Perhaps you noticed your newsfeed today is filled with photos of adorable puppies. Or perhaps you are like me and you have made it so that your newsfeed is always filled with adorable puppies (in all fairness, watching puppy videos has been proven to be good for your health, so that just science right there). Either way, the reason for said adorable puppy photos is that today is one of the best days of the entire year (right up there with National Margarita Day. Today is National Puppy Day!
National Puppy Day is a day meant to celebrate the cutest little things on the planet. But it is also a day to encourage animal adoption, and educate the public about the importance of spaying and neutering to reduce the overpopulation of unwanted pets and to spread awareness about some the issues surrounding puppy mills.
The ASPCA estimates that there could be as many as 10,000 puppy mills or backyard breeders in the U.S. Most dogs found in pet stores come from these puppy mills. The bad thing about these types of operations is that profit is often prioritized over the well-being of the dogs. They usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization. And, in order to maximize profits, female dogs are bred at every opportunity with very little regard to recovery time between litters or genetic quality, so puppies are often prone to congenital and hereditary conditions.
The puppies themselves are usually taken away from their mothers and littermates too early, losing valuable time to develop social skills, which can lead to fear, anxiety and other behavioral problems. And because of the conditions at the mills the puppies often arrive at pet stores with diseases or other ailments ranging from parasites to pneumonia.
All pretty horrible, right? Well, it really doesn’t have to be. If you are looking for a new puppy, you don’t have to buy from a pet store or a backyard breeder. You have some other options:
Adopt. Obviously the point of National Puppy Day is to encourage adoption. So definitely look for a puppy at your local shelter or rescue. Your local SPCA is a good start, but there are lituuuuurly TONS (and yes, I do realize that is not the correct spelling, doing it for emphasis, people!).
Buy from a responsible breeder. If you are determined to buy, make sure to buy from a responsible breeder. Responsible breeders will never sell a puppy through a pet store (they want to screen potential buyers to make sure the puppies are going to good homes). They have a limited number of litters per year, they care for their animals like their own, and they help keep bloodlines pure. Finding a responsible breeder does require a little bit of homework, below are some things to look for:
- They should be licensed by the city and the state
- They should have a good reputation
- Make sure they do not have any Better Business Bureau complaints or lawsuits
- They should have valid customer testimonials
- They should present a health certificate for their puppies from a reputable vet and there should not have signs of illness with their puppies
Look out for:
- Bad odor/unhealthy conditions in the kennel
- Unwillingness to allow you to see the puppy’s mother and father
- Puppies with weepy eyes and overall lethargy
- A puppy that shows no interest in interacting with people
- A skinny puppy
- A limping puppy
And, if you’re not looking for a new puppy, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate.
- Donate money, food, or toys to your local shelter
- Host a community event to raise money for your local animal shelter
- Volunteer at your local shelter and offer to walk a puppy or play with a puppy, clean cages or anything else they need help with
- By your puppy a fun, new puppy toy
- Or, my personal favorite, have a puppy party and invite all your friends and their puppies (I’ll be patiently waiting for my invitation)
There are also a ton of companies that you can make a purchase from that are giving back to the animals. Below are just a handful:
For every order purchased at Wolf Pack Supply, they donate one pound of dog food to a dog in need. Every month the company chooses a new shelter or animal rescue to receive the donation. Their leashes are made from rock climbing rope, making them some of the most durable leashes out there, they’re assembled here in the U.S. and come with a lifetime warranty. Their signature items are leashes, but they also carry tees and other accessories, too (koozie, anyone?).
Make a purchase from Fetch Eyewear and you will be getting a rad pair of glasses — readers, prescription or sun, your choice — and be giving back to a great cause. Fetch donates 100% of their profits to the Pixie Project, which is an animal rescue and shelter working to improve animal welfare through rescue, veterinary care and education. Because Pixie Project, which was named by Huffington Post as one of the top nonprofits that will help shape the next decade, believes no rescue group can do it alone and thus they partner with county shelters from across the U.S. to give animals a second chance at a forever home.
n:Philanthropy is a fashion company that also happens to give a damn. The company, which carries high fashion apparel donates 10% of their profits to SPCLA and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Hendrick & Co. sells apparel and accessories for men, women and dogs to support animal rescues, shelters and sanctuaries. With every shirt, hoodie, bracelet or dog accessory purchased, Hendrick & Co. delivers a $10 donation to save animals. Hendrick & Co. focuses on animals who have fallen victim to severe abuse, neglect, torture and abandonment, and helps to save them by providing funding for life-saving surgeries, procedures and ongoing rehabilitative care for animals who have faced abuse, neglect and medical trauma. Since it’s inception, the company has partnered with over 600 shelters across the U.S. and has donated more than $1 million to help animals.
I Heart dogs believes that all dogs matter. And through their partnership with Rescue Bank, they also make sure that every purchase from I Heart Dogs matters — with each purchase going to help feed or help a shelter dog. The company sells everything from apparel to wine glasses to dog toys, and lets you know your impact by telling you how many animals your purchase feeds.
Arm the Animals was created to be a living tribute to the founder’s sister who, before her untimely death, was a lifelong animal advocate and pet parent. The company, which is rooted in punk-rock activism, humor and progressive pop culture, provides fashionable apparel and accessories for every kind of animal activist — from rescue parents to wildlife lovers. Since their founding in 2010, the company has worked with over 100 different animal welfare organizations in various ways, and is always looking for ways to expand their impact.
Rescue Project is a non-profit organization on a mission to spread awareness for animal adoption and rescue awareness through outdoor adventure and sport. They hope to inspire others to share their active lifestyles and enthusiasms — whether that be cycling, running or other outdoor adventure sports — with their fur babies and engage those active communities to support rescue efforts by selling everything from tees to cycling jerseys to dog collars. They donate at least 25% (up to 45%) of every sale s to rescue organizations around the world, and when you make a purchase, you have the option to indicate the animal rescue of your choice.