In Spring, our thoughts turn to renewal and new life – chicks, lambs, bunnies… and puppies!
As we all start to come out of winter hibernation, we may feel the urge to add a furry family member. If this is on your mind, consider carefully where you want that new member to come from.
Adopting an Adult Dog – Rescues Rock!
There are so many wonderful dogs who find themselves in a rescue or shelter through no fault of their own. Adopting one of these means:
- Knowing what you are getting – they have their mature size and personalities. Our husky, Luna, lacked any sort of training but had a stellar personality and was not spooked by the startling movements and noises from my stepson who has autism. She just nosed up to him and wanted to know what was so exciting to him! Manners can be learned; traumas and emotional baggage can be overcome. There is something to be said for knowing what raw material you can see in a personality, though, to make a great match with your family and lifestyle.
- House-training – you don’t have biology working against you. They are physically capable of “holding it” between potty breaks. You may still need to house-train, but it often comes quicker than for a puppy.
- Giving a chance – everyone gravitates towards cute wiggly puppies. Adult dogs have a harder time getting adopted. Give a mature dog a chance, and enjoy a fantastic addition to your family!
Puppies – don’t perpetuate an evil…
If you have your heart set on watching your furry friend grow and develop through all life stages, then, again, I encourage you to find one through a rescue or shelter. When people see a cute puppy in a pet store window, they tend not to think beyond that cute little bundle: rescuing it from its glass box, taking it home to love…. Well, when you get a pet store puppy, you are moving inventory. You are making room for the next shipment of puppies to come in.
- Don’t support Puppy Mills. The pet store will say, “oh yeah, they are from a great local breeder” – this is often an outright lie. Puppy Mills profit from the misery of the parent dogs.
- Pet Store puppies have a lot more health issues than other pups. For one thing, there is no attention paid to their genetics when they are bred. I have seen rare, recessive genetic traits that would not show themselves unless there were significant inbreeding; the puppy is the one who suffers through the condition, the pet parent is the one who gets to foot the bill for managing it. They also have a lot more parasite and infectious disease issues – they often have passed through a “holding facility” between the Puppy Mill and the store, where they are exposed to the illnesses of dozens of other puppies.
If you do have your heart set on a registered purebred dog, then do your homework.
- Learn about the breed – their quirks, their mental and physical requirements, the types of breed- related medical conditions they may come with
- Learn about the breeder
- Talk to other people that have adopted from them.
- Visit the facility: is it clean? Are the dogs looking healthy and happy?
- Talk to the breeder, see if you agree with their philosophy. GOOD breeders are in it for the improvement of the breed and the welfare of their dogs!
- If possible, meet your puppy’s parents – that gives you a good idea not only of what sort of personality a pup will grow into, but what sort of genetics they have for physical soundness.