I don’t normally get passionate about many issues. I recognize that there are two (or three) sides to many arguments and I don’t believe I have the right to tell someone what to believe or what’s right. Just because I may think something is important, doesn’t mean it is to someone else. So, mostly I keep my mouth shut and take lots of pictures while daydreaming about life.
And yet, today I was confronted with a situation that made me want to speak out.
I volunteered to transport a pup from a van where she had been driven from Oklahoma to her foster home. This dog was incredibly sweet. She took treats from me, looked up at me for feedback (more then my own dog does!), let me put a harness on her, and followed me into my car. During the car drive she was pretty confident, with only a few whimpers. She tried to cuddle with me when she was upset, pulling on her harness as far as she could, so that she could almost put her head on my lap. Her fur was puppy soft and as I stroked it, she would stop whimpering.
This is what she looked like, from above:
She was totally starved. I could count every single one of her ribs. She had tits hanging down, as she’d given birth to a load of puppies. This, given the fact that she was clearly a puppy herself. I believe only one or two of the puppies survived.
Want to see another picture?
I always thought strays were “dirty dogs”–they had rabies or were aggressive. Growing up you always hear: “Stay Away From Stray Dogs!” And while you should do that on a daily basis, as you don’t know strays, this dog was a clear example of a malnourished and neglected dog who would be so happy in a family. The fact that an innocent and loving dog like her could starve on the streets, while millions of others languish in shelters, and meanwhile people are paying thousands of dollars for a purebred dog….it just doesn’t make sense to me.
But I know people have their reasons. Here are some I have heard, and my thoughts on them.
“I want to know what my dog will be like.” So, get her from a rescue organization that puts their dogs in foster care. You will get a detailed report of exactly what the dog is like. Plus, if you get an older dog, you will also have a good idea of their temperament upon adoption. No surprises. Also, it goes without saying that purebreds do not always meet the requirements/temperaments for their breed. For example, I saw a purebred Bernese Mountain Dog today that was 150 pounds. They are supposed to be between 90-120.
“I want to raise a dog from a puppy.” Half the dogs I saw transported today were puppies. Puppies go much faster then older dogs from shelters but you can definitely adopt a puppy. And Cesar Milan has a detailed list of how to determine the temperament of a puppy.
“I want to know my dogs history.” True, you won’t know your dogs history. But, generally, mutts are healthier anyways.
“I need a hypo-allergenic dog because of my allergies.” ONE reason to purchase a dog from a breeder. But I am almost tempted to say: If you are allergic to dogs, don’t get a dog rather then a designer one?! However, I know that is quite critical of me and not necessarily right.
Other reasons to purchase a dog from a breeder.
1. You want to show your dog
2. You need a dog for a specific purpose like hunting, pulling, or shepherding.
BUT, if your dog is going to be lounging around the house all day, eating treats, and peeing in your backyard, for heavens sake, there are a million WONDERFUL dogs in shelters that can fulfill that purpose and would be so grateful to have a forever home.
No dog should be starving on the streets. Every dog deserves a loving home. Just because a dog may be older or has a history does not mean they don’t deserve a warm bed, food, and a loving pack. According to ASPCA “Approximately 8-12 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year and approximately 5-9 million are euthanized (60% of dogs and 70% of cats).” And, “only 1 out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home.” Those statistics are discouraging and tell of the starvation, death, and euthanasia of many dogs just like the sweet one I transported.
So, please adopt and then neuter/spay your dog.
Getting off my soapbox.