Animal advocates will tell you firmly that you should never buy a dog from a breeder or a pet store. Why? There are between 6 and 8 million new dogs and cats admitted to shelters each year, and sadly, 3 to 4 million of them are euthanized [source: Humane Society].
On the bright side, the other 3 to 4 million are adopted by families looking for a loyal and loving new member. Rescued pets can be great additions to your family and you can teach your children a valuable lesson in helping to take care of those that need it. You might literally be saving a dog from certain death when you adopt from a shelter. And if you're into specific breeds, take heart in knowing that 25 percent of dogs available in shelters are pure bred.
There are usually a few nominal fees associated with adopting from a shelter. Many people who adopt from shelters continue to support them through donations after witnessing the work being done.