Shop Shopping Guides

Pretty Fluffy

In Defence of Rescue Dogs

October 9th, 2011 |
  • In Defence of Rescue Dogs | Pretty Fluffy
  • Pretty Fluffy Blog
Copy: Serena Faber Nelson
Photography: Missy Moo Studio

So Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard got a Cavoodle for her 50th Birthday last week. Happy Birthday Julia – you look great for 50, by the way. The only thing that’s bothering me is you had the choice of adopting any possible dog in Australia and you chose a designer breed puppy. I’m not happy, Julia.

Now I’m not going to come across all holier than thou on this topic, because the minute I start throwing stones my whole house will come crashing down. You see, a little over 10 years ago I purchased my dog from a pet store. Young, uneducated and completely naïve, I fell in love with a black and white bundle of fluff in a store window, paid $200 and took her home. Do I regret that day? Not at all, it brought my best friend into my life – my dog has seen me through career changes, relationship break-ups, bad decisions, good decisions and has been there panting away at my side day after day.

But do I regret where I got my dog from? You bet. You see in Australia alone we euthanise over 200 000 homeless pets every year because rescue shelters are unable to find them a loving home. That equates to 22 animals put to sleep every hour because nobody wants them. That’s right – by the time you’ve finished your lunch, 22 pets will have lost their lives.

To put it simply Australia is currently crippled by an over supply of dogs. From backyard breeders, to puppy farms, and the ever growing high demand for designer dogs, this oversupply is showing no signs of letting up. I don’t know about you, but to me there’s a cruel irony in the fact that while some people are paying thousands of dollars to have the perfect dog created for them, other dogs are being put to death for not being perfect enough.

So when I heard Julia Gillard was getting a pet, I had my fingers crossed that she would set an example by adopting a rescue dog. It was her opportunity to show a nation that shelter dogs make excellent companion animals. Her chance to give a dog a second chance. Her chance to prove that Australia really is a country that supports the underdog. But instead she got a Cavoodle puppy from a registered breeder.

Now I have nothing against Cavoodles, their name alone makes me smile – not as much as the breed name ‘Japoodle’ but that’s another story. Nor do I have anything against responsible, registered breeders. In my time working on Harry’s Practice I came across a number of devoted, ethical breeders who loved every dog they produced like it was their own.

But what I’m struggling with is, that in the time that has passed since our PM announced the imminent arrival of her new pup, so many excuses have been made on her behalf – and at lot of them are giving rescue dogs a bad rap. So for Julia and anyone else out there considering getting a new pet, I want to speak up on behalf of all shelter dogs and debunk a few myths in the process:

1. I can’t get a shelter dog, I have allergies. Well, I’m sorry say but there actually is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. (Cue audience collective gasp.) Allergies are actually causes by a dog’s dander (shedding skin cells) that are present in every breed. While breeds such a poodles, or poodle crosses, shed less hair than other breeds – making them ideal for allergy sufferers – there is no actual miracle ‘allergy free’ dog on the market. So why not consider one of the many poodles, crosses and other low shedding breeds available at dog shelters?

2. I can’t get a shelter dog, I want a puppy. I get this one. I really do. I am yet to meet anyone in life who doesn’t think puppies are cute. There’s something amazingly wonderful about the idea of caring for a pet from such a young age. But on the flip side, there also has to be something said for not having to go through months of toilet training, chewed up shoes and ripped off clothes from the washing line. But if I can’t completely sell you on this one and you have your heart set on a little furry baby to call your own, just remember there are lots of puppies available through the myriad of rescue organisations that exist in Australia.

3. I can’t get a shelter dog, rescue dogs are TROUBLE. If by trouble, you mean awesome, well yes. But really, it’s important to remember that not every rescue dog was found living the tough life on the streets selling crack to buy kibble. Lots of these dogs turn up in shelters after their owners have passed away, or have surrendered them due to changes in their home situations, so as a result many of these pooches are already lead and toilet trained. And yes, even those crack-selling, graffiti-tagging, no-hope rescue dogs turn their lives around with all dogs undergoing some standard training before being re-homed.

4. I can’t get a shelter dog, I want a specific breed. Researched your lifestyle, your living situation, and how much time you can spend with your future pet? Good on you. But don’t forget that rescue shelters deal with a wide variety of breeds and they may have the exact dog you are looking for. Don’t limit your search to the local pound. Get online and look up the rescue clubs associated with your favourite breeds. The result? You get a perfect-match pet, they get a loving home. Win-Win.

5. I can’t get a shelter dog, they are too old to bond with me. On the contrary, rescue dogs are often so happy to be given a second chance, they will be the most devoted, loyal and loving companions you could ever ask for. True story.

So you see, Julia – rescue dogs aren’t so bad. So while I wish you a wonderful life full of hugs and licks with your new addition, it still won’t stop me wishing that you had chosen to save a life in the process.

Do you agree with Julia Gillard’s choice of dog?
Have you adopted a shelter dog? What was your experience?

Comments (60)

  • Taylor October 9, 2011 at 10:29 am
    • Serena Faber Nelson October 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm
  • Jennie October 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm
    • Serena Faber Nelson October 10, 2011 at 10:12 pm
  • Hande October 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm
    • Serena Faber Nelson October 10, 2011 at 10:15 pm
  • Samantha October 11, 2011 at 2:55 am
  • Taylor K. October 11, 2011 at 6:20 am
    • Serena Faber Nelson October 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm
  • shanendoah@life by pets October 12, 2011 at 4:06 am
    • Serena Faber Nelson October 12, 2011 at 7:40 am
  • Debby and Kirby the Dorkie October 12, 2011 at 2:04 pm
    • Serena Faber Nelson October 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm
  • Emmaline October 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm
  • anne hubben November 29, 2011 at 12:30 am
    • Serena Faber Nelson December 1, 2011 at 4:27 pm
  • Beck November 30, 2011 at 1:01 pm
    • Serena Faber Nelson December 1, 2011 at 4:29 pm
  • Trude November 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm
  • Tara Mosier November 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm
  • Chloe November 30, 2011 at 4:44 pm
    • Serena Faber Nelson December 1, 2011 at 4:34 pm
  • Mica November 30, 2011 at 11:29 pm
  • Brittany December 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm
  • YAP WEAR - Jenny Daicos February 2, 2012 at 7:23 pm
    • Serena Faber Nelson February 7, 2012 at 11:30 am
  • Danielle February 26, 2012 at 11:17 am
    • Serena Faber Nelson February 27, 2012 at 10:36 am
  • Claire Hitchon March 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm
    • Serena Faber Nelson March 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm
  • Rachel Wrigley June 16, 2012 at 11:57 pm
    • Serena Faber Nelson September 6, 2012 at 9:24 am
  • Fiona August 9, 2012 at 8:08 pm
  • Abbie September 3, 2012 at 5:50 am
    • Serena Faber Nelson September 6, 2012 at 9:25 am
  • Sally October 10, 2012 at 12:20 pm
    • Serena Faber Nelson October 27, 2012 at 7:45 am
  • Tara, Lulu & Coco December 23, 2012 at 9:54 am
  • Anissa Carlisle January 31, 2013 at 7:14 am
  • Liz Welling June 14, 2013 at 12:53 am
  • Leone July 30, 2013 at 12:46 pm
  • Lauren January 15, 2015 at 9:30 am
  • Lauren January 15, 2015 at 9:32 am
  • Michelle May 7, 2015 at 2:01 pm
  • Ana June 10, 2015 at 11:42 pm
  • Elene Purkey March 12, 2016 at 12:08 am
  • Sonia Winsor March 12, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Leave a Comment

* Required

As seen in...
© Pretty Fluffy 2013 | Design by Chic Sprinkles | Development by Madeleine Burke