Opinion: Consider a “clearance dog”

Guest column by Abigail Lee

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” Writer Josh Billings said that. I would have to agree with Josh Billings. Dogs do love their owners more than themselves. I want you to consider a “clearance dog,” a dog from the shelter, for your next pet. For most people, though, they want a brand new puppy because they feel like it would love them more than if it was a dog from a shelter and that puppies aren’t as damaged.

I would have to disagree with people like that. It honestly depends on the dog. I have two dogs at home, and they are “clearance dogs.” Literally, they were a two-for-one special. I adopted Sophie and Roxie from the Boone Humane Society in 2011. I do have to say they are just as special as their special.

According to the ASPCA website, Sophie and Roxie are only two dogs out of seven million animals that enter a shelter nationwide each year. Sadly, about three to four million animals are euthanized each year. Sixty percent of the dogs that come in are euthanized. Think about all those great animals who just wanted to love someone and for some of that love to be returned.

The cost of a puppy someone bought from a breeder compared to the cost of a dog adopted from a shelter is astonishing! From the research I have done comparing various sites and ads in The Des Moines Register, I have found that the average cost of a puppy from a breeder is between $750 to almost $4,000, but that also depends on the breed.

The average cost to adopt a dog from a shelter is anywhere between being free to $150. Plus, most dogs in the shelters are potty-trained, so that’s already saving you money on new carpet right there!

There is a new trend of creating a designer dog to meet all your desires. For example, of you hate it when you are covered in dog hair you can get a dog that does not shed.  This is not only costly, but also very dangerous for the dogs. These designer dogs are often mixed with multiple breeds to create that perfect non-shedding dog. The issue arises when new breeds are purposely being bred and their offspring have a lot of health issues because some dogs where just not meant to be bred together. Designer dogs often have GI tract issues, heart problems, mental health issues, and many more problems. Shelter dogs won’t be perfect and have some issues along those lines, but at least you know what you are getting before you adopt.

Generally, shelters get dogs vaccinated and neutered before putting them up for adoption, so they are ready to go. Puppies you have to take them in and get them vaccinated and neutered. Sometimes the puppies belong to the breeder to breed more dogs.

Therefore, when you are really buying a puppy from a breeder, they aren’t really yours until they have had five to six litters. That is hard on the dogs to have that many liters in a short amount of time. Plus, they have to go back and forth from the owner to the breeder, which can cause a lot of confusion for the dog.   

To conclude, there are many pros and cons to adopting a dog and buying a puppy. Next time you are looking for a pet, look at shelters first, because you never know when the perfect pet is just waiting there for you. Go out and get a “clearance dog.” Trust me; it was one of the best decisions I have ever made!

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