A Letter To my Fellow 3Ls on Finding the One Who’s Right for You

Graduating means moving on to the next stage of life. This often includes commitment and settling down. In other words, you may find yourself fantasizing about getting a dog.

If so, I have a tip on the best way to find your best friend: adopt.

If you like online dating, you can find a cute, friendly, adoptable animal on Petfinder.com. To recreate the Tinder experience, use the Petfinder app. Or, if you prefer the bar scene, you can swing by your local shelter to scope out the crowd. (Around here, try the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.)

Adopting lets you save a life. Shelters have fun, playful, clever animals who need a home, just waiting for you.

As you probably know, dogs sold at pet stores come from cruel puppy mills. Puppy mills keep dogs in dirty, overcrowded cages, force female dogs to give birth repeatedly, and often deny the animals vet care.

Even dogs from expensive breeders suffer health problems as a result of inbreeding. Mutts are healthier than purebreds on average. If it is problematic for us to have babies with our relatives, isn’t it problematic to force dogs to have babies with their relatives? Plus, doesn’t the notion of calling someone’s lineage “pure” disgust you a little? That said, if you feel set on a particular breed, you’re in luck—you can find a dog of any breed to adopt! Shelters often have purebreds, and virtually every breed has a breed rescue network that you can find online.

Another benefit of adopting is that adoption will let you get a calm, house-trained, adult dog, who has stopped chewing furniture. A puppy demands near-constant attention. Imagine trying to provide all the affection, stimulation, and training a puppy needs while also starting your legal career! That said, if you do want a puppy, shelters have tons of puppies, too. Just select “baby” on Petfinder.

We have an animal overpopulation crisis. As a nation, we keep buying dogs and then losing interest or deciding that we cannot care for them. Other times, we fail to spay and neuter, so that our dogs mate with one another, and then we decide that we cannot care for the babies. So these sweet animals, bred over centuries to crave human companionship, end up in shelters or homeless. At this point, every new dog bred means one extra dog sitting alone in a shelter, waiting for someone to love her.

So go love her.