By Ari Liakeas

Are you an animal lover and thinking of getting a new fur kid to join your family? Let’s consider why adopting is the better and more compassionate option than shopping at your local puppy farm. 

Warning: I want to apologise now to anyone reading if some of the content of this article is upsetting. It has been difficult for me to write due to being a massive animal lover and animal rights activist for years.

According to the ASPCA, around 6.3 Million dogs and cats enter animal shelters annually in the US alone, and approximately 920,000 of these beautiful creatures will be euthanized. Yes, put to death! 

Although I personally disagree with it, unfortunately, this is sometimes the kindest and most humane way, as many animals in No Kill Shelters are kept in confined spaces due to overcrowding and lack of funding. These shelters’ ethos is beautiful, although the reality may not be.

Look At That Poor Doggy In The Window

Animal breeders and puppy farms are all about the big bucks. They are massively contributing to the ever-growing overpopulation of domestic animals for pets, and those that aren’t sold are discarded onto the street or killed. 

Many of these cute little puppies are caged and confined, entering the world in horrendous conditions, taken from their mothers and not allowed to play with their siblings, which is imperative for health and socialisation for dogs and cats. 

The female dogs are kept for further breeding programmes and are constantly pregnant, giving them a very short life span. 

There is a great deal of animal suffering attached to puppy farms, and they should absolutely not be supported in any way.

If you really want a young dog, check the animal rescue centres for puppies or perhaps a friend whose dog has had babies. 

When I received my beautiful Star, a stunning pure white Scottish Deerhound, it was because my friend’s dog got pregnant by accident. I only had to pay for Star’s puppy vet fees for necessary health check-ups and vaccinations against diseases that young dogs require.

It is important not to support the designer dog trade, which is exacerbating the puppy farm industry and breeding dogs for fashion. Many of these poor doggos have incredibly challenging health issues which can cost a fortune in vet fees throughout the dog’s potentially uncomfortable and probably short life.

So please research which breed of dog is best for your family and talk to animal rescue centres; they have lots of information and advice on making the best decision.

Be A Hero

So many animal rescue centres are doing such great work. Most are run by kind-hearted people who give their time and love to these animals through volunteering at the shelters. 

Over the years, I have worked in animal care in various capacities, from doggy daycare to walking to animal sitting (all voluntary), but the hardest yet most wonderfully beautiful job I did was during the COVID pandemic while living on the Greek island of Corfu. I volunteered at the Corfu Animal Rescue Establishment (CARE), rescuing dogs and cats off the streets.

Every morning my friend, her son and I would walk down through the olive groves from my apartment to the rescue centre. The dogs always knew we were coming about five minutes before we arrived, as they would start barking to greet us. They knew it was morning walk time!

We would spend our mornings taking these happy rescued inhabitants, waiting on their forever homes, for waggy-tailed walks. This also gave some much-needed relief to Derek Butler, the head of operations at the Corfu location. He was pretty much caring for all the dogs and cats on his own. What a hero!

We must support these heroes to continue their fantastic work for animals by adopting from a shelter

Many dogs and cats are waiting to join their forever family. Can you imagine what a wonderfully happy ending to have—going from the streets scrounging for scraps, needing to protect yourself from being hit by cars and potential poisoning (yes, some countries poison street animals, it’s awful), having nowhere to sleep other than out in the cold? 

The lucky ones get picked up and taken to a shelter (at first, that must be scary!) but get fed properly, are taken for walks and have a safe bed to sleep in. Then the even more blessed ones have a lovely family or individual deciding to give them a happy life and a warm bed for the rest of their days.

If you still have questions or are not sure if you are ready to adopt yet, there are many other ways you can support animals in need. You can sponsor a dog or cat, fundraise for your local shelter or even try fostering to see if it works for you.

Let’s be these animals’ heroes and adopt!