Four Reasons People Shop, Not Adopt

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 12:30pm

We’ve all had this conversation. A friend wants to bring home a new pet, and despite your best efforts, she’s set on buying from a pet store. How can you convince to her adopt, not shop? Here are four things we hear a lot, and how you can respond.

If I don’t buy that puppy in the pet store, who will?
Pet stores usually sell their puppies quickly, and the store will slash the price on slow sellers until they’re bought. If people stop giving their business to pet stores that sell puppies by not purchasing puppies or anything else from them, ultimately, the puppy mills that they support will shut down from lack of demand. Hurray!

I want a purebred/a puppy, and they don’t end up in shelters.
Some people want a Golden Retriever no matter what. Tell your pal that a one-of-a-kind mutt from a shelter is just as healthy and lovable, but that 25% of animals who enter shelters are purebreds, and that most breeds have a breed rescue—a group that re-homes dogs of a specific breed. Oh, and show them some videos of ASPCA puppies.

Shelter pets aren’t likely to be healthy.
Explain to your pal the many physical and mental ailments puppy mill dogs—most of those in pet stores—can develop. Remind your pal that any animal can become sick or injured, regardless of where he came from, but that at a shelter you know up front if your new pet has any chronic health issues. Let your friend know that pet store dogs are actually somewhat more likely than shelter dogs to need vet care for an illness.

My friend has a shelter dog, and he’s hyper/destructive/scared/shy.
Here’s where those of you with shelter pets can point to them and say, “Uh, what about Mr. Fluffy here? He’s a model dog and he came from a shelter.” Then point out that just like dogs from anywhere else, some shelter dogs have behavior issues to work on. Adopting from a shelter allows you to know exactly what you’re getting and whether you’re prepared to handle any issues that may arise.

Good luck! If you have other suggestions, share ‘em with us. And if you’ve persuaded someone to adopt, not shop, tell us about it.

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Thanks for the good pointers.


When trying to convince people to adopt a shelter animal; yes directing them to your videos of adorable ASPCA puppies would work. But would have greater impact if viewed after watching a video of the deplorable conditions at a puppy mill.

We adopt from our Shelter many older dogs of elderly owners that have passed away. How they're Family can put a loved ones dog in a kill shelter..... anyway, people ask me why my group, Paw Angel, adopts dogs that are elderly and may have a few problems when the Shelter is full of younger and healther dogs. The answer? "Because they still love people." and, "Being old is no reason to be killed." Almost all of our adoptees were in very bad shape when we brought them home and it is amazing what a little love, good food, vet care and a quiet crate at night to call they're own, can do.


Being an adoption rep at our 100% NO-KILL shelter, I've heard it all and sometimes it's tough to change people's minds. We do personal write-ups on each animal and post them on the cage. For the cost of adoption, we explain to the public what you get: spay/neutered pet, full medical workup, all age-appropriate shots including rabies, temperment tested, full medical file disclosure with a copy to the adopter, microchip that includes registration. The only thing a person needs to do is bring a carrier once they're approved.

When we show the public what we've paid out in medical costs alone, without the 'extras' then show them what it would cost if they bought a 'puppy/kitty mill' animal and had to pay vet costs on their own, it is indeed an eye-opener. Unlike 'pet' stores, we will also accept a pet returned if it doesn't work out for whatever reason (no refund; fully disclosed during adoption).

We also follow up with a phone call/email in a few weeks to see how things are going and encourage our adopters to submit a few lines and photo, which we then upload to our website for the world to see.


Im 17 and I have rescued two dogs from going into shelters in nyc. Even though my mom doesnt allow pets at my house anymore I made sure I fought great homes for both of them and I still check on them to see how they are doing. One thing I know that is good about adopting is that no dog or cat will give u as much love as a shelter/rescue dog ive had 3 dogs while I grew up and I never had a conection as strong as the one I had with the dogs I rescued. Dogs that are up for adoption give one more love because they are afraid that one will place them in a shelter again even though they may not be as smart as us humans they know deep inside that they have been given a second chance. The dogs I rescued usdd to follow me around everywhere literally and it broke my heart. Rescue and shelter dogs need us they suffer believe it or not. All animals deserve a second chance because they represent innocence and I dont belive they have ever done anything wrong. People that say a animal is destructive agressive etc.,are wrong and if one is smart enough they will no that its not the animals fault its ours because they where placed on earth to love they are not fighters if pets are "bad" its because us humas didnt give them proper training.

Lori Udenberg

When I hear that anyone is looking for a new pet I always give them several rescue site to look for their next friend.I explain that just because an animal comes from a breeder doesn't make them any better since animals in shelter are often there when people don't take them time to socialize them.Like a child they take time to learn acceptable behavior.I have convinced many family and friends to make adoption the first option,and when people say they can't stand to look at animals in cages it's too sad I tell them"just imagine how that cage looks from the other side of the door".

Sue Freedman

We've adopted 2 shelter dogs. The first was a collie-shephard mix and unfortunately we had alot of problems with her. She bit every member of the family, to the point that I needed surgery to repair nerve damage. Nevertheless, we never thought of returning her to the shelter because we felt that she had probably been abused. Our second and current shelter dog is a beagle-shephard mix, and is the most gentle animal anyone could ask for. So you never know! We strongly support pet adoption and would never buy a pet from a pet store.


Adoted my first shelter dog 2 months ago. Love him so much.


Thousand of companion animals are killed each and every day in shelters across America, please have a heart and be part of the solution, not the problem. Pet stores wreck shelter dogs' chances!


The most effective thing i've ever said to someone who was intent, not on "buying" a sapient being, but on breeding a wonderful dog and finding homes for all her puppies is, "Before you have her bred, spend a week at a shelter, holding the animals to be lethally injected." She said, "Oh...maybe i won't, after all." For reinforcement, refer people to "One at a Time: A Week in an American Animal Shelter."