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Pet People

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Why rescued pets are the ABSOLUTE best!

A recap on our rescued friends (see topics below), more about adopting from shelters and what makes a professional dog breeder:

Phoebe was abandoned at shelter, tossed over a fence in the dark of night. She was an unspayed female cattle dog/corgi mix, about 9 years old. Phoebe was missing one eye and part of her left ear. She had a limp and a crooked tooth. But she was sweet, friendly, forgiving and full of personality.

I thought, “Who will ever adopt this dog?” I figured she’d live the rest of her life lonely, in a shelter.

But I underestimated the power of, a rescue Web site that’s been a godsend to homeless pets across the country. Nonprofit shelters now have this tool to showcase pets up for adoption. Phoebe was on the site only a few weeks when a woman in Lexington asked about her. Susan, a volunteer with a Keeshond rescue group, was touched by Phoebe’s sad story. At first she thought she’d help get Phoebe into another rescue, but she adopted the homely dog herself.

Today, Phoebe lives the life all dogs should. She loves her wading pool, goes everywhere with her new mom, sleeps in the bedroom and helps tend to other rescue dogs that come in and out of their lives. Susan says she’s never met a more wonderful, loving dog.

Dollar was another great dog never given a chance to shine. A large, mixed breed, he lived two years of his life at the end of a short tangled chain enduring sweltering heat and bitter cold near a dog house with no floor. He never had vaccinations. His hair was matted and reeked of feces and urine. His water bowl was filled with green slime. He was starved for love and attention—a cruel fate for any dog. His owners, who got him as a puppy, said he “got too big” for their house.

Dollar got lucky, as he was rescued, vaccinated, groomed and moved to a foster home. His temporary family says he’s wonderful—sweet, friendly and great with other pets, kids and adults. All he needed was someone who cared.

Rescue dogs, when they find a loving home, are truly grateful and why I believe everyone should adopt pets from rescues.

Even if you want a purebred dog, you can easily find one through breed rescue groups. Many people think there’s “something wrong” with shelter dogs, but in 99.9 percent of the cases, the only thing wrong was their previous owner. Too many people get a dog for the wrong reasons or choose a breed on looks rather than on traits and how that breed will fit in with their lifestyle.

There are many valid reasons to choose a purebred puppy, but you must do a lot of homework and find a reputable breeder. Be prepared to pay a high price, because a professional breeder is an expert in the breed and aware of genetic problems. Remember, AKC papers mean nothing other than the dog is that breed and are not a guarantee of health.

National animal-welfare groups such as the ASPCA and Humane Society recommend to not buy a dog from many pet stores, as some are supplied by puppy mills, “factories” where dogs are over-bred and live in misery. The concern is not for the health and integrity of the breed, but big bucks. If you want a purebred, make sure you know it's lineage, something a reputable seller will be happy to provide.

A true pro will welcome you to their place of business and let you meet the parents. They will ask you questions to make sure the breed is right for your lifestyle. You’ll sign a contract and they’ll offer health guarantees.

Lone “backyard breeders” breed for bucks as well. If you find a cheap “deal,” red flags should go up. Such breeders have no concern for genetic problems, breed too often, don’t ask any questions and often want to meet you outside of their property.

With millions of wonderful pets put to death in shelters every year, it’s important we pet lovers try to prevent such a tragedy from continuing. Ask yourself why you want a dog. For status? Looks? Because your kids begged for that breed? Those are all the wrong reasons and often result in pets being given up later.

Personally, I’ll always go for mutts. To me, they are true all-American dogs, a mosaic of breeds like Americans are a mix of nationalities. Their looks are truly unique. What matters most is that your dog is a best friend and loyal companion. So save a life the next time you’re in the market for a new pet. There’s scores of Phoebes and Dollars out there just waiting for a second chance. You won’t regret it.

Picture above is Freeway, at the old Humane Society, when she first arrived. She was adopted by a woman in Nashville, Laura, who became a great friend. She's the one who adopted Scooter. Laura and Freeway now live in North Caronlina. Without Scooter.

posted by Sandy at 8/14/2007 03:02:00 PM


Blogger Daisylouu said...

I know tons of people who won't adopt from a shelter because they say, "YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU GET".

As if buying a purebred puppy assures you of what you'll get???

I've had the most success with shelter dogs. The only psychotic dog we had in our family was the one purchased at the pet store as a puppy.....Dusty, the DevilDog.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 6:01:00 PM  
Blogger B said...

Mutts for me. It's like filling your house with antiques and then being afraid to breathe on anything. My mutts can walk thru sh*t and hell fire and come out still wanting more. Seems like everybody I've known growing up who bought a pure wanted to keep them at arms length from everybody and every thing--like they would break if you touched them. Mutts Mutts Mutts--god bless them all.

Thursday, August 16, 2007 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Aren't most people who want the Pure Breds just mutts themselves? How many people are actually one race and culture these days?

Friday, August 17, 2007 4:58:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Pam, you are confused...
We are not mutts, we are wenches!

Friday, August 17, 2007 6:28:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

We are muttly wenches!

Saturday, August 18, 2007 11:39:00 AM  

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Pet People

Sandy Britt, an animal welfare advocate and volunteer with Clarksville rescue organizations, takes care of three dogs: Zoe, Scooter and Peanut; two cats: Catfish and Tarzan; and one husband, Glen, and according to him she takes care of them in that order.

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