What Does Adopted Mean to You?

In the world of pet ownership, adopted generally means that a dog or cat from a shelter or rescue has a new, furever home. Adopted means saved, rescued forever, etc. For the purposes of this blog entry, going forward, I'm going to limit this just to dogs, but to some extent, you can apply this to cats too.

Adopted does not mean, "I purchased my dog from a breeder." To me, saying a dog that was intentionally bred and sold for money is just wrong. If you buy a dog from a breeder, please do not say you "adopted" the dog, because you didn't. You overpaid for a dog that has a higher chance of having health problems, and to some extent, you basically sentenced a dog in a kill shelter to death because of your choice. Perhaps we should make it mandatory that when you choose to buy a dog from a breeder, you must first go to your local shelter and select a dog to be killed, and then watch while they kill it.

Harsh? Yes, absolutely! Intentionally harsh, but that's because day in and day out, I see photos of dogs and cats with less than 12 hours to live, because shelters will kill them if they aren't adopted or pulled by rescues by that time. Yet, day in and day out, breeders intentionally breed dogs, adding to the dog population, while shelters kill dogs because the dogs haven't found new homes.

Shelters have limited space, and limited funds. Rescues have limited space, limited foster homes, and very limited funds in most cases. When you adopt from a shelter or rescue, you usually pay an adoption fee. These fees go to vet bills, food, facility upkeep, spay/neuter costs, etc. In most cases, the adoption fee doesn't even cover all of the costs the shelter or rescue incurred for the dog.

Let's take my Geno for example... His adoption fee was sponsored, but when we adopted him, his shelter's adoption fee was $125. Geno was there for over 2 years. He's a 60-pound dog, so he goes through a 30-pound bag of dog food every month. His shelter feeds Pedigree, because they get a huge discount on it, so let's just assume that they pay $10/30-pound bag. We'll say they had to feed Geno for 24 months, at $10/bag. Who wants to do the math and figure out how much the shelter lost on just feeding Geno as compared to his adoption fee???

Yes, they lost $115 just in food, using my costs. Add to it the cost of his neutering, his vaccinations, his flea and tick meds, and at a minimum, they lost over $200 to keep him until we agreed to adopt him. However, his shelter cared about keeping him alive and finding him a home. That's how rescues are too--at most, their adoption fees *might* allow them to break even on costs, but no one in rescue goes into rescues thinking they're going to make money at it!

Breeders however, look at breeding dogs as a way to make money. Don't give me the, "They love dogs, and often lose money." Bull!!! If there wasn't money in it, they wouldn't do it... They'd rescue dogs instead! Or, they'd breed the dogs but give them away at minimal costs... There's money in it...

So, if you are going to buy a dog from a breeder, and won't consider adopting a shelter dog, since I can't mandate that anyone select a shelter dog to die and watch it die before buying a dog from a breeder, at the very least, could you please stop saying you adopted a dog, and leave that to those of us who actually did save a dog???

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