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Reasons to Adopt Not Shop: Where to find a pet in Miami and Beyond. 

Reasons to Adopt Not Shop: Where to find a pet in Miami and Beyond.  

You hear it all the time: adopt, don’t shop! So, you’re heeding the call but need help. First, some thoughts on adopting and shopping are conflicting at minimum so let’s clarify what the views are here so we are on the same page at least within this article. Some adoptable pets should be considered with this in mind: 

  • Litter Adoption can be a purebred bought from a Breeder (we’ll explain why later) or a mixed breed accidental litter. 
  • A Stray Adoption is an animal you find and can’t locate the owner so it is considered adoptable for whomever you find to care for it or it can be relinquished to a rescue or shelter to help find a home. 
  • An animal you find at a Facility that cares for “homeless dogs” “found or surrendered by the owner or finder” is considered an adoption. 

Buying a puppy or kitten from a pet store that solely is in business to sell mass produced purebred puppies or designer mutts and purebred kittens or other mass produced animals is not ever considered adoption. Any animal produced in masses, in a facility where there is no ‘one-on-one’ owner, that loves each and every one of the named dog/kitty parents is called a “MILL” and is not considered an adoption nor will it ever be considered a rescue.

If the authorities raid the “mill” and remove the animals from kennels and cages to give them the life they deserve, these poor pets will then be considered the most grateful adoptions. 

Five Reasons to Adopt, Not Shop for Pets in Miami

  1. First and foremost, you’ll be saving a life. Purchasing a dog from a puppy mill (those stores in strip malls come to mind) will just be perpetuating the cycle of abusive breeding. You’ll also be preventing a dog or cat from being euthanized. This alone is reason enough.
  2. You’ll get a great pet. Many amazing pets await at rescues and shelters. They’re healthy, happy, and just need a loving home. You can even find purebred dogs, if you’re looking for particular qualities in your pet.
  3. You can get an adult, trained dog. Adult dogs are often easier to take care of- no need to let puppies out at odd hours of the night and then potty train.
  4. You help stop pet overpopulation. There are too many stray dogs and cats breeding in the street and living sad lives. Adopting spayed or neutered pets is one way to stop this.
  5. You pay less (more on this below). 

Locating an adoptable pet in Miami:

Social media is a great outlet to look around at adoptable pets. Local shelters are facilities that take in strays, and sadly, unwanted animals. Rescue groups intentionally stay on a list with most shelters and when an animal is surrendered to the temporary shelter. The rescues that fit that said breed, size, or type of pet will put a rescue hold on the pet and go pick it up to get the veterinary care it needs. Those pets, when deemed healthy, will be housed or foster parents will take them and assess them for behavior and their social ability with humans and  other animals. They care for them and once they are assessed and healthy and they have a feel for their personality, they are adopted out by the rescue group for a fee. 

Some of the rescues we have been fortunate enough to get to know around Miami have great reputations. Some prefer one breed or size over another and the shelters know which specific rescue group to match them up to. Surrendered animals in need of urgent care are matched with rescues they know have funding to help the animals and then find them good homes in the same manner. 

If you’re looking to adopt, please don’t shop. Miami Dade Animal Services is a great place to start. Humane Society of Greater Miami also is a great asset for adoptions. They match you with homeless pets by using an adoption counselor that knows the pets in the facility and can find one that may meet your thoughts and lifestyle. Check social media in Miami or your area and even out of the area. There are transport groups that will bring a pet if you feel it’s the right one for you!

Should you buy a dog from a breeder?

If you’re looking for a specific breed, and haven’t been able to locate a rescue, consider a well-investigated, non-commercial breeder where the mom is on site, in their home, and their loved pet, show dog, or quality pet and the father is in the same situation. The pups’ home should be based around loving care and good breeding practices, and the litter and the parents should have proper veterinary care prior to adoption. If the breeder won’t allow you on site prior to adoption, move on. That is a red flag. Reputable pet parents will always invite you to meet them and they want to meet you as well. A thorough veterinary report during the growth phase leading to adoption should be available. Vaccinations and booster, deworming, and proper checkups are necessary or that’s another red flag!

Should you pay if you’re adopting or rescuing a dog or cat?

A lot of people wonder why they must pay an adoption fee from a rescue or shelter. The idea is to save a life and maybe also a little money. We’ll get into why rescues and shelters might charge for their pets, but remember, you’ll be paying well for a reputable breeder and choosing one over the other is not a fault in your decision. 

There are many good reasons rescues and shelters might charge what seems like a high fee to adopt a dog. Remember these reasons:

  1. Your fee acts as a donation to help support all of the animals in the rescue/shelter group. It is a small fee compared to purchasing pet from, say, a disreputable breeder. 
  2. This fee covers the cost of your pet’s stay with the shelter. That includes:
    • Medical care
    • Food
    • Transport
  3. You often save money even when paying an adoption fee, as shelters/rescues provide a lot of initial veterinary costs prior to adoption. This can include:
    • Veterinary wellness visit and exam $50-100
    • Spaying or neutering $150-300
    • Distemper vaccination $20-30×2
    • Rabies vaccination $15-25
    • Heartworm test (for dogs) $15-35
    • Feline Leukemia/FIV test (for cats) $30-50
    • Flea/tick treatment $50-200
    • Microchip $50
    • Deworming $20-50
    • Collar and an identification tag $5-10

Great dog and cat rescues in Miami:

We’re lucky to have really dedicated rescues and shelters in Miami-Dade. Some of the favorite dog and cat rescues in Miami include:

Petco Foundation

Miami-Dade Animal Services

Humane Society of Greater Miami


Paw Patrol Animal Rescue

The Cat Network

Furever Saved

This Is the Dog


We wish you luck in finding the perfect pet for your home. We’re so glad you’ve chosen to adopt or at least purchase from a reputable, ethical breeder who cares about their animals. We’re always happy to answer questions or help with your future pet’s care. Contact us for loving pet care for your new family member! 

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