I also live in the Northeast — I don’t have my own dog but always had them growing up, two that we adopted (one from a classified ad, one a family friend who couldn’t keep the dog) and later two from a reputable local breeder. The first dog we got, we tried really hard to go the shelter route but there really are just not a ton of dogs in shelters around here. Looking for one was a pretty miserable experience for my parents: finally finding a youngish, healthy-ish dog in a shelter, telling the kids about it, driving straight over to the shelter only to find out that someone had gotten there first and adopted it. (I was seven and wanted a dog *so badly*, there was lots of sobbing). Certainly not saying anyone should skip trying to find a dog in a shelter altogether, but I get why it’s appealing to just get one from a breeder.