Q. From whom should I get my puppy? The local shelter, my neighbor, a breeder, or a pet supply store?

A. Many people believe that it is better to get a puppy from a reliable breeder. While there are benefits to this, there are benefits to some of the other available options as well. A reliable breeder will introduce you to the puppy's mother and will allow you to see the environment in which the mother and her puppies live. Often, breeders will also supply background genetic and familial information, so you will know what to expect for your puppy's future health and temperament. The same can be true for a well-known neighbor with whom you are friendly and familiar with his or her dog.

Alternatively, you can find a puppy in need of a warm and stable home at your local shelter. Here, the benefit is in knowing that you are supporting a worthy service, as you save the life of a dog that would not have had a chance without you.

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A. The best place to start is do some research on the type of puppy you would like to adopt. If you have a specific breed in mind then you begin searching shelters, foster organizations or utilizing web sites such as to find a puppy or dog that fits your lifestyle. Adoption is strongly encouraged because it is wonderful to give an unwanted dog a forever home. The ASPCA reports that approximately 3.9 million dogs and cats enter shelters every year. Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted and 31% are euthanized. This staggering statistic for euthanasia is due to the fact that shelters have limited space for the volume of animals that need homes. In addition, most shelters only request a small adoption fee and fully vaccinate and spay/neuter their animals prior to adoption. For those individuals that truly have their heart set on a specific breed and want to know the genetic background of their new puppy then a breeder could be a route to explore. Make sure you do your research and find a reputable breeder that permits you to visit the environment the puppies are house in prior to being purchased.

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