Give an eco-gift this season idea 16: Buy a used dog

By Mary Rose Roberts
Being conscious when giving gifts is not always about staying away from Big Box stores, making a homemade gift or buying a recycled gift. It means shopping smart, especially if you plan to buy a dog for a loved one.

Before you purchase a new pet for a loved one, you first have to find out if they even want a dog. Next, you have to determine whether they will have the time to walk the dog before and after work and have someone available to let it out at lunch. Pets aren’t cheap, so they also must have the means to buy high-quality dog food that is meat, not corn-based, as well as pay for veterinarian bills.

When you go out to buy a dog, please skip the pet store. Oftentimes, pet stores sell puppies from puppy mills, which have been around for decades. Puppy mills house dogs in shockingly poor conditions and keep them in cages their entire life while they are forced to breed over and over. After their fertility wanes, breeding animals are often killed, abandoned or sold cheaply to another mill to try and get one more litter out of the dog. The annual result of all this breeding is millions of puppies, many with behavior or health problems.

Instead, go to your local humane society. That’s where I got my dog, Bella. I always joke that she is a chowdador. No, she’s not a special hybrid dog that costs $2,000. She’s just half labrador retriever, half chow and cost a lot less—around $70.

If you have a specific breed in mind, you can always Google it with the word “rescue” and find local shelters or rescues with that breed. You can get the dog you want, save it from certain death and get a great deal at the same time.

You can always luck out and get a great used dog from the humane society. Don’t spend the extra dollars. Don’t support puppy mills. And help give homes to special dogs like Bella.

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