This is something that is very near and dear to my heart. If you are my Facebook friend chances are you see alot of posts and shares of dogs that are looking for homes. When you are in the business of rescue and you see stories constantly of abuse, mistreatment, abandonment it breaks your heart into pieces daily. What makes the heartbreak worse is that there are people out there that view the dogs that we save as “damaged” or “unwanted”.
I have been hearing so much from people lately that they dont want a shelter dog because it may turn on them or their children one day, have issues, you have to fix them, or they arent purebred. My purpose in writing this is to reach out to people in a big, public forum and really explain what happens in the shelters and what you get if you are buying a dog from a breeder.
The problem with purebred dogs and breeders is that to create the amazing lineage they have to breed dogs from the same gene pool and thus creates inbreeding from using dogs in the same family. These dogs are bred over and over again which creates further health problems. The most commons problems are: Higher rates of cancers & tumors, eye diseases, heart diseases, skin problems, neurological problems, immune system problems and epilepsy. That is not to say that any dog wont struggle with that, but by having a purebred dog the chances go up significantly that they will develop one of the above issues.
In this article they give great insight into the problems with breeders and also with pet overpopulation in general. It is not only the breeders that are the problem, but once people get their dogs and cats not spaying or neutering them, thus creating more dogs and cats in the world that people cant take care of. I love one of the lines in the article that is talking about shelter animals saying, “These animals are not “reject” animals, but animals that were unfortunate enough to fall into the hands of people who decided they didn’t want the responsibility.” That is truly what it is. People think they are cute, fun, etc. and once they pee on your rug or chew up your chair they are outta there! Pets are a forever thing, not just for now. They count on us to provide them with the best life, because they cannot do that for themselves.
This is why I got involved in rescue one year ago. I have learned so many wonderful things, but I have also seen and heard some gut wrenching things. Many shelters in Georgia that we rescue from are Heart Stick shelters. This is the most painful way to die. The vet will stick the animal in the heart with a syringe of medicine, but the problem is that you have to strap them down and hold them still, and most of the times they miss from the animal wiggling. Ultimately they puncture the lung or some other organ and the animal dies a struggling and painful death. If you dont like reading that, Im sorry, it is the truth. Many of the people in our group have to walk the halls and decide which ones to talk with them. You cannot begin to understand the sadness until you have been there and seen how scared, lonely, and confused they are.
I will take a minute to brag on my two “damaged” doggies 🙂
This is my Angie: or Angel, Boo boo, bear, etc. She has lots of names 🙂 I rescued her in 2005, my second year of college. This was my first dog that was just mine! I remember when i saw her curled up in a ball in the corner of her cage and I was like, thats the one, that is my dog! She had obviously been abused because one I reached out to pet her she cowered. She is afraid of loud noises including thunderstorms. Because of that I dont see her as damaged, I see her as wonderful, and I have been able to help her overcome so many fears in the past 7 years and that makes me so happy. She used to be so afraid of people but now we go to the Farmers Market on Saturdays and she gets so happy and wants to see every person that walks by. She has stolen my heart and there will be a piece missing when she is gone, that is for sure. Like humans, doggies have some baggage too. But, we can help each other by just loving 🙂
My other little (or big) buddy is Jake. Also known as Jakester, Jakey, Jake Dog, Jake Boo, and he also has his own theme song 🙂 We rescued from the Atlanta Humane Society when he was 5 months old. We dont know anything about his background, but he is super happy and loving, wouldnt hurt a fly. He is afraid of water and vacuums, but hey, we can live with that! He is a little crazy, but we love him. He is just a big goof ball. Jake is a great example of a dog that just was probably stranded as a puppy somewhere and just because he was stranded doesnt mean he is damaged. He was never abused, he just didnt have anyone that wanted him. But, we are so glad that we are the ones that get to love him now!
I just want to encourage you to really think about your choice before you make one. If you are thinking about getting a pet 1) can you care for it for the rest of its life as best as you can? 2) ADOPT! I couldnt imagine those two faces up there getting put to sleep and never getting to meet them because of other selfish humans. If it is good enough for George Clooney, it should be good enough for YOU! Please don’t shop, ADOPT! You can make a difference by rescuing and saving another animal from being put to sleep and making room for more in the shelters. If you have pets that are not fixed yet, PLEASE get them spayed or neutered, that is one of the biggest problems rescuers face! Please be part of the solution, not the problem!