You shouldn’t have to “justify” buying a dog from a breeder

You shouldn’t have to “justify” buying a dog from a breeder to judgmental people who don’t know you or why you made that decision.

UGH. I’ve only had my 9 week-old Golden Retriever puppy for 5 days now and I’ve already received SO many side-eyes and judgmental little comments when people ask me where I got her. Even though I know I don’t have to explain myself, part of me feels like I should, because the “adopt don’t shop” mentality is so prevalent and I don’t want people to think I’m a bad person.

Golden Retriever

But you know what? The circumstances that led me to getting my little golden girl from a breeder are traumatic as fuck and I don’t want to relive them every time someone asks an open-ended question about why I didn’t adopt a dog in that tone of voice.

Because you see, Reddit, I originally planned to adopt. I drove for a full day to the rescue organization that fostered my family’s last three dogs (Vizslas). I was going to adopt a 4 year-old female Vizsla who had been rescued from an Amish puppy mill along with five other breeding females. I spent a whole day with her and her foster dad so that she could get to know me. And then the next day on the drive home, at the first rest stop/pee break, she bit the shit out of my traveling companion’s arm, went for his face, bucked out of her harness and started running away from me. We tried to catch her, other people stopped their cars and tried to help us, but she kept running away.

To get away from me, she ran across four lanes of interstate traffic (speed limit 75mph). Vizslas are fast. She made it. But I wouldn’t wish that sight on my worst enemy. I had a full-on panic attack.

It’s been almost three weeks since that day and while she’s been spotted, she hasn’t been captured yet. When (please God) she’s caught, she’s going to live with her foster dad for the rest of her life, since she bonded to him so strongly after she got out of the puppy mill. One of the other dogs who was rescued with her also ran away from her new family, and another had to be rehomed to live with a dog trainer because of her severe behavioral issues.

I couldn’t go back to my apartment to stare at an empty crate and I couldn’t (and can’t right now, to be honest) think about adopting another rescue after that experience. So I contacted a reputable breeder, chose my girl over a FaceTime call, and finally brought her home last Saturday.

That’s why I bought my puppy from a breeder. Everyone who makes that decision has their own reasons. Maybe you need a hypoallergenic dog! Maybe you have very young children or other animals and would rather bring home a dog that’s a “known quantity.” Maybe you want to train a puppy to be a show dog, or a therapy dog, or a service dog.

Adopting a dog and giving them a second chance at life is a wonderful, beautiful thing to do, but it’s not something that everyone can do. At the end of the day, if you have a dog, it’s because you love dogs — you love dogs just as much as the person who’s judging you for your decision.

ETA: Thank you for the gold!!! I love this community so much and it’s so reassuring to see everybody commenting about their experiences with this kind of thing too. Also, I just realized that my girl is 9 weeks old today, so I updated her age. Here’s the puppy tax I forgot in the initial post (her expression = how she feels about people being shamed for getting dogs from breeders).

ETA #2: Wow, this really blew up. It’s sad that so many of us who’ve bought pups from breeders have had similar experiences being judged by diehard “adopt don’t shop” people. Everybody’s stories in the comments really drive home the fact that adoption just isn’t feasible for some people and that’s okay. Also, I went into this in a few comments, but I realize I got INCREDIBLY LUCKY to get my girl in such a short amount of time from a reputable breeder. After the horrible incident with the dog I was trying to adopt, I knew I wanted a Golden Retriever puppy.

Since I was driving back to DC from MO, my mother cold-called all the AKC-registered breeders in VA and NC to see if they had any pups available. She found a breeder in NC who had a few female dogs available because it was an all-girl litter and some of the people with reservations wanted boys. Because she’s amazing, she drove to the breeder, met him and toured the facilities, met the AKC-registered dam and sire), gave him my references, and then FaceTimed me with the puppies so I could choose one. It sounds a little hokey, but I think the universe realized that I’d been through something horrible and needed a puppy quickly, without months/a year on a waiting list.

Dr Bryan Goodchild,” has spent his life working toward better health for pets and the people who love them. He is the founder of , which works to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them.

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