Adopting a dog of any kind will change your life in unexpected ways, just like having kids or finding a new best friend would. Technically, you are finding a new best friend. Your bond with your dog could end up being one of the most important relationships of your lifetime. And there are lots of options you might consider for where and when to find your perfect pet.
Every family has a different dog in mind when they set out to bring this new fluffy friend into their home. Some families want a big, burly guard dog while others want a little cutie-pie to plop on their laps. Some families have an excess of time and resources to spend on a difficult dog, while others are intimidated by training and making time in their busy schedules. But no matter your situation, this much is true: In an animal shelter somewhere near you, the perfect dog is lonely and waiting for you to take it home. It's definitely a lot of work to get a dog, especially if it's a rescue. Dogs with complicated histories can take time to adapt to a new situation, and it's not always easy, but there are many unexpected benefits for choosing a rescue dog over a pup bought from anywhere else. Here are 20 reasons why rescue dogs make better pets.
You've saved a life
The No. 1 benefit to adopting a rescue dog is that you've saved an animal's life. Even if you're adopting from a no-kill shelter, remember that if a dog isn't adopted quickly enough, it could get shuttled elsewhere, depending on the shelter's resources. Additionally, a free space at the shelter makes room for another animal to be saved. Just think of all those baby animals wishing for homes!
They appreciate having a home
A rescue appreciates a home like no other dog. Yes, every pup loves its parents, but rescues know what it's like to be homeless. Now that they have a good thing going with your family, they have a unique and strong appreciation for the love you give. Every time you have to clean up a mess or endure the smell of wet dog, you can remember how much your effort really means.
The shelter will have helped with medical costs
Pets from shelters almost always come with all of their vaccinations completed. Many shelters will spay or neuter the dog for you, as well. Any health problems that the dog arrived at the shelter with have at least started to be treated. Just think of all that you've saved on medical care!
You can find any breed you want
Some people opt out of adopting because they have a particular dog breed in mind. However, this is based on a misconception that shelters only have mutts. Many purebred dogs end up in shelters because of irresponsible owners who purchased a dog before they were ready. So in addition to being able to visit multiple shelters to browse, it's also very likely that you'll find the breed you're looking for without having to pay a breeder. You may also want to second-guess your pickiness about breed. You may think you know the exact breed that's right for your family, but once you lay eyes on a mixed-breed pup behind bars at the shelter, you just may change your mind.
They'll be intensely loyal
The bond you have with a rescue dog is truly special. This animal loves and appreciates you more than you know! Once they learn to trust and start to love you, nothing can come between you and your new pet. Rescue dogs are known for being fiercely loyal, no matter what.
They make great guard animals
Your pet knows the value of its new home, and may feel territorial towards it. While this may not always be convenient for having people over, it can add a new layer of safety for you and your family. Rescues make wonderful guard dogs, ready to scare away anyone and anything that might threaten their new best friends.
They teach you selflessness
You're probably going to need to give a lot more of yourself and your time to a rescue animal than you would another dog. Your new pet has a history, and it may have scarred them in more ways than you realize. It's not easy to put a troubled dog's needs over your own, but the rewarding feeling you get afterwards just might teach you that selflessness is a virtue and turn you into a much kinder person.
Some are already trained
Potty training a puppy is no easy task. Not all shelter dogs are house-trained, but many are. This can make rescue dogs a better option for first-time pet owners or for people who can't be home throughout the day. Untrained puppies often have to be taken out every couple of hours and can't be left home alone for long. By adopting instead, you're saving yourself more than a few messes to clean.
It'll cost you less
Dog breeders have varying price points, but some purebred can be expensive. Shelter dogs, on the other hand, come at a relatively low cost. The adoption price is often low, and oftentimes includes other perks such as a microchip, spaying or neutering, vaccinations and even training.
You're joining the fight against puppy mills
Puppy mills are mass breeding facilities that often treat dogs inhumanely in order to cut costs and maximize profit. Dogs in puppy mills are sometimes kept indoors in isolation for the entirety of their lifetimes and deprived of basic needs. After mothers are past the age of bearing a new litter, they are often abandoned or killed. Flea markets, online sellers and even pet stores often get their puppies from these factory-like facilities. By adopting a dog from a shelter instead, you are refusing to support these malicious industries and making a difference in your community.
You can learn about them before bringing them home
The dog you're choosing is much less anonymous when it comes from a shelter. Animal shelters want new pet owners to have the most positive experience possible. They'll often collect as much information about the temperament and personality of the dog as they can while it's awaiting adoption. You can find out whether the dog likes children, which is useful for parents with young kids. You can also discover ahead of time whether they're potty trained, their medical history, how loud they are and more. If Gizmo's a little zany, you'll be well warned ahead of time.
You can skip the puppy stage
Puppies are unbearably adorable, but the destruction they cause certainly isn't. Adopting a puppy means agreeing to the risk of torn pillows and wrecked carpets. Puppies also like to do super cute things like wake you up at 3 a.m. to pee and throw up in your bathtub. If you choose an older dog, you can skip past all that chaos. That being said, adopting a dog as a puppy definitely has its merits. You can train the dog from a younger age, which can give you more control over their behavior and temperament. Plus, you get to witness painfully cute moments like when their feet are disproportionately large for their bodies or when they beg with huge puppy dog eyes. It can be worth the extra work!
You're helping an overburdened shelter
While many enthusiastic volunteers work at shelters, these nonprofit facilities are often overtasked. Even if they manage to hire enough volunteers, facilities are often short on amenities such as cages, outdoor space and food. These shortages restrict the number of animals the shelter has the capacity to save. Take some pressure off of the animal shelters by giving them one less dog mouth to feed.
They're less likely to have genetic health problems
Dogs from breeders often suffer from health problems as a result of poor breeding practices. Additionally, purebred dogs in general are more likely to have genetic issues due to being bred for specific purposes over generations. The possibility of illness only increases if the dog came from a puppy mill. But the poor conditions and lack of veterinary care at the facilities can increase the chances of health complications. Adopted dogs, however, are given veterinary care in the shelter before they are adopted. Additionally, many are mixed-breed dogs, lessening their chances of genetics causing problems.
They keep you active
Dogs need to be walked, and they need to be walked often. Most pet owners walk their dogs around three times a day. Walking outdoors has some unexpected benefits; both you and your puppy are likely to feel happier and healthier having gotten the exercise. Rescue dogs in particular might not have always had someone to care for them by walking them regularly. As a result, you'll probably feel extra motivated to take them for a longer stroll more often.
They may already know some tricks
If Bandit had a previous owner, it's possible he learned a few tricks here and there. Who knows? Maybe your new dog already knows how to sit, lie down, stay and fetch!
It's a chance to convince others to adopt
Everyone wants to hear a heartwarming adoption story. Your tale can be the catalyst that convinces your friends and family to get out there and adopt. And seeing your happy, pleasant pet can help quell any fears they might have regarding adoption and its drawbacks.
You get to watch them grow and heal
Depending on the dog you choose, they may or may not have had some scars to heal (both literally and figuratively). A problematic past can leave dogs wounded emotionally for some time. But with love, care and attention, their fears and inhibitions will gradually fade away. You get to witness these animals come back to life after potential abuse, and it's a great feeling to know that your effort helped bring a renewed smile to Ditzy's face!
It's fun to shop around
It can actually be really fun to shop around for the perfect pup, browsing different adoption websites and visiting shelters to pet all the puppies. But you know one thing for sure: Once you lock eyes on your new best friend, it's going to be love at first sight. You'll take the little girl or guy home and enjoy all the aspects of your new life together, including all the unexpected ways having a dog makes you a better person.
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