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 spent the last year 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

All views expressed are my own

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

  1. I agree about the need to give shelter dogs a home, but what happens to the dogs in pet shops and with breeders if they don’t get bought? Don’t they end up getting euthanized as well? I think they need saving as well.

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    1. I empathise with caring about the fate of bred dogs for sale in pet stores, but you have to think of the consequences of the sale. That money goes back to the breeder and encourages them to keep practicing their breeding. The most humane thing that can happen to the pets for sale is to be left unsold, and then transferred to a humane, no-kill shelter who can hopefully get them adopted quickly. You can help by talking to the manager of the pet store and trying to convince them to stop buying from puppy mills. The store is not making a big percentage on the profits from selling the animals anyway… the breeder is.

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    1. I agree that they do need a home now that they exist, as they are totally innocent in the fact of their own existence and how it came to be. But to avoid enabling future breeding practices, it is important that breeders don’t profit from what they do. If the dogs aren’t bought they are NOT returned to the breeders and euthanized, as that wouldn’t be profitable. They are either given away for little money, or they are returned to the mill to turn into breeding animals themselves. Don’t fall for the lie that unsold animals are euthanized… that’s what they want you to think so you will buy them. One thing you can do to help is to offer some small amount of money to buy the animals and then give them to a shelter you trust, where you know they will be rehabilitated and treated humanely and the money used to buy them won’t go to perpetuating the cycle. Eventually, if dog breeding becomes unprofitable stores will stop buying, and mills will stop operating.

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  2. Kathy Dubree

    I admit I have bought dogs before when my local humane society didn’t have what I wanted. My last two dogs though I got at my local animal shelter. They are great dogs I will never go to another private owner again. I heard about a lady that bought a Frenchie for three thousand dollars. That’s crazy!! I just thought of how many dogs she could have helped with that money. Love your blog hope you have many more adventures. Good luck on finding your new home.

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  3. Tatjana

    The truth is things can’t be the same. Ever! I have tried. I said to myself it is not dog’s fault too but every time I see abandoned animal I remember my friends who bought a new pet and it hurts me all over again.

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  4. Jackie Adams

    We have a rescue dog. We got her when she was about six months old. I have had purebreds in the past but this fur baby is the best companion I’ve ever had. Rescues make the best breeds ever

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  5. Fran Frederick

    All my pets have been rescued. Either from a shelter or people who did not deserve them. The last pet that was bought was a goldfish for my daughter. Peter lived for eighteen years. Animals come to my house, they are well loved, and they know it!

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  6. Wendy Laveaux

    I bought my first golden retreiver Amber in 1984 from a puppy mill. I did not know this at the time but as she experienced several bone growth issues which culminated in having her put to sleep at 8 months old, my vet encouraged me to file a complaint with the Canadian Kennel Club which I did. However the breeder “gave” me another puppy against the advice of my vet. His name was Nashville. He was followed closely by my vet and at 6 months was diagnosed with moderate hip dysplasia. He was operated on at 7 years and lived til he was 10. Did he have a good life? Yes I believe he did albeit not one without pain and I loved my Nash with everything I had. I learned a lesson from these 2 dogs and that was from the point after Nash passed on I would never buy from a breeder. I have had 7 dogs since and they all came from rescue groups. Young and old! Each one of them teaches me something about love and trust and acceptance. Thank you for what you do in spite of the sadness and despair you witness. Change takes a long time to come but I believe it can! Bless you and your crew.

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  7. Shirley Bruninghous

    I totally agree. The only price I’ve ever paid for a dog is an adoption fee. I have five rescue dogs and I keep thinking there’s room for one more. I have a senior dog that I keep gated off from the others when I go to work because I know they get a little crazy when
    I’m gone. We have a fenced in yard with a doggy door for them. Was thinking another senior dog would work to keep my Jake company. We do a lot of doggy classes and dog events with dog groups we belong to, many who have the purchased purebred dogs. I consider these folks my friends but not as close as the ones with the saved or rescue dogs. I often think I’m being foolish for thinking this way, so it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I too agree that I’m not a perfect purebred person, so I don’t think I need that in my dogs. They love me and I love them and that’s all that matters. Going to take two now to a pet fest at our local feed and pet store. They’re will be adoptable dogs there, so who knows. Then I’m going to try taking one of my smaller dogs kayaking on a nearby lake. Wish me luck.

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  8. Barara (wanna be on the road) Corneliusen.

    I feel so strongly the same. I try to communicate that to everyone I hear that expresses a desire for a pet. Go the shelter go to a rescue please give these animals a chance. Rescue dogs and shelter dogs do often have baggage but who doesn’t. Make a difference!

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  9. All my babies are rescued!! I feel the same way. I feel like we have so many babies that need homes why go BUY one when one is waiting for you now. It makes me sad to think about how many babies need a home after all the hurricanes. I wish I had a bigger yard….

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  10. Candice Stine

    I will never buy a dog from a store. All of our dogs are and have been rescues. They all have been wonderful dogs. They all have been grateful for having a good loving home. Rescues will always be my breed of choice!

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  11. Truth! I have changed my way of looking at those who buy their pets at a store. I have a difficult time accepting that choice. And I am with you, Rachel, especially after this year of traveling you’ve all done. I question my friends’ love for me in those actions. Harsh? Maybe, but when I look at my two new, used dogs and The happiness that surrounds them now, I can’t feel any other way. They were discarded like trash and I am so thankful we found each other 💕

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  12. I feel the same way when someone announces that their pets having babies. I know their excited but there’s so many animals that need z home no one needs to breed their pet. We have 2 rescues that are the best dogs in the world and I honestly think before you buy an animal you should have to go through a process similar to what you do when you rescue or adopt. There would be fewer animal bred and people who did get them wouldn’t be rejoining them or giving them up because it wouldn’t be that instant thing. They’d have to work for them. That’s my rant for the day sorry it was so long

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