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How Much Is That Doggie? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Fido is held down by a volunteer while the vet prepares the needle. This frisky pup doesn't know what's coming, but this time it's not just another vaccination. He feels the prick of the needle and gradually his eyes close and his breathing slows, as if he were falling asleep, but he never reopens his eyes. “Every year, between six and eight million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters; some three to four million of these animals are euthanized,” according to the Humane Society. Fido was given up by his owner because she didn't have the time to raise him. She had bought him at a pet store and was not given enough information about the responsibilities of owning a pet, so she found out too late that she couldn't care for him. She gave him up to a humane society, where he was put up for adoption. Three months later, with other dogs constantly being brought in, there was no room and Fido had to give up his spot to make room for new arrivals. If more people adopted from shelters instead of buying pets from stores, Fido would have a loving home.

Have you ever considered where pet stores get their puppies? Most are supplied by puppy mills. The owners of these breeding facilities force dogs to reproduce over and over and don't care about the animals – only about profits. If more people adopted shelter dogs, fewer puppies would be bought at pet stores and puppy mills would lose business and shut down.

If you want a purebred dog but can't afford one, go to a shelter. In pet stores, the average price for a purebred puppy is $600 to $1,500, depending on the breed. However you can get a purebred at a shelter for a fraction of that. Did you know that a quarter of shelter dogs are purebred, and it's an even higher percentage for cats? Also, most shelter dogs are already spayed or neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, and have been checked by a vet. Store-bought dogs claim to be vaccinated, but many carry illnesses because of their puppy-mill origins.

A lot of puppy mills also inbreed, so your new puppy could have problems later in life. Why do you think pet stores don't offer refunds? They don't want to be responsible if a puppy dies from illness. On the other hand, most shelters will take back animals that their owners can't care for.

I have to agree that those cute little puppies and kitties in pet stores are hard to resist. I understand they need homes too. But thousands of others await a death sentence. Animals in shelters are just as cute as those in pet stores. When you adopt a shelter animal, you're saving a life. You're helping make room for the hundreds of animals that come to the shelters each day. I guess you could say that you're saving more than one life. Last year thousands of animals were placed in loving homes while thousands of others were put down due to lack of space. It is far better to adopt than to buy a pet.

Pet stores always have many customers. Animal shelters and humane societies, on the other hand, never get enough visitors. Shelters are always filled with animals waiting for someone like you to give them a forever home. The next time you are drawn to that cute puppy in the pet store window, think of all the dogs and cats euthanized each year because no one picks them. Think of the puppy mills that are hiding behind those pet store animals. Think of the money you'll save. Think of the life you'll save. Think “I can make a difference.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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hello said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 11:16 am:
that was the cutest thing i ever read.
 
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