“Every Dog Bred is Another Dog Dead”. Sobering statement, isn’t it? When I read this, my heart sank. I had to stop and process it and what it meant. After all, it is a shocking statement, obviously meant to. I read this statement in a newsletter a few years ago from ARRF, an Animal Rights Organization, when they used it during a campaign. I had received this newsletter before I lost my two beloved dogs Charlie and Teddy, and it was one more reason for me to decide to never buy a dog again. But it wasn’t my first clue about the repercussions breeding more animals has.
My first clue that something wasn’t right about what goes on at some breeders was in 1997 when the pet shop salesman told me that Charlie was missing an ear. I say some breeders because back then I did not know much about the breeding practices of puppy mills. He told me that all their dogs came from a reputable breeder, but unfortunately accidents sometimes happen. Charlie’s ear accidentally got caught in a closing gate. Charlie was a wonderful smart sweet soul, who only twice exhibited tremendous fear I am guessing was an overreaction due to her accident. But I wondered about what really happened, was it just an isolated accident or was it indicative of mistreatment of all the dogs at the breeder?
“Every Dog Bred is Another Dog Dead” led me to think again about breeding practices when there are millions of dogs in shelters that need homes (This applies to cats too, of course). And why are we breeding millions of more dogs in this country when there are so many available wonderful dogs that need a home? As I have written, there are puppies and purebreds available for adoption too, not just adult dogs. I can only think of one main reason, money. Heck, aren’t the expensive designer dogs such as Labradoodles really just a mixed breed?
Puppy mills especially breed solely for greed. But they do so causing pain and suffering to innocent animals that depend upon us completely as human babies do. They want nothing from us other than companionship, love, food and shelter. As a matter of fact research has shown that dogs are the only species that need humans as much and more than their own. All species have socialization needs in varying degrees, but dogs need us more than their furry friends for their well being (The optimal socialization being human and other furry companionship). So, while dogs descended from the wolf, we domesticated them, we brought them close. We bred them into the hundreds of breeds that we now see at the dog shows for centuries to suit our needs. Yet…
Look at these statistics (1)
· Number of Companion Animals entering shelters nationally each year 5 million
· Number of Companion Animals euthanized in shelters each year 3.5 million
· Number of dogs euthanized in shelters each year 60%
· Number of cats euthanized in shelters each year 70%
· Total percentage of purebred dogs in shelters 20%
I’m left with the thought that these numbers do not include small rescue groups, foster homes, etc. such as where I adopted my Sophie.
Speaking of Sophie, each week I notice another wonderful behavioral change. This week I noticed that she is looking into my eyes now (Still not looking at the camera!), and rolling around on the floor giving me her belly to rub. She’s pulling out all the toys from her toy basket, which is amazing since she didn’t pick up a toy for over a month. She’s also walking so much more relaxed outside, and for the first time slowly greeted a beautiful Labrador nose to nose. May not sound like much, but seeing her blossom from fear to playful to more trusting means so much to me.
People that I have introduced Sophie to in my neighborhood tell me how lucky she is to have been adopted by me. But, I’ll say it again and again it is my joy, reward and luck to have adopted her. Adoption and helping Sophie has brought me more joy that I ever expected.
“According to HSUS & Maddie’s Fund and The Ad Council, there are about 17 million people in the market for companion animals this year. Only about a quarter of them will get a dog or cat from a rescue or shelter”. (2)
Adopt and save a life.
Next: My First Interview.
1.American Humane Society, Born Free U.S.A., Pet Finder as of 8/22/2012
2.Pacelle, Wayne; The Beagle Has Landed, A Humane Nation Blog 6/24/2013