I recently read an article about someone who was defending her reasons for getting her dog from a breeder rather than adopting a rescue. To answer her question, no, buying a pet rather than adopting does not make you any less of a pet owner. Once you have a dog or cat, that animal becomes a part of your family and you love them as much as you would if they were your child. I have no doubt about that.
However, the problem is the process of getting the "perfect" dog. It's a long process, applying to places to adopt dogs only to not be fast enough to respond when your "perfect" dog becomes available. It's disheartening after a while; you feel as if the system really is working against you in your efforts to adopt a dog. Being able to pick the perfect dog from a bred litter is 10 million times easier than looking around at breed specific rescues, animal shelters and other kinds of rescues.
I understand that sometimes small-time breeders are incredibly good people who follow the rules and just want families to be happy with their perfect dog. I get the draw to them, but hundreds of thousands of animals are considered strays in the US alone.
With this amount of stray animals that do not have their forever homes, who are probably malnourished, mistreated and scared, we need to work on lowering that number before we purposefully bring more animals into the world. With a number as large as that, I can assure you that your "perfect dog" is somewhere out there in those numbers.
I was recently told that my dog, who is a mutt and was rescued from a local non-profit, "looked remarkably normal for being a mutt." Finn, my dog, is a lab/shepherd/beagle/who-knows mix and one of the best dogs out there. Now, I obviously am partial, but his fur is beautiful and shiny, he is a handsome pup and he follows orders. He is a quick learner, and even though he wasn't a puppy, he mastered commands within months of getting him, as he had never experienced them before.
Rescues are not these gross creatures that are not "good dogs."
I am not insinuating that the article previously mentioned is trying to say this, as she said she looked at rescues, but I know that this is a sentiment that is felt throughout.
However, there are breed-specific rescues where purebred dogs are rescued and available for adoption. There are lists that easily allow for you to navigate rescues by your state. There are some rescues that allow for people from all over to adopt their dogs. You don't have to live nearby to be able to adopt a dog that is what you're looking for as well as giving them a second chance at a loving life.
I do not mean to say that the dogs that are in breeders or in the pet stores that get them from breeders are not worthy of being bought; they need homes too. Those dogs need love and to be in a family that cares for them. However, the systems in which these puppies and kittens are bred create a bigger issue for the stray pet epidemic that is currently happening.
Rescues many times go into breeders and get the animals out of there in order to stop that breeder from hurting any more animals or to help stop the continued growth of the number of pets without owners. Rescues go into high kill shelters and rescue dogs so that they can no longer be killed and give them a second — even a third — chance at life. These rescues ask for some money to adopt their dogs or cats, but that is only a portion of the amount of money that they actually spend in order to keep the animals healthy, fed and loved.
If you have a dog that is not from a rescue, you are not any less of a dog owner, you do not love your dog any less and you are not a horrible person. All dogs and cats need homes. However, with the number of stray dogs out in the US alone, we have the ability to rescue animals rather than feed into the cycle of dog breeders charging way too much for dogs.