Our pets live in foster homes, so we know a great deal about them before they come to you. They’ve been spayed and neutered, vaccinated for common diseases, and vaccinated for rabies. Our dogs have also been microchipped. Any known medical issues are addressed before they are adopted.
Independent rescue groups like HEART get many of their pets as transfers from area shelters. Many of them also function as an alternative to shelters, accepting some owner surrendered pets. By adopting your pet, you are helping make space for another animal in need. Shelters and rescue groups can only help animals for which they have space.
Ultimately, it is less expensive to adopt your pet than buy your pet from another source. When you buy your pet, you have to cover the cost of vaccinations, dewormings, spaying/neutering, and other medical issues- costs above and beyond the sale price of the puppy/dog or kitten/cat.
People often enjoy telling the story of their adopted pet. While most pets have simply ended in rescue because of unfortunate circumstances, some have had very challenging backgrounds that are interesting and provide a starting point for conversations and discussions.
Finally, by adopting your pet you are not supporting puppy mills and backyard breeders. Never buy a pet from a pet store, off the internet, or from someone who will not permit you to see where the pet was raised and allow you to meet both parents (at minimum the mother). Beware of ads in the newspaper, since many breeders use more than one location to breed their pets and sell their pets. Unfortunately, we have puppy mills right here in the Triangle and surrounding counties. They are not limited to other states or more rural counties! You can not identify a puppy mill owner by their behavior. Many are act as friendly and kind as you and I, but they hide a terrible secret. The only way to know a reputable breeder is to have vet references, see where the animals were raised, meet at least the mother, and WALK AWAY if things look dirty, the animals are afraid of you, the animals appear sick, or there seem to be an incredible number of pure and mixed breed pets available at the same location. Then report the breeder to authorities for investigation.
Pets bought from a pet store come from large commercial breeders, also known as puppy mills. Pure bred kittens sold at pet stores come from similar facilities. The conditions of these facilities are inhumane for the unfortunate breeding adult parents. No legitimate breeder with any thought for the future welfare of their puppies or kittens, would ever sell their puppies or kittens to a pet store for them to re-sell. Most pet stores will tell you with an honest face that THEIR puppies don’t come from a puppy mill. But you have to ask yourself, how can a store have puppies of all breeds and sizes available at all times? Where do the puppies come from? When you look up the breeder online, how much can you really learn about them? Can you visit the facility yourself, should you wish to? There are online resources available where you can look up a puppies AKC registration number to find out where the puppy REALLY came from. Do not think for a second that AKC paperwork is worth anything more than the paper it was printed on. It means nothing as far as the health and status of the puppy are concerned. It simply means the breeder had a male and female dog in their home that had papers. You cannot even be certain the parents listed are, indeed, the parents of the puppy for sale!
Pets bought from a backyard breeder are not bred for the love of the breed or with care and thought for who purchases the puppy. The breeders do not follow their puppies to the end of their lives. They do not document genetic diseases that have shown up in the lines of their breeding pair. They do not follow the overall health of their puppies throughout their lives. They sell puppies purely for profit. A legitimate breeder will require a full and complete application and contract on any animal they sell. Their contract will include a return clause which states that should you not be able to keep the dog in the future, you may return it to the breeder. A legitimate breeder is interested in the future health of any puppy the sell and, therefore, will require the puppy be spayed or neutered as a part of their contract. The pet will also have full medical records that have been clearly written and they will have a veterinarian reference available, should you ask. For more information about puppy mills, please go here.
Remember, 25% of the dogs in shelters are purebred. For every breed of pet, there is a rescue organization ready to help you find your new best friend. Please look at our Helpful Links section for more about other rescue organizations!
Millions of cats are euthanized every day in American shelters! Think about that; millions, literally. Millions more live hopeless lives in feral (wild) colonies where they are prey to predators, sick humans who use them for target practice, and passing vehicles. Cats can fair better than dogs in the wild, but they live miserable lives full of pain and suffering.
By adopting your cat, rather than buying from a breeder, you are helping a cat that lost its last home for some reason. The only chance most of these cats have for a better life is adoption. Their alternative is death by euthanasia within the shelter.
We do not pressure people to adopt OUR cats. We know that adopting a pet is a personal decision and that sometimes it takes a while to find “The One”. We encourage everyone looking for their next cat to think long and deeply about the consequences to our society as a whole when buying their next pet. With hundreds of healthy cats available for adoption in local shelters, why buy? Because it is a specific breed? There are breed rescues, even for cats. 25% of cats in shelters are a specific breed. Look to the shelters and rescue groups first.