Thursday, July 14, 2016

"Is She A Rescue?" An Open Letter to Breeder Hate

Dear Reader,


Allow me to set the scene for you:

A young woman and her dog are at a dog friendly event. The dog is the woman's best friend, her comfort, her pride and joy. The dog wants for nothing, is well trained, well socialized, and in perfect health. Despite the dog having never experienced an event of this scale, she's taking everything in stride, while still helping her owner focus on something other than crippling anxiety.  There couldn't be a more well matched or adoring pair. 
They sit at a table filled with people, and are welcomed into the mix.
The group is friendly, and is chattering away together. One person turns to the woman with a smile, and compliments her on her dog's good behavior and general cuteness. The woman smiles and thanks him, mentioning how she's always happy to have her dog be a good breed ambassador. The man smiles back, saying he's never seen such a well trained dachshund before, and reaches over to stroke the dog's head, telling the dog she's a good girl.
Looking back at the woman, and still petting the dog, the man asks point blank: 
"Is she a rescue?"
The woman, having heard this question before and finding it quite invasive - not to mention irrelevant -  replies with a succinct and shameless
 "No." 
The man yanks his hand back from the dog as though she'd burned him, and stares at the woman with an expression of abject horror. 
"Oh," he says shortly, and turns away without another word. The other patrons at the table have overheard the conversation, and send aghast looks at the woman and her dog, before turning as one away, and excluding her from any further conversation. 


I wish I could say that the above scenario was a one time event, but it isn't. I've had some variation of that encounter happen more times than I can count, both real life and online, and I'm tired of it. Perhaps it happens so frequently because I do put myself "out there" and have a moderately successful blog, but I don't find that an acceptable excuse, and I know I'm not alone in the interrogation.



To be perfectly honest, I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the question, and I'm sick of the reaction. I'm sick of being made a villain simply because I went with the unpopular choice of a responsible breeder when I purchased my dog, even though it was the right choice for me. I'm sick of people singing your praises for rescuing, while simultaneously giving me the side-eye for not. I'm sick of the split and the alienation between the rescue vs. not party, and the animosity that goes along with it.

I would appreciate if you could step back from your steadfast views for a minute, put aside whatever grudge you hold, and take an honest look at my side of the coin. If, at the end of it, your view is the same, then I thank you for taking the time to read it, and for being respectful in your reply. If I do make you pause and think, then my day has been made. Either way, thank you and please continue.



I love my dog. I love her for her sweet, for her silly, for her affection. I love her for her wild, for her crazy, for her bratty moments. I love that we can communicate without word, and I love how she helps me push against the bonds of fear and anxiety that try and bind me, and succeed in breaking them.
I know her favorite place to be scratched, and I know her favorite toy. I know which blanket is her favorite, and where she prefers to nap in the afternoon.
I know she has a few tiny white hairs on her chest, and I know she has a small scar on her belly. I know that she is left-pawed, and I know that she prefers to watch rather than listen.
I know the way she looks tearing up and down a deserted beach after wayward gulls, and I know how she looks snuggled under quilts on cold evenings (or hot evenings; she's a dachshund, after all!).
I know when to let her work out problems on her own, and when to step in and guide. I know when she's happy, tired, hungry, playful, cuddly, wild, or crazy.
I know everything about her, and love it all. She is my pride and joy, my wild and crazy, my tiny terror, and the dog of my heart. I would not be where I am now if not for her. She saved me from a dark and miserable place, gave me focus and constant love, and still gives me that every day.

And she was purchased from a responsible breeder.



I am a damn good dog mom. I feed the best quality food, and make sure it works for my dog. I have the best veterinary team in this city at my beck and call. I know when to follow my vet, and I know when to stop and question because I know my dog.
The house is full of toys, beds, blankets and chews that any dog would love. My dog sleeps in bed with me, and goes with me whenever possible. I take her on adventures, vacation, and even business trips. She has a crash tested harness for the car, and a top of the line carrier for air travel. She is meticulously groomed. She is constantly trained and socialized using gentle, positively reinforcing methods. I am always researching new ways to keep her healthy, happy, and enriched. Her happiness, health and safety is my number one priority. I've poured my blood, sweat and tears into her, and it shows. She is an amazing ambassador for her breed, small dogs, and the dog acceptance movement as a whole.
I've volunteered in shelters. I've fostered. I've written about prominent issues in the pet community, and shared even more. I've bought and donated food and supplies.

And I've bought from a responsible breeder.

I don't regret it. Not for a single moment do I regret my choice in buying from a responsible breeder. I won't cower and apologize when I'm chastised for it, won't be reprimanded by #AdoptDontShop. I am not ashamed for buying from a responsible breeder; far from it, in fact - I am proud to have done it.




To be honest, I shouldn't even have to say that. I shouldn't have to thrust my dog-mom resume at whomever asks me this. It's no one's business where my dog came from but my own, the same as it's not my business as to how you got yours.
Asking someone you've just met if their dog is a rescue is akin to asking a parent whether their child was conceived by them, or adopted: invasive, tackless, and inappropriate. No matter if the child was borne or adopted, that parent loves them. It's the same with dog owners; regardless of where your dog is from, you lover her, and at the end of it all, that's what matters.







Breeder isn't better than rescue. Rescue isn't better than breeder. Once you have your dog, it matters naught where they came from; what matters is how you move forward with them. It's really that simple. It's not a competition, or a matter of who's the bigger animal lover. There shouldn't be an us vs them in this aspect of dog owning. Where and how you acquired your dog doesn't dictate the kind of owner or person you are. 
Also, you don't need to yank your hand off her for fear of catching "breeder cooties". It doesn't work that way. ;)



I can't answer whether Nola is so solid because she's responsibly bred, because I worked (and still work) my ass off with her, or because that's just who she is. There's no surefire way to know, and more than likely it's a mix of all three. 
But...I do believe that she is who she is partly because of responsible breeding. Because she was, she was given the best possible start in life. Because she was, I was able to shape her experiences from the get go, allowing her to be confident and curious about the world. Because she was, I know her history. Because she was, I trained her from the start to become what she is today. Because she was, I had a dog that rescued me, rather than the other way around.  Because she was, I have my perfect dog. And for that, I won't ever apologize.




- Dachshund Mommy




72 comments:

  1. Very well said!! And you're right its not something that should have to be said. Having gone the same route as you, with buying from a responsible breeder, we also get the same questions and sometimes the same looks. I wouldn't change my decision and as a matter of fact my next one will also come from a responsible breeder. Again very well said!

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  2. Great post! My Dachshund is from a breeder and he is the most well behaved dude. Also he is from a reputable breeder and I got him from a breeder so I could show him. There are definitely situations in which getting a dog from a trustworthy breeder is a great thing!

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  3. I am old enough to remember when it was unacceptable to get a dog from the " pound " . " Those " dogs were dangerous because you didn't know what type of environment they came from.
    Now everyone wants to be known as a rescuer as if it is a badge of honor. I have done both and can truthfully say that rescue dogs can have some issues.
    Please ignore the ignorance and rudeness of others. You and Nola were made for each other.
    I don't usually comment, but just read others blogs and comments. But dang it, sometimes you have to speak up!

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  4. I'm definitely in your court! I wanted Cardigan Corgis and fortunately they are still relatively rare. Getting one from rescue isn't easy. But I knew what I was looking for (esp. with Jimmy) and knew I wanted to raise a puppy to be what I needed. Jimmy's breeder knew she could breed a high-drive litter based on the pedigrees she would use, and surprise!, I got a high-drive boy who wanted to play my games with gusto! Not that a rescue won't do that as well, but I got to shape the journey with a dog purposely bred to very likely to be what I needed. While I would certainly consider a rescue Cardi, very likely my next dog will be a thoughtfully and responsibly bred Cardigan.

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    1. I hate to burst your bubble, but if one hands over money for a dog, they've shopped. Adoption is for human babies. You buy a dog or it's given to you, plain and simple.

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    3. Then the hashtag should be #ProPetAdopt - the hashtag #AdoptDontShop is inherently negative and down-putting to others who happen to choose differently. It creates an "Us vs Them" mentality. You can be PRO something without being ANTI something else. Champion your cause - don't use your cause to harm another otherwise you are just plain and simply spreading more division and hate.

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    4. 'Adoptdontshop' originally started as a cry to ban byb in petshops.

      While I support that aim, I hate this anti breeding. It will destroy our breeds as much as byb.

      I 'adopted' a returned maine coon from the breeder. I don't tell that to people cause she's pure bred and if people want to look down on me then stuff them.

      My next dog will either be a gsd, schnau, or dach - and I've already got the breeders researched and contacted.

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    5. I LOVE the "#ProPetAdopt" idea.

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  7. That's so lame! Maddie came from a breeder. Her mommy (I think?) was a champion at Westminster and the dad was a show dog as well. Belle was a rescue. Either way, you're giving a dog a forever home! As long as you love your animal and treat it well, who gives a shit.

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  8. It's said that we even have to write posts like this isn't it? I've been there, almost the same exact scenario more than once. I've had awful things said to me about my dogs and my choices. Fuck 'um. I'll defend my dogs and my choices for as long as I have too. I once had a lady tell me that she wouldn't touch my purebred dogs with a 10 foot pool. And she called herself an animal lover-Ha!

    Be thankful that you're not in the dog show world too, talk about being looked down on!

    You know what's funny, is that bloggers like us donate a lot of our time and money to rescue/shelter organizations and ask for nothing, no recognition or anything. We just donate quietly. Maybe if more rescue organizations paid attention to that they would look at us differently. Maybe not.

    Great post. Thanks for taking one for team.

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  9. I can't believe anyone, anywhere would be so rude, but especially at a "pet friendly" event. Maybe not people friendly.....Torrey came from a breeder too. We thought about a rescue, but Roxy was 6, and small. I didn't want to take a chance that a rescue would be mean, or unruly with her. I also knew I wanted a mini aussie puppy. I think if we didn't already have a dog, I may have been more inclined to a rescue, but, maybe not. It's not for everyone, simple as that. Being a good dog mom is way important than where the dog comes from.

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  10. Thoughtfully and well written post. I've been yelled at, lectured, judged, received hate mail, nasty comments on my blog for not having a rescue. Never mind the work I do against pet abandonment, the work we do with vets without borders, the books donated to rescues for silent auctions or the events we attend as local celebs to "boost" attendance. I get a LOT of "you are part of the problem ". It is sad. I think too what is unfortunate is that this approach is not conducive to a proper dialogue. Lecturing a stranger is not the best way to get a message across - and to be the voice of the animals. And there is a lot of assumptions being made you know? Just last weekend a total stranger came out and said to me "You know Chihuahuas are the second most euthanized dog after pit bulls?" and I was thinking ... ummm... yes I do know that and as a complete starnger: why do you think it's appropriate to tell me that? So strange. After years and years of hard work with rescues; I knew my life was changing and I was going to be traveling - including flying not to mention internationally. That meant socializing and training in that lifestyle as soon as possible and finding a calm Chihuahua. Do you know how hard it is to find a CALM Chi? So this one time I bought from a very responsible breeder. The breeder kept me waiting a YEAR! And I got him well into his third month because he was slow letting go of the teat. Then I got the call. "We call him Sir Valium" she said... He was my first puppy. Had always rescued before.

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    1. Sir Valium. What a fitting name for a calm dog.

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  11. Absolutely perfectly said.

    I have a dog from a backyard breeder (he's my heart dog), and I have a dog from rescue. They are both amazing dogs.

    I think (and it's just my opinion) that a lot of people that get involved with rescue tend to only see the seedy side of it. The dogs that are overbred and exploited. They tend to forget that there are good breeders out there. And there is nothing wrong with getting a dog from a good and responsible breeder.

    But that is the entire problem with this world, isn't it? Everyone wants everyone else to conform to their idea of what is right.

    I'm just curious here...did you hold your tongue, or did you light that jackwagon up like he was a Christmas tree? ;-)

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    1. I use to be shy in my 20's and 30's but now as I am well into my 40's I seem to be a lot more at ease with bringing on a debate. When someone now does something like Amanda mentions (and it happens ALL.The.Time.) I am forcefully but still politely VERY likely to open a can of proverbial whoop ass. LOL!

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    2. Good for you! I'm well into my 50's and still looking for that confidence to not care what others think. I tend to lean more towards the diplomatic side if possible, but I really want to get to that I don't give sh*t point. :-)

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  12. Who gives a rat's ass where your dog came from! I think your child analogy is a perfect example of how you wouldn't ask if the child was adopted or blood. How rude people can be. I really don't understand that guy's reaction when you told her Nola wasn't a rescue. Did that suddenly make her or you less than? Disgusting!

    I've got one better-tell someone you bred your own dogs and had a litter. That will get you some looks. Been there, done that.

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  13. In the flyball world, we have a lot of responsibly bred, purpose bred mixed breeds. Which is taboo even to most people who support responsible purebred breeders. And I just don't get it. The dogs are healthy, they find good homes, and they are able to do things with and for their owners that most shelter dogs those owners have access to would be unable to do. Shelter dogs can be great. But they can also have issues. Shelters in the area may not have any dogs that fit with what you need. And the major stigma on returning an adopted dog (how dare you, no matter how much that dog didn't fit with your family or even potentially endangered your family) means that if someone gets a shelter dog that doesn't work for them (dogs change as they settle in outside of a shelter- not always to the better for the home they are in), they either return them and get blacklisted by shelters, or they keep the dog, and suffer through years of having a dog they don't like or who doesn't work with their lifestyle. If you get a dog from a responsible breeder and it doesn't work out, the breeder can and will take the dog back or help find another home for them. And without judging you (unless your reason is that the dog doesn't match your new carpet or some such idiocy). But how dare you give up on a rescue dog.

    Most people don't want and aren't able to deal with a major project dog. And thanks to the no kill movement, a lot of shelter dogs are dogs who are not going to be good pets without a hellton of work, and potentially not even then. And just because you CAN work with a dog with those issues, doesn't follow that you HAVE TO adopt dogs with issues. Getting a well bred dog with a high chance of being exactly what you want and need in a dog is an option, and should continue being an option.

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  14. I think many people feel "my dog rescued me" no matter where they came from. As you said, it's the love for a dog, and their quality of care, that matters most. Strangely, I don't think I've ever felt weird when I reply to people that, no, Chester was not adopted. I tend to be oblivious to the subtle reactions, signs and signals though. I do admit that I've followed that statement up pretty quickly with "... but Gretel is" sometimes because I do fear judgement. I do it also because I am amazed and feel proud that I found a purebred Dachshund with a unique coat pattern at a rescue... and that the rescue chose ME out of over 100 applications to be her Mom!My next Dachshund is probably going to be from a responsible breeder though.

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  15. It doesn't matter where they came from - they ALL need a loving caring home.
    hugs
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

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  16. What infuriates me is how often people "recoil" not just from you the "owner" as a human for "shopping rather than adopting"... but from the dog. As if the dog had ANY idea why it was suddenly getting a cold shoulder. And they DO feel that.

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  17. After reading a lot of other blog posts about rescue vs breeders I came to the decision that a lot of people are completely unable to see the other side of the issue. I don't know if it's because they themselves aren't familiar with good breeders or what, but I've seen so many mean spirited comments towards people if they didn't rescue, and it really pisses me off. They're taking one aspect of dog ownership & basing all of their judgments on it. Honestly I don't know if I would have realized how polarizing it is until I started reading those types of articles on the internet. It's not something I've seen in person, but regardless of where it's coming from it's got to hurt if they're talking about your dog. Your well cared for, well trained, & well adjusted dog.

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  18. I've said this for a long time and participated in several blogging campaigns, we need to change the educate and thus change the direction of the conversation. Most people don't have a friggin clue what a responsible breeder even is, they only think puppy mill when they hear breeder.

    Hey all those dogs didn't end up in the shelters because people were responsible about spaying and neutering and yet everyone tells you how wonderful it is if you have a mixed breed dog from a shelter. Where is the outrage about the idiots that are letting their dogs run free, mate, and create dogs they can't afford, have no ability to provide for, and nobody wants???? Why is it so wonderful we are encouraging irresponsible breeding and vilifying those who are promoting healthy breed standards?

    As someone who has been looking at 3 regional rescues since last fall there aren't tons of pure bred young Shelties waiting for homes in this area bred by evil breeders and thus homeless. Why, because most breeders have contracts that ask you to bring your dog back to them!!! They don't want their dogs in rescue/shelters. That's why I have moved to talking to breeders who might have dogs looking for homes. There just aren't tons of irresponsible breeders in this area overproducing stocks of Shelties. This is the reason why people turn to breeders. Start vilifying the people who create these mixed breed puppies when they fail to spay and neuter and then dump them on the shelters. Stop attacking the people who are responsibly breeding and have waiting lists for their puppies and adult dogs and move to the people who are filling shelters because they can't face the idea of spay and neuter and then dump the puppies that are created because they didn't think too much about cause and effect. Not the result of quality breeders, but something that could be solved with campaigns to sponsor spay and neuter clinics.

    I will say I don't see having rescued a dog as making me special. You and I have had this discussion before. Rescue was the right choice for us the first few times. I've met some great people and some idiots participating in the rescue community. As Jen says I've worked to raise funds and have helped people find options for adoption when that is something they want.

    As someone who wasn't looking for a puppy Sheltie Rescue did work well twice, this time it has been a big fail and we are looking to local breeders to help us find a slightly older than puppy dog for our next animal.

    Having rescued and now going through the breeder process there are pros and cons to each. I have more choices and options this time, but it has been more work to find the dog we want.

    Movements can get twisted and sadly I think that has happened with the rescue movement. Both our previous dogs came from rescue. No I'm not expecting a parade, I'm setting up my next statement. I've been attacked several times because our dogs are purebreds not mutts and therefore there are some in the community that don't feel that is a "real" rescue. I'm not sure what it takes for a rescue other than the dog is homeless and in our case we worked with an official purebred rescue group. We've had people and even one family member give us tons of crap because we didn't go to the local pound and just pick up a mixed breed dog. It's nuts. I've stopped worrying about what they think.

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    1. My response to the question the gentlemen asked would be why do you care? What business is it of yours? We've become a very strange society where people feel they have a right to very personal information. Nobody has a "right" to know where my dogs came from because they are curious. I've shared my experience with breed rescue because there are people who think there aren't options for purebred dogs through rescue. It isn't always easy, but for us it was the perfect solution twice. I've helped a couple of people make connections with a purebred rescue. It doesn't make them better, it just solved a problem for them.

      My suggestion to all of us is we do keep educating the public about the difference between responsible breeders and puppy mills. How do you find a breeder and what do you ask to make sure you've found one. I'm getting a whole new education as I have started this journey. While rescue can be annoying, finding a good breeder is lots of work, especially in my case where you aren't looking for a puppy.

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  19. Exactly!! Ginger was from a responsible breeder but Matt is a "rescue" (he found us LOL)and my sis n law/brother gave my son Matilda. As long as you are providing a loving and caring home for an animal it should never matter where they came from. So sorry you had to experience that!!

    xoxo,
    Bell Fur Zoo Momma

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  20. ...and this is one of the reasons I love your blog! Thanks for always being you!

    I have 2 rescues and 2 pups from reputable breeders...and all that they are and/or will be on myself and my husband not where they came from.

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  21. I've mentioned before I think on one of your facebook posts...but I really do wish we didn't have a dog overpopulation issue. In a perfect world it would be amazing if you HAD to purchase your dog from a responsible breeder. I've had lots of luck with rescue mutts while I was growing up, zero health problems and long lives. We also had a purebred border collie who was my best friend in high school, sadly he passed away at age 6 from a nasty fast growing tumor, by the time we knew he had a problem it was inoperable.
    Being an adult, my husband and I chose to rescue our two current dogs and you know what? They have had the most health problems I've ever had to deal with! Allergies both environmental and food related, Ziva has bad joints and injured easily until we started putting muscle mass on her (helped alot!) but she'll probably need a knee surgery in the future, and most likely will have arthritis. Dante has lots of nose infections and will most likely continue to have them his whole life... My poor rescue pups did not get the best gene draw.

    I think people need to just mind their own business. Their are great dogs both purebred and rescue, you can find exactly what you want, both come with risks and their own issues. I just wish people would put more research into whatever dog that they were looking at getting.
    Our next dog (after Dante and Ziva are gone in a VERY LONG TIME) may very likely be a purebred from a responsible breeder, and i'll be doing a lot of research. But I would like to have a boston terrier, I love their energy and personality, I want a small dog and they don't come up often in rescue. :-)

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  22. Good job getting your point across. We have been in the same situation. Well guess what, my heart Lily is not a rescue, my Edward is. People need to mind their own business
    Momma, Lily & Edward

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  23. It's a decision every oet oarent needs to make for themselves. We don't scoff at humans for having a baby when there are so many children needing homes, why are pets so different? We were scared of the reaction when we adopted Bailie, who like me is from a breeder. Mom has had rescue dogs, but at this time in her life that isn't her choice for many reasons. As long as the breeeder is reputable and the dog has a good home, who really cares. My mom is proud to tell everyone we are purebreds that she waited a long time to get from good breeders.

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  24. Very well said! I'm also tired of defending pure bred dogs - for Pete's sake I shouldn't have to really - and breeders. It's all about responsibility on the part of the breeder and the owner. Thank you for writing this!

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  25. I believe that this is part of the polarization and judgementalism that is taking over our world. People think that their way is the only way and don't stop to think about why their way might not be the best way for everyone else on earth. I've felt the same way as you, for almost all of our dogs have come from breeders. We know exactly what kind of dog fits our lifestyle (not just a breed, but a subset within that breed), and we want to be sure that we get a dog who is a good match for us. Shyla happened to turn out to be a "rescue" within that category, and I don't regret adopting her at all. However, that doesn't mean that I won't get a dog from a responsible breeder in the future.

    I try to steer clear of people with the attitude that their choices are superior to everyone else's choices and can't open their minds to the issues that others might be facing or considering in their decisions. Rabid adopters can fall into this category even though I do admire their dedication to saving dogs who need homes.

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  26. Try being a breeder of Dachshunds. Breeders are under attack, regardless of how great they are (trust me, lots of variation there in what makes a good breeder). The irony is that by only rescuing, you are inadvertently supporting producers and owners who generally aren't responsible. The more we support breeders who give a shit, the less need there is for sheltering,because we are careful with placements and take dogs back at any time. Rescue is as much of a business as anything else. (And I did rescue for 14 years, and I've shown/bred dogs for 18 years). When I did rescue, my goal was always to put myself out of business. If people think where they got their dogs from make them better people, they need a psychologist, not a dog.

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    1. You are exactly right. Also, these days, many of those dogs in "rescue and shelters" are IMPORTED from other states and even other countries. Some of them have brought in disease problems, too. The shelters do this to make money-they have to have the "kinds" of dogs that people want. Rescues, too. They often have dogs brought in from other states without giving the dog's owner, perhaps, time to find the dog locally. They just steal it. We all know the horror stories of "rescues" NOT giving dogs back to owners and even to teh Breeders who feel responsible for them, should a puppy buyer turn out to not be as wonderful as we first thought.

      People do seem to want to be so judgemental of EVERY SINGLE THING we do of late.
      If someone asks where you dog came from, just say "heaven" or "why do you ask"? Or, you know, let them really have it!

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  27. You're written a really good post, and I hope it has reached a wide audience. As someone who has worked in rescue for 15 years now, I know the attitude you are referring to. Personally, I consider people who feel that way about breeders as small minded. There are many good breeders out there who are truly dedicated to their breed, and there is not a thing wrong with what they do. I've met many of them and I have an enormous amount of respect for what they do, and am grateful to them, it's a huge commitment to bring puppies into the world. And if we hadn't met a "good breeder" the first time we got a dog, we would never have gotten our second, and become involved in rescue. But on the flip side of all this, I have to add, that there are breeders who feel that rescues have only the outcast and worst of the breed, which we all know isn't true -- Many of the dogs I've had win "best in show" any day over a perfectly coiffed show dog! :-)

    PS: Our Scottie came from a breeder, and to some this may be crazy, but one thing that I love about that, is that I know his birthday. :-)

    ***Thanks again for a really good post!!!

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  28. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you wrote except one: breeder IS better than rescue. Here's why. Puppies who are purpose bred are cared for from the time they are conceived. They start with parents who have been tested for health issues. Their mothers are well-fed and cared for during the pregnancy. From the time they are born, they are stimulated and socialized and so they develop into dogs who are confident and smart. This is not to say that a dog from a shelter can't be confident and smart-- but they are facing an uphill battle to get there. They often come into this world willy-nilly-- perhaps whelped outside, with issues surrounding nutrition and cleanliness and parasites-- all which affect their development. Maybe they're placed by being handed out in a parking lot, or given to somebody's brother in law or sold for a few bucks on Craigslist. They're not trained or socialized so once they're not cute anymore, they're surrendered to a shelter or rescue, where they land with a whole lot of baggage. I've worked in shelters, I've volunteered in shelters, I've been involved in dog rescue for more than 30 years. But I've also bred and raised and trained and shown dogs-- and it is from many decades of experience that I know if you want a quantifiably better dog, then go to a breeder.

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    1. I agree with every word. Very well said. From one breeder to another, thanks for saying this is the best way possible!

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  29. Love this so much!!! It's quite ridiculous that people judge others simply by if their dog is a rescue or from a breeder. I get that question a lot - mine are all from responsible breeders and when people ask I tell them. Those who know that I do agility often say something like, 'Oh, but you do agility so then it's okay that your dogs came from breeders.'. Ummm... it's okay for ANYONE to get a dog from a breeder, even if they aren't going to compete in dog sports. I don't understand people - it's almost like they have to justify it to themselves (out loud) that it's okay that my dogs came from breeders?

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  30. I believe you should just enjoy your dog and walk away. No one has any right to tell you what dog is right for you. I believe rescues are a wonderful part of life, but if what you wanted was a pure bred dachshound, you went about it in the correct way. And, looks like you have a wonderful dog!

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  31. Thank you!
    Doxie Love!
    Tasso and Mommy

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  32. Thank you!
    Doxie Love!
    Tasso and Mommy

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  33. When I get my next Basset Hound, she will be from a well researched responsible breeder. I support rescues in other ways than adoption. Great post and I'm sorry that you experienced that reaction.

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  34. I work hours every day rescuing dogs. I founded Tejas Coonhound Rescue and Texas Great Dane Rescue. I co-founded http://www.CoonhoundCompanions.com/. I've also been an officer of Heart of Texas Great Dane Club and Alamo Great Dane Club, both oriented toward breeders. Most of our dogs have been rescue, but we've also bought two Great Danes from responsible breeders. I make apologies for neither our rescue dogs, nor our breeder dogs. If people who spend so much energy condemning those on the "other side of the fence" devoted that energy to making dog lives better we'd all be better off.

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  35. Great blog post, thanks for putting yourself out there. I hope you do find that it does, long term, matter where one buys a dog. Breeders provide a lifetime of support for buyers, and a safety net if the unthinkable ever happens. And all breeders I know are also involved in #TrueRescue work. IMO, we must all work together against #RetailRescue and #FauxRescue.

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  36. Wonderful post. Thank you for your dedication to your breed as well as your dedication to preserve the right of choosing where our companions come from.

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  37. Wonderful post. Thank you for your dedication to your breed as well as your dedication to preserve the right of choosing where our companions come from.

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  38. While I am a staunch supporter of rescue, I'm an equally strong supporter of choice. What's right for me is not what's right for everyone. In the world of dogs, the most important think is that every dog finds a loving home and that every dog owner finds the dog they will love to the ends of he earth and back. Thank you for loving your dog enough to provide good food and good training. That's what every dog, no matter where they started out life, deserves.

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  39. As a responsible breeder (and proud to be one! of my beloved Standard Poodles) I really appreciate this post. I receive hate messages every single day... People tell me they wish I was dead. They tell me that I don't deserve to own dogs. They tell me I don't love my dogs. They tell me I am the reason for the problems in the world... My dogs are fully health tested and come from excellent pedigrees.. They are fed the best food, have more toys than they could ever want, have their own full size bed to sleep in next to mine.. I love them. They are my family. I love the breed and choose to try and improve it and continue it. I am meticulous in choosing the homes for their kids and stay in contact and offer support for the life of the puppy. I take them back when it's needed... I love this breed. I love dogs. I HAVE a rescue.. but I am constantly belittled for my life choice of being a breeder. So really, thank you for posting this.. It's important for people to know that responsible breeders are NOT the reason we have dogs in shelters. Backyard breeders and puppy mills are something we can all agree need to stop because they contribute to the problem. Thanks for reading my long comment, I just had to say, I love this post !

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    1. The problem is we need to define the difference because people really don't know. What started as a move to end bad breeding done in puppy mills and backyard breeding ending up morphing into a backlash against all breeders which is ridiculous, but sadly what often happens when movements end up as slogans not focused on the logic of the movement.

      It is time the adults in the room spoke up clearly and in very understandable language to explain where healthy dogs come from and how responsible breeders are responsible for that.

      There will be no dogs available if the movement continues to try to push breeders out of business and promoting only rescue. Since rescue sterilizes their dogs eventually, with responsible breeders shut down the market will be underground backyard breeders.

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  40. Very well said. I think adoption is a great thing with so many animals in need. However if no one bought animals from responsible breeders pure bred animals would eventually cease to exist. I have three pure bred cats. Two I purchased from a responsible breeder, one was from a not so good breeder who I believe has long since went out of business. That one actually went a long way toward tracing me to research the breeder. I buy them because I truly love this breed (Cornish Rex) and their phenomenal personality. They are all well cared for, spayed and not reproducing. I've also helped out with rescue groups before as I know they do good work as well. It's a personal choice and shouldn't be a cause for animosity from anyone.

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  41. I am starting to respond to "that" question with my own questions - Do you have children? If the answer is yes - Are they adopted? If the answer is no - There are so many unwanted children in the world why didn't you adopt?

    It's time to start asking questions that make "those" people uncomfortable and perhaps make them think, really think.

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  42. thank you for this. I have met folks who have expended considerable energy trying to convince me (a) that I should have gotten a rescue dog instead and then (b) that the breeder I got him from was probably irresponsible. This was just after bumping into the person, someone I don't know, at the park.

    It isn't merely the rudeness of the question but the presumption that I didn't think things through and that it's perfectly acceptable to try to convince me that my decision (a decision that can't be undone at this point) was a terrible one.

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  43. You're getting a lot of love and applause for this post but I'm not really seeing anyone challenge you. So allow me to step into this echo chamber.

    I can applaud you for being a good dog mom. And I can applaud you for openly loving your dog unapologetically. But I can't applaud you for being brave or being insightful.

    If you want to be brave: Please explain why, when well-adjusted dogs of all breeds (pure bred and mixed) are being killed by the millions (2.7 million every year), you chose to buy your dog from a breeder?

    If you want to be insightful: Tell us if you explored the option of going to a dachshund rescue. And if you did, tell us why you still chose to buy your dog from a breeder.

    No. The adoptive parent/child analogy is not helpful. If unwanted children were being euthanized in shelters by the millions every year, then yes, maybe it would be an accurate analogy. But then we would have much greater societal issues to be debating.

    I don't think breeders are bad people and I don't think you're a bad person because you bought your dog from one. But let's really address the reason this "adopt don't shop" debate exists and not answer the tough questions just to make ourselves feel better.

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    1. You can't pick your relatives. You can't pick your children. But you can pick your dog. Knowing that all rescue dogs are not "well adjusted",& "issues" being very common, how much do you want to KNOW about the next member of your family? Are your small children a concern? Will the dog have to "work"(e.g. hunt birds, shepherd sheep, protect) If none of these questions mean much to you, then a rescue dog just might suffice. Otherwise you need a good breeder. If you want a family dog with dual purpose, then you NEED a good breeder who KNOWS & UNDERSTANDS not just the breed characteristics, but those specific to his dogs including temperment,personality, & abilities.

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    2. Cool. I can accept that. Thanks for replying.

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    3. That above is the reason why most of us go to responsible breeders over a rescue. I have a maine coon and a ferret - when my current elderly dog goes over the rainbow bridge I am getting a pure-bred dog.
      Not because there aren't rescues somewhere in this world that might fit the family (my last 2 cats and three birds showed that) but I want the security of knowing the temperament and prey-drive of my next puppy. Not taking a chance on those two things with the lives of my current animals is premier.

      There is also the fact, many of us 'pure-breed' owners and breeders are rescuers/adopters/supporters ourselves. Even if we can't take one, we support those who do.

      There should be no adverse reaction for where you got your pup. ALL this anger should be directed into either fixing laws and targeting those who abuse, dump or indiscriminately breed.

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    4. ^^^^^

      Not all dogs and cats that are euthanized year after year are a responsible breeder's problem. Good, ethical, responsible breeders sell their dogs and cats by contracts, health guarantees, etc and most of them state in their contracts that if you ever cannot keep the animal for any reason then they must come back to the breeder. In Florida, anyone can make a contract and make it legally binding, you do not need an attorney to drawl one up, every single cat I've purchased from breeders or was bought/given from people that bought them from breeders had contracts on the animal. More to the story, since good breeders actually care about their dogs or cats they will make sure that that animal never ends up in a shelter. I don't know about dogs, but with cats only 2% of the cat population in the WORLD are purebred. That means 98% of cats are of no particular breed, just stray cats/owner surrenders/'oops' litters from irresponsible people. I've been in several shelters and rescue centers. I've only seen 1-3 purebred cats. Also, good breeders will either a: spay/neuter the animals they sell, or b: place the animal by contract that you must have them spayed/neutered before a certain age (typically 4-6 months in my experience). So I'd say there is only a 1-3% chance that their animals will end up in shelters.


      Second of all; while there are many good, reputable rescue centers out there (and many are breed specific) the animals typically do not resemble (nor do they have the quailty usually) of a cat or dog from a breeder. I am not saying that those animals are bad or not beautiful, but if you're already willing to spend several hundred or even thousands of dollars on a cat or dog, why not just go with a good breeder and AKC/TICA papers to prove that that animal is exactly what you're looking for? I understand that not everyone can afford a purebred so they go with a breed rescue (and I think that's a great idea) but if you're a active show exhibitor (like I am) with your breed, then you won't find what you're looking for in a breed rescue. These animals typically do not have pedigrees and most associations will not accept them in the show ring. Not that they're not beautiful or unique but they're not up to the standard of your breed. Some breed rescue organizations will charge you several hundred dollars for a animal that they usually cannot prove its lineage. If you're buying a purebred you might as well get its papers to prove that it is a actual specimen of your breed.

      Also, not everyone lives where there are breed specific rescues.

      I have 2 beautiful and loving 'street' cats that I got from a high kill shelter almost 10 years ago, do I love them any less than my purebred Ragdolls? Of course not. Will I get more cats from shelters in the future? Yes. Will I buy purebred animals from good, ethical breeders in the future? You bet. I've resuced, I've fostered both purebred and mixed bred cats and a dog. In addition to my 2 street cats and my 2 purebred Ragdolls, I also rescued a Persian cat. She was adopted at 12 years old (now she is 13 years old), she has been neglected and she came to me with fleas, mats in her coat everywhere, a bad urinary tract infection, and did I mention that she is blind in both eyes? Her owner and their kids were killed in a car accident. The husband could no longer care for Angel and he gave her to me.


      The Ragdolls' Ive purchased came from lesser backgrounds, but they still needed homes. I do not give a fuck if someone thinks buying from good breeders is bad or cruel. It is not. Grow up and worry about real life problems.
      For the people that have been attacked (I've been there) by arm chair activists of the internet please ignore them, they do not represent people with different interests or ideas. We need to focus on real life problems and not people that attack others over simple life decisions.

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  44. Well written! I'm so sorry you experienced and continue to experience this. I love what you say about not being an us vs them. While my last 2 have been rescues one of my best friends is a responsible breeder.

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  45. Totally worth the read. Thank you for expressing so clearly. I am on the other end of the stick. I have two rescues but I am a part of the AKC Kennel club in my area. My husband (who got me in the club) has Borzoi from a responsible breeder. Those in the club that I meet, as well as at dog shows, give me a negative response because I have rescues. These dogs both chose me and I am proud to share my life with them. I don't care what their parentage is. It's just another form of racism.

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  46. Excellent post.

    It's incredibly rude and arrogant for someone to behave like that just because your dog is from a breeder. These situations reek of a desperation to have some sort of recognition for one's efforts with a rescue.

    I live with my fiancé, and we each have a dog (in fact, we met because of them at the dog park). Mine is a rescue, his is from a breeder. I sincerely hope he has never received that kind of treatment for his decision to buy Emmitt as a puppy. That decision came after he tried to care for a rescue. It sadly wasn't a good fit. He told me the story, and he tried his damnedest to make it work before he brought her back, and was heartbroken when he did. But in my opinion he made a responsible decision because he knew it wouldn't work. And Emmitt is the most wonderful mini Aussie. My fiancé loves him unconditionally, and they have an incredible bond.

    My dog is a rescue. But I adopted her BECAUSE she is a whippet mix. Ever since I was a kid I researched dog breeds, and while I was on my own in college I had come to the conclusion that sight hound breeds would be the perfect fit for me. A friend adopted Echo's sister, and when she told me there were two more at the shelter I jumped at the opportunity. But the first few months I had Echo I considered bringing her back several times. Her anxiety and neuroses were nearly impossible to handle. None of the traditional training methods I knew of or looked up helped (besides teaching tricks). I had to work with her to find what was best for her, but along the way there were still many accidents, destroyed carpet, and destroyed objects. We persevered through it (somehow), and she is now the most incredible dog I could have ever hoped for. But my choice to adopt her was because of her breed. And I know many, many people would not be cut out for rehabilitating a rescue like Echo (I am amazed that I somehow did it because so many times k felt it was hopeless). And what truly helped her more than anything was her friendship with Emmitt. Each has managed to help the other with socialization, and the growth has been unbelievable.

    I see both sides of the arguments. I can understand both points of view. There are both wonderful and terrible breeders out there, and you may or may not find your soulmate from a shelter. Echo is not superior to Emmitt nor am I superior to my fiancé because I rescued her. They are both loved (more than I can express without sounding somewhat insane), well-cared for, magnificent dogs.

    If someone does significant research before purchasing from a breeder, has the time and money for the dog, loves it, and properly trains, cares for, and socializes it, I think it is safe to assume that person is a responsible dog owner. They should not be chastised for their informed decision. Dogs breeds have specific traits that people desire or are most appropriate for their lifestyle.

    What should really matter here is if the dogs are loved and well cared-for.

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  47. Bravo!
    I do wish you had mentioned, however, that dogs are not "adopted". They are BOUGHT from wherever you get them.
    Most of those little dogs in shelters come from other states or even other countries. You buy one of those and you are condemning a local dog-not so cute-to die, right?

    People are so self-righteous about things they know nothing about. "Breeder" is not synonymous with "puppy mill". Have the brains to know the difference.

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  48. I am a breeder. I also do rescue.

    I have been involved in the fancy, via my mother, since infancy. I feel having a dog(pet in general) teaches you compassion at a very early age. You learn that animals are not disposable. My mother has always told me, "there are a lot of nice dogs in someone's backyard but if you do not have health & temperament, you have nothing". Most BYB breed to make extra $, as we all know that showing dogs is an expensive hobby and when you do it right there is no $ in it. However, I'm not going to drop thousands of dollars on my show dogs if I knew they would perpetuate sick offspring, that would have a negative impact on the integrity of my breed (Boston Terriers). Like the majority of show breeders, I believe that breeding dogs is not a right, but a privilege and as such there are responsibilities incumbent upon anyone who undertakes to do so. These responsibilities include the stewardship of the breed. What benefits the overall health and welfare of the dogs must take precedence over what benefits the people. And frankly, when I do breed a litter it is for myself, to continue my bloodline and my hobby. I can't keep every puppy that is born. So that is where heavily screened applicants come into to play. All dogs are placed on alter contracts and I have a "Home Again" policy in place and my dogs have NEVER ended up in rescue if a family could not keep their dog. It is so much easier to place a puppy that has 6 generations of positive health testing, temperament testing, and champions behind it then a rescue with questionable origins.

    I currently have an 8 year old rescue staying with me. This dog was an "owner surrender" and the dog was bred by a massive mill about 100 miles from where I live. I know this because I have spoken to the dogs breeder and she refuses to take the dog into her home. Had I not opened my home to this dog, he would have ended up in a shelter.

    Most dogs that end up in shelters come from this type of scenario. Breeders that breed for quick cash. Many feel it's easy money. However, desperate times call for desperate measures and I refuse to look down on a single mother whom has bred a litter of puppies to put food on the table to feed her three kids.

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  49. I love this post and I am sorry there are people in this world who seem to believe they know what is best for someone else or who believe they know what is right in this world. I wish people, like the ones you have encountered who do rescue, would take off their rose-colored glasses and actually look at the reality. Some of the dogs in rescues and shelters are not fit for some people - whether it be a behavioral or breeding or whatever the issues are in dogs. Then you get that first time dog owner who adopts one of the dogs with issues - not every shelter or rescue has the resources to follow up, work with the new owner and new dog - that new owner may not want to invest or can't invest the time and money it takes to work out those issues - IF the issue can be worked out. So, what happens to that dog with the hidden issue that was adopted - either it ends up back in the shelter or dumped on the streets or worse yet, euthanized.

    I was reading one of the comments here and it brought up another problem with adopting from a shelter or rescue - dogs that are shipped in from out of city, state or even country. Besides the possibility of health and behavioral issues - I don't want to be walking that dog down the street sometime and have someone come up to me and claim it is theirs - it does happen. We had it happen here in my city - a dog had been turned in to our local shelter which holds animals for a few days to give the owner a chance to claim it. Then, if the animal is not claimed within that timeframe, it goes up for adoption. A dog had been turned in and put on hold giving the owners a chance to claim him - no owners came forward in that given timeframe and the dog was put up for adoption - and was adopted the next day. The original owners had been out of town on vacation and returned a few days AFTER the dog had been adopted. This happened a few years ago and the shelter said it was going to change their procedure - I lost track of how it turned out. altho I do know the shelter got a new director not long after that. Maybe things have improved with our shelter concerning this but I would not want to find out the hard way and besides, I know it still happens elsewhere. Just like the irresponsible breeders out there, there are those rescues and shelters that are also irresponsible.

    I did get both of my Beagles from a responsible breeder - I saw other dogs who were related in some way - parents, aunt, uncle, brother - the puppies were all healthy and well taken care of. I got the vet certificate documenting their first visit. Then I raised those Beagle puppies from the time they were 8 weeks. Angel Shiloh, who died from cancer earlier this year at almost 13 years, had earned his CGC, had been a registered therapy dog most of his life until MY health issues got in the way. He was also a Reading Education Assistance Dog. All the same goes for Lady Shasta except the READ dog - which is based on how skittish she can be - like you, I know this about her, she has been that way most of her life. I am darn proud of what we accomplished together. What's next - I'm not sure but like I said in my Facebook comment - that is MY choice. Just like dogs, we humans have our quirks - no two people are exactly the same. I have enough people in my life trying to tell me what to do - I don't need someone trying to dictate where I get my next dog. Now, before this comment turns into a short novel, I will stop.
    Mom Kim @ Team Beaglebratz

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  50. Delilah's a rescue but my next couple of dogs will be from reputable breeders. I'd rather skip the health and behavioral issues I'm facing with Delilah next time around and have physically sound, mentally stable sports dogs/pets. I'm glad to have had the rescue experience and will probably rescue again in the future, but I think buying from a breeder is just as legit a choice.

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  51. I have rescued 6 dogs and my latest 2 come from a great breeder. I don't have to apologize to any holier-than-thou pain in the ass "rescuer".
    Spending $1500 in one month on a sick dog put the final nail in the coffin for me. I now feed raw and have well bred dogs. If you want to criticize me, then I'll adopt a pound puppy and YOU be responsible monetarily for all Vet bills. Sound good? No? Then zip it.

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  52. Thank you :) I've shared the link to this article on my FB public page and my daughter's page as well. This division of the dog community needs to be a closed chapter ~ especially in the veterinarian community. They *should* know better.

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  53. Very well said. I'm so fed up of seeing people on Instagram ranting about how you should 'adopt not shop'. Adopting is a great thing to do, but the word 'shop' to me sounds like I'm being accused of going into a pet shop and buying a puppy, just because I wanted to. There's no shame in rescuing, nor buying from a responsible breeder. Any dog can love you no matter what background. You are a dog lover no matter where you get your beloved dog from, and you love them the same. Some people can't rescue and that's fine, and it's the same for those who can't buy from a reputable breeder. Either way, you're giving the dog the life they deserve. After all, if you rescued all the time then what would happen to the dogs at a reputable breeder?

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