Northern Star




Northern Star

Northern Illinois University’s student news organization since 1899


Ensure student journalism survives. Donate today.

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Adopt dogs responsibly

Christa Kim
A pug looks up sadly beside the words “this man cannot breathe, society has wronged him.” As pet-owners, it’s our responsibility to adopt ethically. (Christa Kim | Northern Star)

When it comes to choosing pets, it is important to know where they come from. Avoid adopting purebred dogs and instead adopt from shelters.

When you buy from a pet store or online seller, you are more than likely getting your dog from a puppy mill. Puppy mills are a kind of dog breeding factory, where the people behind it value money over the dogs’ well-being by selling dogs to pet stores and uneducated consumers through online ads, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Keri Burchfield, a sociology professor at NIU, says there are certain things you should be aware of when adopting dogs.

“It’s not something that you should do just because you like the way a dog looks,” Burchfield said. “I mean, a dog is a living, breathing, sentient being, and they deserve more than just being cute, or being able to, you know, fit in our purse. They’re gonna be with you for 10 to 15 years. And I just think the right thing to do is to think about what’s best for them as well.”

Purebred dogs often have a host of health issues, in part due to inbreeding – the mating of two organisms who are closely related, according to BBC Earth.  

Purebred dogs are created to get desirable traits, like pugs, which have squished-in faces, and bull terriers, an admittedly weird-looking dog that got its face most likely due to selective breeding.

Over the years, breeding has changed the physical features of dogs. 

Few breeds have suffered more from breeding than the English bulldog. In 1835, English bulldogs had normal snouts; however, by 1915, they had squished snouts that hinder their ability to breathe, according to Business Insider.

“When they’re (pet-owners) looking for a responsible breeder, you know, they should maybe talk to a veterinarian, talk to other people who have bought dogs from this breeder, the breeder should always be able to show you, the mother and the father of the litter,” Burchfield said. “If they don’t, that’s a red flag. So you should always inquire about the parents. There should be papers on, you know, some breeds, now breeders are selectively breeding out certain health problems.” 

It’s inhumane to keep breeding dogs to get specific looks out of them if it causes problems and disabilities. It’s also your duty as a responsible pet owner to adopt from reputable and safe places.

Some reputable dog shelters near DeKalb are the Tails Humane Society, which cares for over 2,500 pets every year, and The Barn On the Baseline, which has helped dogs and other pets find their forever home for over 40 years.

More to Discover