Why It Hurts Me When A Friend Buys A Pet

Maybe it’s just me.  I am scrolling thru my social media feeds and then, I see the post.  A friend who just got a new dog or a new cat.  At first, I get excited thinking about visiting the new addition, and wonder what they will name him or her.  Then, I wonder what shelter or rescue that they adopted from. I mean,  I don’t even think that they may have bought him.

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Brickle, adopted 2009

It is always in the back of my mind, the hope that they indeed went to a rescue or a shelter to pick out their new family member. They know the stats right? I am pretty sure that they do, since I share articles and posts about adopting all of the time and the need to do so. They surely know that over a million animals were killed in United States shelters last year.  I want to ask directly if they adopted, but feel it is rude to do so.  And that would be crazy.  Crazy, I tell myself.  So I just wait for someone else to do it.

Then, I get my answer and I am hit right in the stomach.  They bought him? They bought him? Maybe it was a pet store, maybe a breeder.  And I am devastated.  It hurts.  And I am going to admit it.  It hurts bad.  I want to ignore it, I want to be happy for them and the dog.  After all, it isn’t the dog’s fault, is it?  And I tell myself that.  But somehow, I feel disrespected.  It is like everything that I stand for is invalidated.

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Digby, adopted 2010

I’ve spent the three years traveling the United States and I visited 48 shelters and rescues.  I saw firsthand the plight of homeless animals, and the blatant disregard from humans for them.  But I also saw the good people making a difference for these animals. And I know more than ever that every life matters.  Also, every choice that we make matters.  Yes, even those choices of my friends and family that I love so much.  Do I want to hit “like” on that post when I see your beautiful pet?  You bet I do.  Yet, I feel that if I do so, it will speak volumes.

So, when I see your post on social media that you bought an animal, or that you bred an animal, it will hurt me.  Will I still consider myself your friend?  I will, but it will be different between us.  And that is the honest truth.  The more we ignore the problems facing animals in our country, the more those problems become bigger problems. I cannot understand, and never will, how people can put their own desires ahead of what is right.  I have heard it all.

“I like a specific breed.”  Well.  Go to a breed specific rescue.

“Rescue animals are damaged”.  Oh, I’m sorry.  I didn’t know you were perfect.

“The rescue wants to make a home visit.  I don’t have time for that.”  Then you probably don’t have enough time for a pet.

Does rescuing an animal take more time than buying from a breeder?  It does. You have to go to a shelter, or research a rescue.  Oftentimes, you may have to wait to see an animal, or pay an adoption fee.  You may not find your pet soulmate immediately.  You may adopt an animal with a little baggage and have to be more patient, or they may require more training.  I realize all of this.  I also realize that I alone can’t change everything. But I sure changed everything for my two rescue dogs, Brickle and Digby.  And you can change everything for an animal out there waiting for you.

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The realist in me realizes that not “liking” a post on social media does nothing. I also realize that everyone has a right to their opinions and feelings.  But my feelings are hurt.  And I admit it.

-Rachael Johnson (Girl Person) 2 Traveling Dogs

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196 thoughts on “Why It Hurts Me When A Friend Buys A Pet

  1. Sarah

    You are totally nuts. People like you are what’s wrong with the world. Be mad at the people who give their dogs up. Be mad at the people who don’t neuter or spay. It’s non of your dang business what I do with my home and my money.

    Like

    1. Lynn Serra

      While I understand that you want people to rescue animals at times the cost to either rescue or buy is beyond what people can afford. We have bought and we have rescued for almost 30 years. First the application fee, then the adoption fee, then the transport fee. It’s all too much! My pets are healthy and happy and we were looking to rescue another. I would rather wait to find one on the street, take him to the vet, then take him home.

      Like

  2. Real mature calling someone a bitch for not agreeing with you. I have four rescues. How many do you have? I worked at a shelter in a ghetto area. When your AR groups actually open up spay and neuter clinics in poor neighborhoods, and actually help animals, than I would be more supportive.

    That this article is pinned on a “I Hate Breeders” page. In which breeder dying is laughed at. So it is okay to laughing at the death of someone just because they breed?! Ignoring that there are bad rescues, bad shelters, and bad rescue people is beyond ignorant. Nobody seems to give a shit the abuse happening in these places. Or what about adopting out aggressive animals to people with children!

    Bad rescues?! There was a video of a nearby rescue shop in which a employee hit a dog. Also, this rescue adopted out aggressive dogs! What about the pig rescue in which thousands of bodies of pigs were found? The drug addict that allowed pitbulls to die in their own crates and decay in them?! What about the rescues buying at dog auctions?! That is all okay?! But God forbid you breed or buy from a breeder. God forbid I get exactly what I want.. You know, a well socialized animal, beautiful to look at?!

    You can call me a bitch when you hold down animals to be killed day after day. Watch as AR groups do nothing to help the overwhelming poverty and suffering in low income areas, while they spend millions on stupid shit. You deal with burned out employees that laugh at abuse and participate in it. You enjoy PTSD.. Who are you to deny me what brings me happiness? Or tell me how to obtain my pets!? All this makes you is judgemental hypocrite.

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  3. Jenn

    I adopted my Samoyed through his breeder when he was returned. His 1st family had lost their home and had a very sick child and couldn’t keep him. I was able to adopt him at 2 years old directly from the breeder. She has an agreement with her clients that if they must re-home the dog they must return the dog to her and she finds a suitable home. Not one of her dogs will ever end up in a shelter. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying a dog from a good breeder as they have systems in place to support the dogs they create for life. My dog’s breeder was a wonderful support for any health, coat or behavior issues that came for the duration of his 13 years of life. Some people are looking for certain qualities in the dog they add to their family. Sometimes home owners associations or insurances do not allow dogs mixed with certain breeds. Some people, like me, have bad allergies and can only tolerate certain breeds. I will also say that I tried to adopt a dog from a shelter for over a year that would be compatible with my allergies and each time that dog had dozens of applicants. The dogs I could adopt got adopted. I’m honestly really sad and disgusted that someone would judge me for how I choose to add dogs to my family without knowing anything about me. I proudly purchased my two dogs. I also proudly donate to my local shelter.

    Like

    1. All good with your breeder being responsible and all of that, but….for her say 8 puppies in a litter at that one time ..that leaves 8 dogs left in shelter ..its not hard to do the maths , every breeder , ok just the good ones …how many puppies do they churn out collectively in a year ? lets guess , say a conservative 1000 ..there , thats another 1000 dogs in shelters still there because you chose the alternative , or those 1000 dogs will die because more keep coming in , by the hour … that is my reasoning

      Like

      1. Thank you for this article! Judgemental, holler than thou people like you is why I usually buy from a breeder. I just got a adorable savannah cat a few months ago. In another two months I am getting a dark colored savannah. Let me know if you want pics!!!

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  4. cathy

    I respect your opinion.
    I have worked with at risk foster care children for over 10 years. I often wonder What if we made that suggestion to parents who try so hard to have children, that they should adopt instead?
    I think it’s a personal choice and we make choices best on what works for us, our lifestyle, our health issues, pleasure, etc. To assume the person who chose an specific breed or breeder places unnecessary bias and judgement. Don’t let other’s decisions affect your emotional wellbeing, their decision is not personal to anyone. As long as we love & care for pets, children & one another. We can all respect n support each other’s decisions.

    Like

  5. A.F.

    Rachel, I’m sorry that there are so many people who feel the need to leave nasty comments on your site.
    I am with you on this topic of rescue vs breeders. As I was reading your words, I felt it could have been me writing them. Sadly, some of these comments above show the ugliness of the online world…people who feel they can write whatever hurtful, self entitled stuff they want without any consequence, because they will never meet you face to face. They can hide their nastiness behind a computer or smart phone as they type away in anonymity.
    I adopted my beautiful Saluki/Shepherd 8 years ago, rescued from Taiwan (when he was 3),and as a human who has always adopted from shelters, no matter what the animal ( hamsters, cats, dogs)… every animal that has entered my life has enriched me with so much love and happiness.
    Why people feel compelled to write aggressive comments, is beyond me. Maybe something within them is being triggered? They lash out because they don’t like to face a truth?
    So much time spent on being mean, when we could all be building each other up and acting from a place of kindness and peace. The world definitely needs more kindness and empathy….
    Just my two cents.

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    1. Maybe because we are tired of having adopt only shoved down our throats. How you obtain your pets is not your business. If someone wants to buy a pet, with their money, they earn.. That is their business. Rescues have just as much abuse and neglect as breeders. Or did you not read how some employee at a adopt shop throw a dog against the wall. Or the horrible conditions of Puppy Mill Rescue. There are plenty of rescues that buy from dog auctions!!!

      My husband’s cat just died, and I bought him a cat from a breeder. She is beautiful, well socialized, and is a great addition to our household. I also have rescues. But what does it matter?! What matters is we give our pets a good life.

      Like

  6. Stella

    SKZTil
    Firstly, thank you for your work in rescue. I understand how your life circumstances led you to rescue. My family’s first dog was from a backyard breeder back in the 80’s before “adopt don’t shop” was even a thing. And now I’ve been volunteering/fostering with shelters and rescues for almost 20 years. However, just because some people start with a purchased dog, that doesn’t mean it will lead them to rescue. And just because someone starts out with a challenging rescue dog doesn’t mean they’ll give up on rescue for their next dog. It’s simply better to start someone out by rescuing in the first place.
    There are too many irresponsible breeders and way too many dogs in need of permanent homes, period.

    Well bred dogs DO end up in shelters and rescues. Dogs don’t just end up in shelters because of bad behavior due to poor breeding. There’s an influx of Siberian Huskies in Southern California shelters right now. Do you think people are buying them to pull sleds? Obviously, not. The MAJORITY of purebred dogs are NOT used as working dogs. Siberian Huskies are an intelligent, mischievous and high energy breed. They are being given up for those very reasons. People are buying them and don’t fully understand how much training, exercise and high fencing they need until they’re adults exhibiting the behavior they were bred to have. Also, some breeds aren’t working dogs. A small mixed breed from a shelter can be as good as or better a companion dog than a Shih Tzu.

    Let’s also not forget that dogs are still individuals. I worked with a dog savvy person who spent thousands of dollars on a Golden Retriever from a reputable breeder. He ended up being very untrustworthy with people and dog aggressive. His behavior wasn’t due to upbringing and none of the breeder’s other dogs had ever displayed any type of aggression towards people. And that is just one example.

    I understand if someone needs a purebred as a working dog or even an elite show dog to keep that breed in existence. But if someone is buying a purebred just for looks or personality (which isn’t a guarantee), I’d rather they not get a dog at all. Because these are the majority of people buying dogs. They generally don’t care to find a responsible breeder which means they also aren’t doing enough breed research, aren’t properly caring for the dog and aren’t providing adequate training for the dog. This majority doesn’t care about rescue and their experiences won’t lead them there.

    “Adopt don’t shop” is a great way to help spread the word about the importance of rescue. The popularity of the adopt don’t shop mantra does more good than harm.
    There will never be a world without dogs just because of rescues promoting adoption and spay/neuter. That is a gross exaggeration and saying it is irresponsible.

    P.S. You should be ashamed for talking about mixed breeds and rescue dogs like they’re ill behaved rejects that are inferior to well bred purebreds. And you don’t need a well bred dog to be successful at rescue. In fact, you don’t need any dog at all to successfully rehab or raise a rescue dog.

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    1. Sarah

      You are totally nuts. People like you are what’s wrong with the world. Be mad at the people who give their dogs up. Be mad at the people who don’t neuter or spay. It’s non of your dang business what I do with my home and my money.

      Like

    1. Stella

      R.C.
      Obviously, you don’t care about animals, but some people do. It’s about doing the right thing. Go volunteer at a shelter for a few weeks. I’m sure you’ll change your mind…unless you have no soul.

      Like

      1. Mike

        Well considering people are not truly rescuing there dog. I’m sure you didn’t save your dog from drowning in a river. And in most cases rescues charge more than breeders

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      1. Stella

        Mike – I rescued my dogs from being euthanized, so there isn’t much of a difference.Most legitimate breeders sell dogs for more than rescue adoption fees. And I’m not sure why it’s a problem if rescues charge more than breeders. They don’t charge for profit. It’s to cover the costs of caring for the animals. You pretty much don’t know what you’re talking about, so just shhhhhhhh.

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  7. It hurts me when friends emotionally buy from shelters and rescues with no thought to whether the breed(s) is suitable for their lifestyle, and knowing nothing about the dog’s temperament and background. Sadly many get recycled through the rescue system because the rescue-only mentality is stronger than the wisdom to research and buy responsibly (whether from a rescue/shelter or a breeder). Adopting IS shopping, except that adopt shopping is often done with very little thought about the long term.

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    1. Stella

      R.C.
      Obviously, you don’t care about animals, but some people do. It’s about doing the right thing. Go volunteer at a shelter for a few weeks. I’m sure you’ll change your mind…unless you have no soul.

      Like

      1. Aylen

        amylamb89
        Irresponsible ownership is a problem. However, adopting is NOT shopping. Do you think that adding new dogs to the system instead of some being recycled through is better? Rescues screen applicants, do home checks and require contracts. They select the right owner for each and every dog. And if things don’t work out, the adopter is required to return the dog to the rescue. The majority of backyard breeders don’t do any of these things.

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    2. Anne Jackson

      Amylamb89
      You don’t think that people buy purebreds from breeders based on emotion? I know many people who buy a dog from a breeder that is totally unsuitable for them, and they’re buying them “because they’re cute” (100% emotion). I run a dog rescue, and I make sure that every one of my adopters are not adopting based solely on emotion, they know everything about the temperament of the dog, and we jointly make sure that this dog fits their lifestyle.

      Like

    3. E

      Found my puppy on Craigslist before the ad was taken down. 75$ and no prying into my life. That’s the way I like it. Just because I want to adopt an animal doesn’t mean I should have to pay an arm and a leg to be interrogated about my past and future endeavors. My dog has an amazing home and life, she’s happy, and vetted and extremely loved. Free reign of our yard, (without a fence-God forbid)
      Shelters and rescues own the pets they take in, it’s their prerogative who they “sell” them too. But my guess is that if they quit trying to play dictator, and use common sense in finding these animals homes then they will place a lot more animals needing homes.
      I’ll just keep rescuing mine by other means. —loving animal owner.

      Like

  8. Amanda Johanna Grefski

    There are national databases that will direct you to a dog that will fit the “profile” you’re looking for. It’s impossible that throughout the entire United States there wasn’t one shelter dog that fit what you were looking for.
    It just takes a little more time and effort. Also, maybe a plane ride or a drive to get your dog–all of which will probably cost the same as (or less than!) buying a purebred dog from a breeder, but with the satisfaction that you’ll be saving a life.

    Like

  9. Jennifer Royce

    I tried to adopt dogs. I wanted a small, active dog under a year old. I train and compete in agility and I was looking for a dog that needed training and needed a job.

    But… I work full time out of the house. I was not approved for this kind of dog. I was offered older dogs who were less active.

    I’m sure those dogs they offered were lovely. But they were not what I was looking for at all. I know what I want in a dog just as much as rescues know what they want as a placement. There was no match.

    So I have 3 lovely shelties from a breeder who took the time to listen to me, and chose dogs that would suit me. They are all active, happy, and well cared for. If anything ever happens to me, they will be welcomed back at the breeder. It’s in the contract that they go back to her. That’s what good breeders do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Deb Shelter Volunteer

      I’ve been volunteering in rescue and at a high intake shelter for over 12 years and I’m sorry but your account just doesn’t ring true. In fact young dogs around 1 year old frequently come into the shelter for exactly the characteristics you seemed to be desiring- energy, youthful exuberance and a need of training or a job. These dog were generally adopted as puppies and now at 7-11 months the adopter decided they’re too much trouble. Also most rescues I know would be delighted with an adopter who works from home vs one that’s away for 10 hours a day. I have to say, respectfully, the fact that you chose 3 purebred shelties (yes we don’t get them often at the shelter) tells me you probably had your heart set on that breed of dog, not that you couldn’t find a mixed breed or other breed equivalent. A friend of mine is a trainer and a shelter/rescue volunteer and competes in agility with her dogs. She found 3 including a purebred that she loves and has won medals with. She just took her time and waited for the right ones. But adopting was paramount to her and clearly it’s low on the list for you (c’mon on you know it’s true).

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Michelle

      Let me start by saying I have 2 dogs breed specific and one shelter baby. All three were selected for our home and what we wanted. I enjoy training puppies because I can get them to behave in our home from the beginning. Our shelter one just showed up on a local shelters website and since it said high energy and lives other dogs- we went to see if he’d fit our family. His first year was stained as it seemed this had been his second turn in to the shelter. However as we worked with him and our GSD he’s an active gentle soul.
      I will not apologize for my decisions. They are family members of my family.
      I understand their are many shelter animals that are amazing- however; many do want a specific breed and know that comes along with that breed.
      You are told over and over to do your research and make sure your able to handle the characteristics of specific dogs. If you do a good job with that you don’t have to worry about someday being one of those people who bought a puppy and couldn’t deal with the behavior of the dog and thus placing that poor creature in a shelter
      I couldn’t care less if it hurts your feelings. You’re not part of my family and my family members will stay my family members until the day they go over that rainbow bridge.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Janet

      I have a friend that is a trainer with two rescue dogs that are trained and go everywhere with her. That was her solution. Could work for you if you want it too.

      Like

      1. N E Mouse

        Picking a dog from a rescue ad across the nation from you is buying on looks alone. Sometimes even less than that. I’m not sure how the breed(s) are picked in the petfinder, etc descriptions. Then that breed(s), that it obviously isn’t, is used to describe expected behaviors. A Newfoundland that weighs 25 pounds. A Scottie that weighs 100 pounds. A Chihuahua mix is labeled a Giant Schnauzer.

        For *my* needs I must have a dog that is calm in the house, yet one that is ready to go when I am. It must be over a certain size. It must be intelligent AND easy to train (not the same thing). Not brachiocephalic, not extreme in anything. Not a dog that needs to be touching all the time yet is always aware of me. Coat length is irrelevant. I found a *breed* that ticks all my boxes without any exaggeration.
        I found my match. Some dogs obviously not of this breed are listed on petfinders with the behavior profile of my breed. No, no, no. That does NOT help.

        Like

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