Deciding to get a pet is one of the biggest life decisions you can make. They require years of training and care and can be an expensive addition to a household. However, the joy they can bring far outweighs the time and effort they need, so if you can financially and physically cope with one, it is definitely worth looking into.
The biggest question once you have decided upon the type of animal you want is whether or not you get it from a rescue center or a reputable breeder. Both options have pros and cons that will be elaborated on below.
- You can get the animal a few weeks after birth.
This can be considered a positive as the animal is a blank canvas – they can be trained to suit your needs and habits (e.g. frequency of walks, tricks, feeding times), and you get to bond with them almost right away.
- You should be able to meet their parents.
Any good breeder will allow you to meet the parents of the potential pet so you can see the temperament of the animals, how the pet is likely to look fully grown, and how well cared for the parent animals are (ensuring that they aren’t just used for breeding purposes) as well as see the clear lineage in purebreds.
- You will be able to apply for Purebred status.
If applicable, buying from a breeder can enable you to have a purebred animal. This entitles you and your pet to a certificate listing their name, breed, and lineage, and if they are a dog, to be a part of the prestigious Kennel Club.
- The animal is untrained.
On the flip side, having an untrained pet equals more time, effort, and possibly expense as you will need to toilet-train them, teach them tricks/commands, obedience classes, and anything else you wish them to learn. They also may need to be spayed/neutered.
- Buying directly from a breeder can be expensive.
Breeders can charge hundreds to thousands of pounds for animals, especially if the animal is purebred. This is only the initial cost and will not cover insurance, vet bills, immunizations, food, etc.
- Not all breeders are trustworthy.
Many breeders are legitimate and will only breed for the sake of lineage, but others are only in it for the money and don’t take good care of their animals. The litters stemming from bad breeders will often have many health and behavioral issues, and it is something to watch out for. If you suspect a breeder of bad conduct, do report them to your local animal welfare charity.
- There are plenty of animals needing homes.
Rescue centers are often stretched to capacity with animals who have been surrendered or abandoned and getting to rehome one of them is one of the greatest things you can do as an animal lover. ‘Adopt don’t shop’ is a popular slogan used by animal activists.
- The center will match the animal to you.
You are more likely to get an animal that suits your personality and lifestyle if you go to a rescue center. The staff work with the animal’s best interests at heart and will prioritize their needs and match them to yours so that the chance of a successful rehoming is as high as possible. The staff will also inform you of any medical or behavioral issues beforehand so you are fully prepared.
- It is a much cheaper option.
Rescues often allow people to adopt at a low cost and include a month of insurance, the option to neuter/spay if it hasn’t been done already, and the staff is there to support you on your adoption journey with any questions or concerns you may have.
- Animals are most likely already trained.
Considering most animals are surrendered or abandoned as adults, many of them will be trained in some capacity already. The center will also work with the animals to teach them tricks/commands, toilet-train, and obedience during their stay so that you have much less work to put in.
- You have the option to adopt an animal of any age
Though many prefer to adopt animals when they are young, you have the choice of adopting an older or senior animal to make their twilight years happier. It is a lovely thing to do for a rescue pet, so if you are prepared to take on an older animal, do consider it.
- Animals can often be traumatized by their past experiences.
If an animal has ended up at a rescue center, they will often have memories of either abandonment, ill-treatment, or simply missing their old owners. This can result in behavioral issues that the center cannot fix in the period that they are staying with them, so you may have to put in some extra effort and affection to help your new pet to adjust.
- Adopting the animal you want isn’t guaranteed.
Unlike a breeder, you must apply to adopt an animal and then wait to hear if your application has been successful. In most cases, it will be, but you may miss out on the animal you want most if the center thinks someone else is better suited or they had a high volume of applicants. In these cases, the center can try to find you another pet more suited or just as suitable.
Hopefully, you have found the above lists to be helpful, and whatever you decide to do, good luck with your soon-to-be new pet!