Adopt or Shop? Where To Get Your Next Pet


Naomi Suzuki

Photo by Naomi Suzuki on Unsplash

When it’s time to find your next furry friend, where you get them from is important. You want to make sure the organization you’re going to support with your money is doing the right thing and providing a good short-term home for the pets in their care. The choice usually comes down to pet stores or shelters.

Generally speaking, pet stores have higher prices for their pets, and the animals are usually from puppy mills, which are inhumane commercial breeding sites. Furthermore, the living conditions for the dogs, cats and other small mammals are poor. Cramped quarters, limited human contact and insufficient exercise often cause health or behavior problems in pets.  Additionally, older dogs are rarely adopted, meaning that many of them never find a forever home.

Shelters and pet rescues, on the other hand, rescue their pets from their unfortunate situations, and offer them a better life. They often have larger areas for the animals to live in, have time to go on walks, and will usually receive more human interaction.

Escondido Pets is a pet store located in the North County Mall, and is frequented by families to see and pet the dogs, cats, and rabbits. Formerly known as California Pets, the store used to get their puppies from puppy mills. Now, they claim to receive them from reputable USDA licensed and hobby breeders.”

Where the animals come from isn’t the only problem with the organization, however. All of the animals are kept in tiny areas, with multiple pets in the same kennel. Even the larger dogs have to stay in these minuscule containers. They’re hardly let out of their enclosures, and when they are, it’s only to play in a small room with a family who is unlikely to end up actually adopting them. The store, being in a mall, doesn’t have any place for the dogs to go for walks outside. Dogs, and especially puppies, have a lot of energy, and they need to release that energy or they may take up bad behavior like chewing or digging.

Helen Woodward Animal Center, on the other hand, is a non-profit shelter in Rancho Santa Fe, and I personally have one of my dogs from this shelter. This shelter is no-kill, meaning that the animals will not be put to sleep if they are not adopted after a certain amount of time. They also pre-screen all possible adopters to assure the animals are going to a good home, as well as hosting adoption events and fundraisers to raise money for their programs. Medical care is supplied for the animals as well, as there is a veterinary hospital on the premises.

Not all shelters are this good, however. Some do kill the dogs in their care after a while. In some ways, they can be worse than pet stores. The overall quality of the shelter often varies between each establishment.

What matters for your new pet is that they are healthy, and headed to a loving home, meaning that it is important to do your research before you adopt. The animal’s health and where they come from are valuable to know, as it often reflects on any problems they might have in the future. Choose where you get your next best friend wisely.