When I was a kid, dog adoption meant buying a puppy from a store in the mall. I’d never even heard of such a thing as an animal rescue shelter. It’s something I truly regret every day now that I’m all...
When I was a kid, dog adoption meant buying a puppy from a store in the mall. I’d never even heard of such a thing as an animal rescue shelter. It’s something I truly regret every day now that I’m all grown up and dogs are such a central part of my life. I wouldn’t even consider dog adoption from any place other than an animal rescue organization or the local pound now.
My enlightenment about ethical dog adoption is a sad tale. Sparing the details, I met people involved in animal rescue when I picked up a stray running along the highway by my home. The poor thing was just about dead from starvation. When I took her to the local humane society location, I was informed that she would almost certainly be put down within a few days. Incredulous, I asked why. Their response: ‘She’s black and big, and large breed black dogs are a dime a dozen, so they rarely get adopted.’
Needless to say, I took the stray with me. No way was I going to give up on getting a dog adoption success story out of the mess. After doing a little research, I discovered that animal rescue shelters are all over, in every state.
That’s how I learned about a local group that not only worked on dog adoption for strays, but they also operated under a “no kill” philosophy. This type of animal rescue organization, surviving primarily on donations from the public, provides puppies and dogs with a good place to live while they await a loving family to take them home. And if they’re never adopted, then they live out their natural lives in comfort and with human companionship, albeit from volunteers at the shelter.
I learned that dog adoption of strays from these animal rescue facilities saves thousands of lives every year, nationwide. And most of the groups are overwhelmed with the numbers of stray dogs and people wanting to dump them for whatever reason (usually for their own convenience). The ultimate fault lies with so-called puppy mills, which crank out litter after litter to sell in your local pet store. And of course, the fault also lies with people not getting their dogs spayed or neutered. Bob Barker was right all along! If even 50% of owners got their animals fixed, the situation would improve dramatically.
So began my own journey to the good side of dog adoption. I ended up marrying a woman who owns an animal rescue organization that uses the “no kill” philosophy. We share our lives with many dogs, all mixed breeds, and all of whom we love completely.
Oh, and that stray I mentioned earlier who started my dog adoption odyssey? Her name’s Cookie, and when I first found her she was skin and bones. That was before a loving family that lives near a large park adopted her from that animal rescue group. The last time I saw her, she was almost fat from all the food and having the time of her life playing in the park. I cried. Happy tears.
Next time dog adoption is on your agenda, please consider looking at an animal rescue shelter near you. Or go to the local pound. Save a life!
John Schwartz writes about his life's passion: dogs and puppies. He is the owner of a popular website about safe dog toys and other pet supplies - http://www.puppies-dogs-supplies.com - and he works to rescue and place stray dogs.