Adopt Don’t Shop: Rescue Reality

I have spent countless hours and money on my rescue pets. There’s a whole conversation going on revolving around the hashtag, #adoptdontshop and while I am fully in support of people adopting animals I also understand that this is not a realistic expectation to hold every pet owner to. It can’t be an us vs. them conversation. Those who adopt vs. those who don’t adopt. What matters, ultimately, is the life of the dog. Caring for another being besides yourself. is incredibly humbling and every dog deserves their best chance at a good life.

For us, it was never an option to look into ‘buying’ a dog. It was always going to be a rescue. While rescuing a dog looks really good on your part as a human and makes you feel good about yourself that you’re giving a home to a deserving dog — it’s hard f***in’ work.


This is not meant to scare people off from going to a rescue and bringing home a dog. This is meant to make yourself have the honest conversation, which is, “Am I willing and ready to make the sacrifices needed in order to give this dog the best life possible?”

We have made sacrifices financially, done hours of training, and cut trips short because of the dog. There’s been numerous vet appointments, issues with other dogs/dog owners, and paying more in rent because we had a dog. We’ve had to deal with his hyperactivity, deal with behavioral issues…the list goes on.

It’s sacrifices like if I’ve been at work all day, I won’t make plans that evening so that I can be home with my dog. I’ll only go to places that allow me to bring my dog and knowing that when I get there we might have to leave early if he’s misbehaving or being reactive towards other dogs. It’s knowing that we could have set plans, but have change them to come home to the dog. Finally, it’s understanding that by taking in a rescue I don’t know his past to explain why he behaves the way he does. As an owner, I have to get to know my rescue dog as best I can and understand his limitations.

Sometimes I can’t take him to restaurants or we have to cross the street every time we see someone coming with another dog. I can’t take him to certain people’s houses because he doesn’t get along with their dogs. I understand that he has limitations. However, by looking at someone else’s dog envying their behavior won’t change how my dog behaves.


Rescuing has a bad wrap, especially if the dog is older. Things like, ‘he/she could be aggressive’! ‘What if he/she was abused and he/she will lash out at me’? Or, ‘I don’t want a reactive dog and they don’t know the past of this dog’. Yes, these doubts are valid, but you have to see the flip side. Rescuing is such a beautiful act for an animal. To take an animal that has either once had or never had a loving home and give them the best life is a rewarding feeling that cannot be matched.

When you leave the shelter, you are making a commitment to that dog. Whatever baggage come with, you are prepared to take that on and work on it with them for their lifetime. Sometimes you won’t be able to go out with friends because you haven’t been home to give your dog attention. Trips are infinitely more expensive because you need to board your dog at a facility that you trust. Plans will change in the moment. If you take your dog somewhere and they can’t handle the situation, you’ll need to remove them from it. Housing can prove challenging as renting with a dog is incredibly difficult and more expensive than without.

So while there are certainly moments of frustration, what they say is true: “Life is always better with a dog.”

(Which, we agree with so much, we got a second dog in 2020!)


Rescue Shelters We Love:

Westside German Shepherd Rescue

Santa Barbara Humane Society


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