignoring it.
When people buy a dog instead of adopting, they are also supporting the unethical practice of puppy mills. PETA describes puppy mills as, “mass breeding facilities that pack animals into cramped, filthy cages and breed female dogs over and over again until they are unable to continue having babies. The puppies are taken from their mothers too early, and when they get to the pet store, they continue to be denied socialization, exercise, and loving human contact.” This is obviously morally wrong. Dogs should not be treated like this, yet because people continue to buy and support these places, they allow this unethical practice to prosper.
Many dogs that are in shelters and ready for adoption have tragic backstories and have not known what it is like to be loved, cared for, and to be a part of a family. When you are adopting a dog you are not only bringing happiness and joy to your family, but you are giving a dog one of the happiest and most special moments of their lives. As an owner of three adopted dogs, I can tell you that seeing how happy my dogs were to get rescued and be welcomed into a family for the first time gave not only them so much joy, but also myself. It feels absolutely amazing to know my family has saved and changed three dogs’ lives for the better.
Next time you or even someone you know is looking into welcoming a dog into their family, remember the importance of adopting instead of shopping. There are too many dogs in need to not adopt. Buying dogs is helping the practices of breeding and puppy mills, which is only making the overpopulation of dogs in need much worse.
At the end of the day, when someone adopts, they are a true superhero by making a difference and saving innocent lives. Every potential dog owner has the chance to be a superhero, so let’s spread awareness of this cause and make a positive difference in this world.