Adopt Don’t Shop: Saving Those in Need or An Unattainable Task?

Deandra Spaniolo


Im sure you’ve heard the saying “adopt don’t shop” many times before. Dakota itself has posters singing its praise plastered on its very walls, but have you ever considered that adopting is easier said than done? 


This past month, my family and I decided it was time to add another member to the Spaniolo household. We had been dancing around the idea for a while, but the coming of the new year was just the nudge we needed. I had some free time in class and decided to check out the Humane Society of Macomb’s website. I had also seen Alyssa Taugher’s stories on adoptable dogs, so I knew they were a reputable source. After endlessly searching through an array of animals looking for a home, one stood out to me like no other. Her name is Bonnie. She’s a beautiful pit-bull mix who was rescued from a puppy mill. Despite her being merely a year old, she had already been forced to have a litter of puppies. This had absolutely broken my heart and I knew my family could give her the life she deserved after all she had been through.  


On that Saturday, the whole family was up bright and early to go see Bonnie as soon as the Humane Society was open for the day. When we got there, the ladies at the desk were excited we had come to see her but had to inform us that she had kennel cough. We weren’t going to let that stop us. Treatment would take about 10 days and we had to change our clothes before touching our own dog, but we didn’t mind. As soon as I saw her face, I fell in love. I wanted nothing more but for her to come home with us. Sadly, we still had to wait for her treatment to finish up, paperwork had to be filled out, and she had to meet our dog Stitch all before coming home. 


Fast forward to over a week later and Bonnie is out of treatment. While my sister and I were at school, my parents took Stitch to meet her. When the two were outside, they had lots of fun together and got along pretty well. Stitch was a little nervous because Bonnie is two times bigger than him, but that was to be expected. Once they brought the two inside, however, Stitch got tense because it too closely resembled the vet. The ladies that worked there expressed their concern for the safety of both dogs and felt uncomfortable letting her come home with us but offered a makeup day to try again. That day is today. In my heart, I know she won’t be coming home with us. I do know that she’ll go to a good home, though. Im upset we didn’t meet the requirements and I wonder what we could have done differently. This then begs the question, if everyone should adopt and not shop, why is it so difficult to do?  Start a conversation, I want to know your opinion!