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In Defence of Rescue Dogs

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?

Copy: Serena Faber Nelson

Photography: Missy Moo Studio

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Comments (60)

60 responses to “In Defence of Rescue Dogs”

  1. Taylor says:

    Ditto everything that you said Serena! Addie came from a breeder but our next dog will be a rescue goldendoodle (any American readers out there who want a poodle mix and think you can’t rescue and have to buy from a breeder: http://www.poomixrescue.com) Thank you for sharing and educating others!

    • Thanks so much Taylor. Yep, I’m the first to admit I was a late learner about rescue dogs, so I try to make up for it now! 🙂
      That’s a great link you shared too – so many gorgeous faces who would make great family pets! Hugs to Addie!

  2. Jennie says:

    This is totally off topic but that is my little buddy, Delan in the photo! I swear, if I didn’t live on the other side of the world I would scoop that little guy up and give him lots of love in our home. =) Oh, that adorable face! And I completely love shelter dogs. Chloe, was not a shelter dog (like you my purchase came young and naive) but now, my family and I only do adoptions. The only problem I have is walking in and picking one out…I feel so darn guilty and want to take all of them home!

    • It IS Delan. You couldn’t miss that bubblegum pink tongue anywhere 🙂
      I am happy to report that one week after featuring as a Friday Fluffy he found a happy home – a great shelter success story!
      I’m the same when I go to a shelter, I was to hire a bus and take them all home. Thanks for the lovely comment Jennie.

  3. Hande says:

    I love this post.

    I was also very uneducated when I fell in love with Buddy at a pet store. Today I try my best to help in others making educated decisions and fully support putting an end to having puppies sold in pet stores.

    But just like you said, I will never regret that day as he changed my life like I never thought possible.

    • Thank you so much – your comment made me so happy. It was exactly what I had in mind when I wrote this post. No judgement, just a wish for all dogs to be lucky enough to one day find a loving home.

      And yep I don’t think “dog” and “regret” could ever go in the same sentence for me. I know I sound crazy when I say this but my dog made me a better person and I have a better life because of her smiling face 🙂

  4. Samantha says:

    This is an AMAZING post! So eloquently written and well thought out 🙂

  5. Taylor K. says:

    Hi! I’m a newer follower to your blog. I was introduced to Pretty Fluffy by Taylor B. who has Addison (I noticed she commented on this post too!).

    My family has had both good and bad results with shelter dogs. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for shelter dogs though. I hate puppy mills and pet stores that don’t know what they are doing, so I definitely feel that either a breeder or a shelter is the way to go. But I do have a question: when researching where to get our first dog, my husband and I looked at our local shelter and I just didn’t feel like the workers knew very much about the dogs. I know that when dogs are placed in shelters sometimes they act different than they normally would but I didn’t feel comfortable enough with the workers’ knowledge of each dog to adopt one. I felt like even though I was asking about different dogs, their answers came back the same about every dog. So my question is: Do you have any advice on researching and finding a good shelter to adopt from? (I live in the states so just any broad advice or recommendations would be great!)

    • Hi Taylor! That’s a really good point you raised because unfortunately there are some shelters that due to funds or management aren’t as great as they could be. I would try starting with specific breed rescue groups in your state as they groups are often extremely well versed on the dogs they have and also are very picky about matching the right owner to the dog. Many also offer training and on going support as they are so passionate about animal welfare. Just type in the breed(s) you are interested in and ‘rescue’ into google and they should come up. For example here is one that came up when I searched for Pug Rescues http://www.pugbutts.com/index.php With rescue groups like these not only do they have dogs looking for home, it would be the tip of the iceberg as they surely would have contacts at other shelters and groups that they could recommend to you as well. I hope this helps! 🙂

  6. PS. Thanks for following!

  7. […] In Defense of Rescue Dogs. A short but strong list of answers to the common objections raised by people who don’t want rescue dogs. (I also strongly join her objections to “designer dog breeds” like cockapoos and labradoodles.)  (Pretty Fluffy) […]

  8. All of the dogs I’ve gotten as an adult have come from shelters, including two purebreds- an Australian Shepherd (I know, it’s not actually an Australian breed) and a Beagle. The Beagle was only 6 months old when we got her, so definitely still a puppy. The Aussie and our Lap/Pit mix were only 9 months old when they came into our lives- still quite young.
    I try to avoid the adopt/buy argument because I believe every dog deserves a good home (even those that were “bred for sale”), and that it is better for all dogs when they are in homes where they are wanted.
    Still, I liked your list. There are a lot of shelter myths out there, and it’s nice to see them answered.

    To Taylor: If you’re in the States, try using Petfinder.com to find a breed rescue or other private shelter near you. The government run shelters often have less staff and less money, and therefore less time to work with and evaluate the dogs. A private shelter or breed rescue group is a great way to go if you want to rescue, but also need the support that would be provided by a reputable breeder. These groups will generally do everything in their power to make sure that you and the dog are a good match before you go home and will offer continuing support after the match.

    • Absolutely, I agree Petfinder is a great resource! Great advice Shanendoah. Thanks so much for the comment. I love Australian Shepherds – it’s funny how their name is Australian but like you say, they’re actually not.
      And you’re right – Every dog deserves a good home 🙂

  9. Excellent post which I agree with for the most part. We had a pekepoo mix for almost fifteen years. It would be 6 years before I could get another dog which was a dorkie puppy someone had purchased in another state and then decided they didn’t want him because he wasn’t housebroken. Tucker was 3 months old when I got him and he died in my arms at 7 months. After being pushed by friends to get another dog I heartbrokenly gave God my specifics – a male black and tan dorkie that I could afford close enough to me. (They ran $400 and up and were only available in other states which meant shipping costs) He answered a prayer I didn’t expect to be answered!

    Kirby is, at the breeders request, a CKC registered Dorkie (Dachshund/Yorkie) who I paid $250 for from a breeder who was temporarily living in North Mississippi (my state). This tiny little dog has changed my life giving me joy, love and a purpose. He is without a doubt a gift from God! I get defensive about him because even though most people love him there have been times on FB and even in person where people have said cruel things because he is a “designer” dog.

    Kirby and I foster one dog at a time which in a sense saves two lives. We help whenever and wherever we can. I hate puppy mills and don’t support pet stores that sell dogs. Would I adopt or buy if I wanted another dog? I honestly don’t know. I believe every dog regardless of where they come from deserves a good home and so I will follow my heart. So do I agree with Julia? My answer is I don’t know what was in her heart but just maybe there was a significant reason she chose that particular dog.

    Forgive me Serena – this is one of those few controversial issues for me 🙁

    • Thanks so much for your comment! The work you do fostering dogs and helping dogs in general is inspirational and wonderful Debby. I have to say when I have read some of your posts about the fostering you do, I wish I was doing more myself!

      I would be appalled at anyone who chose to say cruel things about you and your lovable dog because he came from a breeder. As you say, the work you do alone shows you care for all dogs, and all animals. And as I mentioned in the post, there are so many wonderful breeders out there and it is still very much a valid choice when choosing a pet – much better than choosing from a pet store like I did! 🙂

      At the end of the day, my dream would be to see all dogs finding a loving home just like the one you offer Kirby and the wonderful dogs you care for. 🙂

  10. Emmaline says:

    Hi Serena,

    Love your post! I think the hardest thing is to see all the puppies in the pet store, almost begging to be taken home by owners that think it is a good idea at the time, only to regret it a few days later. And buying a puppy isn’t like the latest fashions that you can take back a few days later if you change your mind.

    I would imagine that the vast majority of pound and/or shelter pets are store bought – not breeder purchased. As you said, most breeders are fantastic and have a genuine care for the dogs. I think it is great that the RSPCA will actually work with the owner to ensure the right dog is matched to the right owner – not just sold to make a sale.

    Thanks again for your blog – love reading the Sunday Sessions too.

  11. […] blog entry – rescue & doodles I really like this blog entry: In Defence of Rescue Dogs | Pretty Fluffy. It does raise again a question I keep coming back to … what to do about the people that aren't […]

  12. anne hubben says:

    Great post, Serena. I have 2 rescue dogs + my sister has 1 and neither of us would ever go any other way. They have their quirks, but they’ve brought more love in to my life than i ever could have imagined. And the bond just grows stronger with each passing day. Thanks for writing this!

    • Thanks for the lovely comment Anne. You’re right, the quirks are sometimes the best thing about a dog and rescue dogs have so much love to give. I love hearing about the bonds people have with their pets – thanks for sharing x

  13. Beck says:

    I must agree, this is a sad thing. Those excuses are hurrendous. Not only have I adopted one cat, one dog and two rats from shelters, but I’ve fostered too. Some of the “street dogs” are actually exceptional doggie citizens who’s owners probably didn’t make that little bit more effort in fencing or chasing up where their loved ones have gone. I nearly adopted a Pomeranian who I fostered. She was 4 years old I think and just had the happiest most loving, and obedient personality! But I knew she would be the perfect candidate for many other pet searchers! I’m glad I made that choice because the beautiful 6 month old boy I adopted is “too ugly”. I may have copped the “one ugly dog” comments but it makes me feel better about my decision. Because I think he is gorgeous! He’s a puppy at heart and makes my heart melt. He’s no designer dog, but his love can not be designed. Shelter pets all the way I say…

    • Oh my gosh – I bet your dog is just beautiful! I don’t know what it is but I always see a dog’s personality before I think of what they look like. It must be something to do with their eyes and wagging tail. Well done on all the amazing work you do – the world is a better place for you being here x

  14. Trude says:

    I agree with your sentiments, maybe the “first man” could set an example and bring home a doggy companion for Julia’s little cavoodle from a shelter!

    I have 2 dogs, the first is a cairn terrier I bought from a reputable breeder, the second is a 7 year old curley coated retriever that I got through a private adoption and would have ended up in a shelter if I didn’t take him. Both dogs are beautiful, loyal, good natured and have been by my side through tough times…and both are spoilt rotten of course & will be with us for life.

  15. Tara Mosier says:

    But…will SHE see this????

    Absolutely wonderful writing and sentiments!!! Spread the news!

  16. Chloe says:

    I wish Julia would have adopted a shelter dog as well, just to help educate the public.

    There’s so much more awareness these days, but it’s still shocking how little some people know about where pets come from, and what happens when nobody wants them.

    For example, I have a friend who is a high school teacher, and she took a group of students to the local animal welfare league. One of the students recognised a littler of kittens at the shelter as the kittens he and his mother had “donated” to the shelter. Can you believe it?!! Same friend also adopted a persian cat who was originally adopted by someone else, who returned her as she was “too ugly”. My friend ended up with a great cat, but it’s sucky the way some people see pets as an accessory that needs to look or act a certain way rather than be a companion.

    • Wow – you just don’t think things like that would still happen. You’re right awareness is the key, as the more people know, the more can make wiser decisions.
      And just secretly, I bet your friend’s cat is super happy to have her as a new owner! One that thinks she’s beautiful 🙂

  17. Mica says:

    this is a great article, thank you for writing it! Found it through the Animal Welfare league of Queensland facebook page and have shared it on a forum called http://www.effenahute.com in the pets area. Thank you for writing such an informative and well written article.

    • Thanks so much for sharing Mica – it’s a cause close to my heart so love that you are helping getting the message out there. The Animal Welfare League of QLD does a fabulous job – love their work!

  18. Brittany says:

    I am so disappointed to hear this!
    I have a rescue dog and I love her to bits and pieces!! (She even passed the ultimate test.. my mother! and she hates big dogs & adores her!! hahaha) I can’t go on enough about how much i love her! (she always get an extra hug for being the strong brave girl!)
    Really it was a chance to prove something to all the ‘non believers’ out there and well… she let the underdogs down. Ever since I took my Keely home I have raved about her! every time someone even considers a dog i instantly saying “GO TO A SHELTER NOW!!!!!” and go on and on about Keely hahaha
    Such a pity, it really is…

  19. Hi Serena….not sure if you remember me but we talked often when we worked with Harry’s Practice, supplying the show with Dogcoats etc..
    I love your Blog…and this posting…SO Disappointed in Ms Gillard and her partner, who happened to get a puppy from BIllabong….one of the most notorious Puppy factories in Victoria…SHAME!!
    Hope all is well with you..

    PS” Dogs at Wedding….OMG Yes!! We do heaps of Weddings with our Dog-Tux….why wouldn’t you have your Dog/s there??
    Jennyxx

    • Hi Jenny! Yes I do remember you from the Harry’s Practice days! So glad you love the blog 🙂
      Hopefully the good thing to come out of this is that more and more people will become aware of the practices of puppy farming and also how many wonderful rescue dogs there are out there looking for homes.
      Stay in touch! x

  20. Danielle says:

    Hi Serena,

    I just stumbled across your blog whilst looking for a “wedding collar” for a friend’s two Dashchunds (any hints?)… anyway, I wanted to comment on the allergy point you make above because it can be complicated depending on the person/their allergies, etc. Everybody’s different and even those who don’t have a “true allergy” may have irritation significant enough to make everyday life with some dogs (or other animals) a problem.

    So, yes, it’s true that there is no “miracle” dog breed that is completely allergy free, but it’s also true that many breeds bother some allergy sufferers more significantly than others. Also, a dog’s saliva can be just as much of an issue as the shedding.

    For me, just being in a house inhabited by a Lab/German Shepherd/Golden Retriever/ makes me sick and my skin itches like crazy just from getting a few licks from, e.g. a Jack Russell.

    On the other hand, my Lhasa Apso sleeps in my bed and licks my face every time I pick her up. I have no health issues with her and can’t imagine life without her.

    In reality, my decision was based a lot of factors. I limited myself to the few breeds I was comfortable didn’t pose an issue for me personally and stayed away from those crossed with other breeds (as the genes won’t necessarily be passed down from the one breed or the other). Personally I really wanted a Lhasa Apso as I grew up with two and adored our dogs’ personalities. But also, I really wanted the puppy experience, at least just once. 🙂

    I didn’t find what I was looking for in my shelter search (I actually found no Lhasas at all), so my baby came from a lovely breeder who had a few tears when she finally handed my puppy over. Would I ever consider a shelter dog? 100%, if it were the right dog for me.

    Long story short, I completely agree with you on almost every point above! But, life with irritations and allergies though can be hard and only the person who has them can know what will and won’t work for them on issues like this.

    Sorry for the ramble, loving your blog already. x

    • Thanks Danielle – not a ramble at all! I think the point you make is that there is a dog out there for everyone. I think it’s great that people like yourself research what they need and make sure they’re getting the right dog for themselves. Without researching what sort of dog is right for you, that often results in dogs ending up surrendered in pounds.

      That’s great advice about allergies as well. I think a lot of people see cross breeds as a fix-all for allergies and it doesn’t always work. Like you say, you can find the perfect dog if you look.

      Thanks for the comment and welcome!! x

  21. Claire Hitchon says:

    Hi Serena
    Thank you for caring about the perception of shelter dogs. We have had 3 shelter dogs (2 from Monika Doggie Rescue) and all have been wonderful and loving -aren’t they all. Our 2 dogs passed away recently, they were 14 and 15 years old. So the best thing we did 10 days later was to go to Monika and adopt another little darling – and guess who we adopted: Gracie, the nearly blind gorgeous dog you had on your website. I just discover that you had her on your website today so I thought it would please you to know that she is very very happy. She has been with us for a month now; we have renamed her Saffy and she is an absolute delight. Thank you Serena for caring about the not so lucky animals. Claire

    • Hi Claire,
      Reading your comment just now has literally been possibly the happiest news I have received all year! Gracie’s story really touched me and I visited her over Christmas, discovering her sweet nature in person. It makes me unbelievably happy that you have been able to offer her a loving, happy home. Her new name, Saffy is just gorgeous and I’m glad she is bringing you happiness after your loss. Thank YOU for everything you do in caring for these beautiful animals. Sending hugs to Saffy and wishing you a happy life together xxxxx

  22. […] * I’m sorry, I won’t actually send you a free talking puppy, as they are extremely hard to train and take forever to perfect their pronunciation. But if you are in the market for a pooch, have you considered a Rescue Dog?  […]

  23. Rachel Wrigley says:

    Hi Serena
    I loooved your post and it has tugged my heart strings all the replies.
    It is so true shelter dogs love like no other they are the most grateful affectionate dogs on the planet.
    I have two shelter dogs and I love them to pieces they are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I am proud to have nursed them back to health.

    I am having a moral dilemma with my mother in law. She wants a designer breed a moodle, and she has listed the exact five reasons to not adopt that you have described. If I take a stand and don’t help her she will buy from a pet store which I just can’t bare the thought of but how do I find a puppy that I am assured I am not indirectly buying from a puppy mill?? There is very little info on how to check this!!

    • Thanks Rachel! I would always check with the breeder as to how many litters they have, ask to see where they live, visit with other who have gotten puppies from them. Also a very important sign of a good breeder is that they will take the dog back at any stage under any circumstances. A good breeder will always be there to offer the dog a loving home.

      But having been through this myself, I would suggest finding a nice, approachable rescue organization in your area that can help your mother in law find a perfect match. xx

  24. Fiona says:

    Bravo.. Bravo… Have just stumbled upon this post and I want to thank you so much for saying it how it is.

    From someone who sadly knows only to well those 22 pets put to sleep every hour. : (

  25. Abbie says:

    I love this article, thank you for writing it. I think just about everyone has made a “mistake” in regards to dogs, whether it’s getting one from a pet store or using a choke collar, but the important thing is that we learn from it, commit to not doing it anymore, and do the best we can 🙂

    • Absolutely Abbie! I’m a true believer that we should learn from our mistakes, not beat ourselves up about it. Because of my earlier ignorance about puppy farming and pet shops, I am now one of their most vocal detractors. If we all did our best, the world would be a much better place. xx

  26. Sally says:

    I am very disappointed by the example she has set!! I am a volunteer at a local shelter and there are all breeds looking for a new home, even puppies that have been born in the shelter as the Mother dog was surrendered or dumped! So really-there is NO REASON not to look at shelters & rescue groups for your new friend.
    Ever since I was a kid we have either taken in strays or rehomed from shelters and we have had loving dog after loving dog! No fights, no bites, no issues, all have got on with our cat & Chooks…what else can you ask for?? Our last dog was mistreated but lived happily with us for 13 years and was lived by everyone he met!! He was a BIG dog and was particularly loved by kids!
    Come on Australia, check out your local pound or rescue group-look on line and SAVE THE DOGS THAT ARE READY AND WAITING FOR A LOVING HOME!!

    • You’re so right about shelter dogs being beautiful pets. I think it all comes down to education so people know how to choose the perfect animal for them, how to care for him/her and also how brilliant an option rescue dogs are. It’s going to take some time, but we’ll get there. x

  27. […] loved rescue dogs, busted myths about Pit Bulls, launched The 13 Project and featured hundreds of homeless dogs here […]

  28. Tara, Lulu & Coco says:

    I am lucky to have one shelter and one pound fur baby. It’s true I will never know exactly what breed/s they are or their age. What I do know is that I couldn’t love them more if I had them as puppies. They have brought so much to my life, much more than I could have ever imagined.

  29. Anissa Carlisle says:

    I foster for a rescue organization in Kentucky. You are exactly right! You can find puppies or older dogs of every shape and size. Sometimes it takes a little longer but they are out there. Good article!

  30. Liz Welling says:

    I am so glad I found this post! And I couldn’t agree with you more. Several months ago, hubby and I adopted a senior cocker-retriever mix. She’s a DREAM. The bond is incredibly strong (she paddles after me everywhere. Everywhere.), she has amazing energy and pep for an old gal (blitzes like a puppy), and came home with us house trained. Admittedly, I had the same negative thoughts about adopting a senior in the beginning, but not any more. What’s age? Just a number.

  31. Leone says:

    Beautiful post. It’s been at least 20 years since I started adopting rescue dogs. It’s so very rewarding, and all but one have been adults. That means no house training! Yay! Most have been mutts, but we also adopted a British cocker spaniel who was such a wonderful companion that we still miss him 9 years after he passed. He was 6 when we adopted him, and no one wanted him. Here in the U.S. there are so many unwanted pets. Adopt. It’s a beautiful thing!

  32. […] Why then my biggest mistake? Truth be told, Soda was from a pet shop. Back in those days, I had no idea the sad truth behind pets shops – that most of their dogs come from puppy mills. That’s why these days I’m a big campaigner against puppy mills whilst also being a passionate advocate for rescues. […]

  33. Lauren says:

    Great post. I do have to say though there aren’t “miracle breeds” there are breeds who have significant less amount of dander than dogs who shed. Normally non-shedding dogs, though not all non-shedding are hypoallergenic. I have a Shih-Tzu, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, and a Chi mix. My Wheaten is a breeder considered Hypo-allergeinc, and i will have to vouch for that. Though Shih Tzu don’t shed, which in of itself reduces allergens, they do have a double coat, and produce more allergens than a wheaten or poodle. My parents have severe allergies, and are fine with my wheatie, get a little worked up with my Shih Tzu (though she is only six lbs)

  34. Lauren says:

    I forgot to add, too many dogs are in shelters, and it is due to irresponsible breeders, people, and puppy mills. I have two dogs from a reputable breeder, and one rescued as a stray from out local kill shelter on his last day. I always try my hardest to help shelter dogs, and rescues, and try to always adopt from one.

  35. Michelle says:

    Great article. I’ve heard the ‘rescues are all trouble’ line from lots of people and it makes me so sad. I also love that you have nothing against ethical breeders either; so many people are extreme in their views one way or the other.

    Several of my close friends would only ever get a rescue dog, and it makes me feel sooo guilty because I am currently researching my next dog, who will be from a health-testing, temperment-testing breeder. I have two reasons which are specific to me, but because of that I never judge unless someone is getting a dog from a puppy mill while knowing it is a puppy mill.

    1. There are certain areas, specifically rural ones, that actually don’t have that many rescue dogs, especially small dogs. I have a chronic condition (Crohn’s) so I will need a small dog for my next dog, and while I check Petfinders frequently there were literally like ten small dogs in the whole province available last year, and only one of them that would suit my needs. I live in a rural area in NS, Canada, but that was for the whole province. There are also very scant breed rescues outside of Ontario, not that most of them would accept a rescuer from so far away. (That’s awesome there are less rescues that some other places, but I assume it’s bc we have a small population rather than any other cause.)

    2. I also have clinical depression/anxiety and my current 9 year old baby is a retriever I got before I got sick. She was a free-to-a-good home dog and she is so lovely and gentle but unfortunately she is genetically fear-aggressive – to big dogs and even some strangers. (She was socialized extensively as a puppy and has been through a lot of training and come a long way but still.) Because she is a retriever it makes it harder too bc everyone assumes she will be friendly and comes up to her on walks. I love her so much and I do everything I can for her but I know from this experience and how much it raises my anxiety levels sometimes that I will be unable to deal with possible aggression again, which is why I am going to a breeder for a temperment-tested dog in the future. Despite the fact that most rescue dogs are super-sweet, there really isn’t enough temperment-testing at many shelters due to low funding and I just need to know beforehand.

    Sorry for my life story lol, but this feels like a safe place to share. I just feel like, there are legitimate reasons. But yeah, they probably only apply to a small percentage of people who would rather not have a rescue.

    I’ve taken in two stray kitties, though! 🙂

  36. Ana says:

    What a great article! My dog didn’t come from a shelter, she was picked out of a box in the streets by my sister when she was just 6 weeks old, since then she has had a great life, she’s the baby in our house, even my mom who didn’t like dogs adores her. Remember that you can also help in rescuing animals and even if you can’t keep them you can find them loving and responsible homes

  37. Elene Purkey says:

    Useful discussion , Incidentally , you want a a form , my company saw a blank version here http://goo.gl/xZ3S8c

  38. Sonia Winsor says:

    My hubby & I are guilty of a pet shop purchase for our first dog 18 years ago. Best. Dog. Ever. Turns out she may actually have been a pure koolie, a breed over-represented in shelters due to their working nature. A week after she died, we drove to Echuca from Gisbourne to the shelter to get a new rescued koolie. She’s currently asleep on the couch.

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