Best Places to Purchase or Adopt

Finding a new canine companion is a big step. The goal is finding a healthy, well adjusted dog who will easily fit into the household. It can be difficult to know where to begin or what to look for.

Fortunately, there are many ways to find a new pet and lots of choices. The following is a review of the options available and what to consider when choosing where to adopt from. Hopefully, some care taken at the beginning will lead to many years of happy pet ownership.

Public Shelters

Usually run by a city or municipality, public shelters are funded by the tax dollars of local citizens. For this reason, some public shelters will only adopt out to area residents. It’s best to inquire about this beforehand. They are usually affiliated with the city’s animal control department and can be the most affordable option for selecting a new pet.

Independent Rescues

These rescues are not publicly funded and may not receive any government financing at all. They rely on grants, donations from supporters, community fundraisers and adoption fees for their support. Since they can’t rely on government funding, the adoption fees may be higher than public shelters. Some independent rescues are affiliated with low cost spay and neuter facilities and may require a home visit before placing an animal with a family.

Individual Breed Rescues

These are rescues that focus on a particular breed and sometimes related breeds. A Shih Tzu rescue, for example, may also work to re-home Lhasa Apsos or Havanese dogs as they are very similar. They can be nationwide or local. For those who have fallen in love with a specific breed and want to give a needy pet a home, individual breed rescues are a great choice. Examples include NORCAL Golden Retriever Rescue and Southern States Rottweiler Rescue but there are literally thousands of breed rescues re-homing all breeds of dogs.

Private Breeders

Responsible breeders raise dogs and puppies out of a love for the breed. They select the dogs with the most desirable characteristics for breeding. Most reputable breeders only breed one or at most two breeds of dog. Care should be taken when selecting a breeder, most are happy to answer any questions and allow their kennels to be viewed by potential customers. Breeder directories are available online.

Free Puppies

Free puppies are an interesting proposition. When it comes to free puppies, the name is misleading. Many people may see an advertisement for free puppies in the classifieds and think they have hit the jackpot. However there are a lot of costs associated with free puppies. Once the puppy is obtained, it needs to be taken to the vet for all the standard things that are included with rescues or adoptions. Those prices will typically run just as high. The vet exam, spay/neuter and microchipping is going to cost hundreds. There’s no guarantee as to the health of a free puppy as well. It’s very painful to consider the potential adoption of a pet followed by immediate loss. It’s something no one should ever want to have happen.

Watch Out For


Unfortunately, unscrupulous people will use the sincere desire for a new pet to cheat others. Be sure to research thoroughly any breeder or adoption service who requests money via PayPal or Western Union. Referrals and testimonials are key things to look for when adopting a dog.

Health Problems

Most reputable breeders will offer a health guarantee and promise of refund if a dog falls ill within a year from purchase. Most shelters and rescues are not able to offer this guarantee, however. Communicate with shelter staff, be observant, and get the new dog to a veterinarian for a check up as soon as possible after adoption.

Puppy Mills

Puppy mills are large dog breeding operations that do not invest much care in the treatment of their animals. They are responsible for some of the worst cases animal abuse, as the dogs are viewed merely as money generating machines. They are usually located in rural areas and offer many different breeds for sale.

Pet Stores

Pet stores are not usually a good choice for pet adoption. Many nationwide chains no longer sell dogs and instead host shelters and rescues. Sadly, many small pet stores sell dogs bred in puppy mills. These dogs may not be very healthy or well socialized to human contact.

You Might Like