Where do doggies come from? Well, when a boy doggy and a girl doggy love each other very much, or meet for the first time and are in the mood—OH! You meant where can you adopt a doggy? My mistake. OK, since a stork won’t deliver any puppies directly to your stoop, you will have to go out and find your puppy on your own! When you decide it’s time for a new addition for the family, you are going to have a lot of options—you want make sure you are well-informed and take the right route to the find that perfect puppy. He’s out there waiting!
From a Friend
According to smart people who know more about stuff then I do, most people get their dogs through family or friends. Often times you can find a nice, healthy puppy from some one you know personally, or someone who knows someone you know personally. Adopting your next dog from a family or friend is convenient and safe, so once you decide you have the time and space to take on a puppy, get the word out within your closest circle that you are looking—more often than not, someone will have a lead on where you can find a puppy.
If you do decide to adopt from a personal contact, you want to be patient. After you know you want to adopt a puppy, you do not want to just adopt the first poof ball with a sad face. If you wait, a friend or family member might find a stray (or know someone who does) and not only can your puppy needs be met, but you can also save a lost or abandoned dog from the pound! Everybody wins.
The downside of adopting from a friend of family member is that your options might be limited. If you have specific breed in mind and no one you know has that breed, you may just be out of luck—unless you keep an open mind and accept whatever cute puppy needs a home, purebred or mutt!
From a Breeder
Buying from breeders is the second most popular route taken by dog adopters—ostensibly because most breeders have credible track records with customers and they also often times come with health guarantees. Generally speaking, breeders know what they are doing and love doing it, so you can rest assured that your puppy (and it’s momma and poppa) have been treated wonderfully. Another benefit of buying from breeders is that many have websites that allow you to see plenty of photos and information, as well as the option to ship the puppy long distance (we recommend you drive to pick the puppy up unless absolutely unavoidable).
Extrapolating from the ability to ship the puppy leads us to the inevitable realization of yet another perk of buying from breeders: choice. You can probably adopt any breed you can think of, finding a respectable breeder within seconds of an online google search.
From a Pet Store
The least popular method of buying a puppy is through a pet store—and, in my opinion, for good reason. Many times puppy stores will get their dogs from puppy mills, where dogs are treated like incubator baby-makers. The mothers are often penned in small cages and malnourished, their bodies used up until they are infertile and then they are ultimately put down. The puppies are also treated poorly and are often inbred and sickly.
Of course not all pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills—so I am not suggesting we lump all pet stores together and vilify them as evil puppy sweatshop supporters. I am, however, suggesting you educate yourself before buying from a pet store and you do your homework.
Also, pet stores, though convenient, will often times showcase the biggest price tag for the puppy—so you at least want to shop around before buying the dog from a pet store.
From a Shelter or Rescue
Personally, I think this is the way to go. Millions of dogs are killed in pounds and shelters every year because there are just not enough homes (please spay or neuter your dogs, too!). And the benefits of going through a shelter or rescue program are numerous!
First of all, if you adopt a rescue dog—you are not only doing a great thing for the doggy community—you will be saving a lot of money! There are usually some adoption fees (to make sure the adopter is serious about the adoption and to cover foster parent costs) but other costs, like shots and spaying/neutering, are often already covered.
Also, despite the common misconception, you can find a perfectly good purebred dog in a shelter or rescue program. About 25% of dogs left at shelters are pure breeds! That’s 1 in every 4 for those who don’t like percentages. And that’s 25% for those who don’t like fractions! I should also mention here that mutts make great, loving pets, too!
Proud parent boasting here: I adopted a purebred Border Collie almost a year ago who was abandoned by her owner with her mate and litter, malnourished and neglected. Her foster parents did a wonderful job nursing her back to health and training her and I lucked into the best behaved, most adorable, most appreciative dog on the planet. And, since she is over a year old, I skipped the puppy stage!
Puppies are cute, sure, but they are a handful—rescuing or adopting an older dog from a pound has its advantages. You probably won’t have to worry about potty-training or teething (no chewed slippers!). I especially recommend adopting an older dog for retired or older dog-lovers, who might not have the energy to put up with a lively, needy puppy.
No matter what route you choose, you are taking on a big responsibility with your new puppy. You want to make sure you are prepared and that you are doing the smart, responsible thing when adopting your puppy—from wherever you adopt it—for you and the puppy. Go find him and bring him home!