You’ve probably heard the saying “Adopt, don’t shop” before. You also probably know that there is an animal shelter in your area as well as several pet stores. There might be a breeder or two in your area. When looking to add a new guinea pig or rabbit to your family you might be asking yourself “why should I adopt a pet?” Let’s discuss some reasons why a rescue pet can be a great choice for you!
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You’ll Be Helping An Animal In Need
Imagine this – you’re walking along a trail in the heat of summer, and you find thirteen guinea pigs in a cardboard box in the riverbed. You’d want to help, right?
While not all animals in rescues and shelters have this sad of a story, this is who you could be helping by adopting. Helping animals that are unwanted and in need is why rescues exist!
The guinea pigs in a cardboard box story is actually how two of my guinea pigs started out in life. And you better believe there’s no better feeling than knowing they’re happy and healthy in a loving home after going through that!
Your Pet Will be Vet Checked
All animals that go through a rescue or shelter are checked by a vet when they arrive. Any health issues are treated and will be disclosed to you when you are going through the adoption process. You can usually be pretty confident the animal is healthy. A lot of shelters also give you a voucher for a free vet visit.
Pet stores do not do this. Many breeders do not do this. It’s a common story that someone adopts a guinea pig from a pet store, and it has a respiratory infection. This means you either must pay for the animal to go to the vet and be treated right out of the gate of owning it or return it to the store.
There’s a lot of controversies I won’t get into here about what pet stores do with returned animals that are sick, but I can tell you that it’s usually not taken care of to the level it would be at a rescue.
You Won’t Be Supporting Backyard Breeders
When you adopt an animal from a rescue or shelter, you are also not putting money into the pocket of someone that is breeding their animals just for profit.
You’ve heard of puppy mills, right? Those are backyard breeders. They just breed their animals to sell the babies. They don’t pay attention to genetic problems or worry about things like temperament. A lot of times the sole goal is nice coloring and lots of babies. And money.
A great example of this is with the breeding of hamsters. More and more breeders that supply pet stores (…more on that in a second) have started breeding Brachy hamsters. Because they’re “cute.” Never mind the major health issues that result from this breeding that the owner is left dealing with. Unexpected health issues can result in animals getting left at shelters or even let go outside.
Of course, not all breeders are backyard breeders. There are plenty of ethical breeders as well, usually specializing in specific breeds of animals. Ethical breeders pay attention to what bloodlines they are working with, may breed for certain traits, and often socialize their animals
You Won’t Be Supporting Pet Stores
Hear me out here. One of the biggest problems with the big chain pet stores is that they sell animals that they do not sell appropriate products for.
Example: PetSmart sells guinea pigs but only ONE out of all the cages they currently sell targeted at guinea pigs (at the time of writing this) is a humane and appropriate size to house a guinea pig in.
Pet stores are just not keeping up with what the pet community knows to be proper care. And because of that, many animal lovers choose not to support the sales of animals.
Another note is many of them don’t use high-quality breeders for their animals. While you also aren’t going to have a complete history on the genes of a rescue pet, at least that is not monetarily supporting the breeding of animals that are bred for profit instead of quality.
I hope you’ll now consider rescuing the next time you want to add a new pet to your family! I’ve found it incredibly rewarding. It’s an amazing feeling watching an animal that had a rough start in life relax and settle into their new loving home.