I have a bleeding heart for animals. It's true. Whether it's immediately changing the channel whenever an ASPCA commercial comes on or saying a prayer every time I see a dog crossing the road I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to animals. I'm not saying I don't care for people, although sometimes it is hard, but there is just something about animals and especially dogs that tugs on my heartstrings. I will take in any dog that needs help, call the police on ignorant people I see mistreating their dogs, and preach adoption to anyone I know contemplating getting a pet. Animals are helpless and it's our job to care for them.
I generally try to not care what other's think of me or my decisions but I would by lying if I haven't felt a tinge of guilt in the past when someone asked me where I got my dog Jax. I have been embarrassed when I would say the word breeder and that he was basically a designer dog. I am beyond happy with Jax and would never trade him for anything but I was 22 when I got him and uninformed about adoption and the options. I have some allergies and I thought the only way to get a hypo-allergenic dog was through a breeder. Wrong. There are lots of "designer" breeds and full bred dogs up for adoption through shelters or rescue groups. You just have to look and maybe put in a little time to research. I am now proud to say at the dog park or wherever when asked where I got my dogs that Milo is from the local animal shelter. It is a great testament for others to see a cute dog that is well behaved came from a shelter.
One visit to a shelter will change your mind. An animal shelter is the epitome of desperation. While most shelters are clean and have a wonderful staff there is no denying it is a horrific place that is death row for most animals that enter the door. If you can walk into shelter and walk by the rows of crates and look at the faces of the dogs begging for your attention and not be moved to take one (or all) of them home I question your decency as a human. When we first saw Milo he was crammed in the back room in the last crate with his brother. They were both small but Milo was beyond scrawny weighing only a pound and had exposed ribs and spine. He was the smallest dog I had ever seen. In the car taking him home I looked down and saw fleas crawling all over him. I spent the next hour bathing him in the kitchen sink picking 100s of fleas off his tiny body. This may seem silly but I knew then I wanted to protect him and make him feel safe because I couldn't imagine what he had been through in his short life.
I truly feel like I've made a difference. Sometimes I look at Milo and can't believe that someone would have just thrown him away like trash. The sweet dog who sleeps on my legs and wakes me up with kisses each morning could have been discarded and robbed at a chance of a good life. I love both of my dogs equally (as any good parent should) but I feel a special bond with Milo. I can see in his eyes that he appreciates me and knows that he was saved.
Put an end to puppy mills. You've seen the horrific images of puppy mills but sometimes it's hard to relate that the pitiful animals you see there turn into the same puppies that you see behind shiny glass in pet stores. Often times these dogs are so unhealthy from the conditions and inbreeding. The stud and mother dogs live a horrible life and then discarded once they can no longer breed. There are so many good, healthy, and beautiful dogs up for adoption and through rescue programs that buying a dog through a pet shop or other service is just senseless. Moreover, it is the only way to stop these horrible institutions. When people stop buying from them that's when it will stop.
I know there are exceptions to every rule and I'm sure some have had great experiences buying animals. This post is not meant to preach or put anyone to shame. However, my experience is that with a little research you can find an animal in a shelter or rescue group that will fit ANY need for a pet you may have. Not to mention the endless amount of rewards you will reap!
Please share your adoption story!