With millions of unwanted animals euthanized every year in shelters, and with the horrendous conditions in the puppy mills around the country that serve as the supply chain for pet stores, it's a no-brainer to me that animal adoption is the way to go when you're looking to bring a pet into your family.
It's certainly the most compassionate approach. But it's also a choice that's saves money -- often substantial amounts.
For a cost ranging from free to $200, you can have a fully neutered, loving (and I swear --- grateful) pet.
Compare that to the cost of a pet store dog that runs into the hundreds and even thousands of dollars, and most likely came from one of those previously mentioned, horrific puppy mill besides. It just makes sense to adopt.
My family has always adopted our dogs, ever since I was a small child.
They were the best companions and taught me many a lesson about loyalty and responsibility -- lessons that I still carry with me to this day.
Shelter pets are usually mutts of indeterminate breed. But they are still lovable and deserving of a loving home. To find a pet for adoption, check out your local animal shelter, your area veterinarians, or the website Petfinder to find a rescue animal.
Or, if you must have a certain breed, and your local shelter does not have any (surprisingly, they sometimes do), then check out rescue organizations that specialize in saving purebreds of various types.
These are not "budget" pets for the most part, since they typically command much steeper prices than from a shelter, but there are still substantial savings to be had over getting one from a reputable breeder.
However, there are a few steps you should take to make sure you are working with a legitimate organization.
Start by doing an on-line search for a rescue organization for your particular breed of interest (for example, type in: "Labrador rescue") and several different options will pop up in various geographic areas.
You want one close enough to where you live so that you can visit and verify that it's a well-run establishment and not just a for-profit puppy mill or hoarding situation.
Sadly, some so-called rescues are simply fronts for such inhumane and unethical breeding operations that are trying to take advantage of the public's desire to rescue animals. Click here for an article on the topic .
And here's another article that outlines how to make sure it is a a reputable rescue organization you're dealing with: https://redrover.org/choosing-reputable-rescue-group.
Once you've done your due diligence and verified the organization you're working with, it's just a matter of deciding which animal among those available you'll accept into your home and your heart.
Giving a homeless pet a forever home is a wonderful feeling.
Doing good while saving money really is the best of all possible worlds.