As some of you know I have a twitter, @yourpositivedog which is tied to this blog. Tonight Peta made a comment against the Westminster Dog Show and purebred dogs using the #WKCDogShow tag and this started a bit of a back and forth between myself and them.
They used this pro-shelter article in a post against me.
Now I am not against pet360, they share a lot of wonderful information and share both sides of many topics. In looking at this article though, I saw a lot of very biased or downright incorrect information. Here’s a breakdown of some things I noticed in this article.
1)You’ll save a life.
This is true for the majority of shelters. Shelters usually run on a system where after a certain period of time if a dog is not adopted they will be humanely killed. I say killed and not euthanized here because they are killed. I reserve euthanization as a term to be used only in situations where everything possible has been done for the dog and it is a quality of life and health decision, not a convenience.
This however is becoming less and less the norm as “No-Kill” shelters exist. These shelters will keep an animal as long as it takes to get them adopted. These are no Kill, not no euthanize as they do euthanize dogs whose quality of life has deteriorated to the point where it would be inhumane to keep them alive.
The downside of this is that in areas of high populations, an animal may be turned away from a shelter because they are at capacity.
Let it be known, though Peta may use the term “euthanize” very freely, they do not use it in the way that No-Kill shelters or I do. Peta’s VA shelter is NOT a No-Kill shelter.
2.) Wide variety of choices.
This will vary depending on time of year, your location, and various other factors. An example of this is that in my hometown, Cleveland, most dogs you find in any shelter in the area is a Pit-Mix. Also, most of the dogs in our shelters are either between 2 and 4 yrs or upwards of 9.
3.) Basic Health Care Provided.
If you decide to get a shelter dog please be sure that they follow this rule! This is what most No-Kill shelters do. This simply means that if a dog is ill or injured when they receive it, the shelter will do all within their ability to save the animal. Their first reaction will not be to kill the animal. The shelter might even raise funds to help pay for a costly procedure rather than write a dog off. This also means that the day-to-day upkeep of a dog is done to keep the dog in healthy form.
Peta, as we have learned, does not offer this to their animals.
4.) Adoption saves money.
This is true, adoption usually doesn’t even 100% cover the cost of upkeep for a dog. This lower cost makes dog ownership more available to people.
Before adopting a person should still be sure they are financially, physically, and mentally prepared for a dog as the cost of ownership is the same regardless of what the cost to get the dog was. Adoption is also usually faster than getting a dog from a responsible purebred breeder and so it should be known that dog ownership should not be a spur of the moment decision. Talk with your family and assess your situation before even visiting a shelter.
5.) It’s a gift that keeps on giving.
This would seem to be true but as I mentioned above, the adoption fee usually doesn’t cover the full cost of the day-to-day upkeep for a dog in a shelter, especially if they had been there for a while. Rather, what “keeps on giving” and keeps shelters running are donations.
It is not unreasonable to look into where different donations, adoption fees, and other money going into a shelter are put towards and it is not rude to ask!
6.) You won’t be supporting puppy mills.
One would wish this were the case but in some situations it is not. The problem with shelter dogs is you do not ever know all of the answers. The beautiful 2 yr old you’re looking at through a gate could have been a puppy mill dog. In adopting a shelter dog you aren’t directly supporting a puppy mill, but you might be second hand as the first owner of that dog could have gotten him from one. The only way to know that you aren’t supporting a puppy mill is by getting a dog from a responsible breeder.
7.) You can pick a house trained dog.
This is usually the case, but did you know dogs sometimes urinate because of stress or in submission. Your new dog also could never have been inside before, or they could have been improperly trained, or not trained at all. Again, you might not know.
8.) Rescue Dog Bond
One would hope that a dog will see this, that you are the person coming in to save them from their past. This isn’t always the case though. If that dog was abused by men, or even if they didn’t interact with men during the critical socialization period, that dog might always be wary of the men in your life. This is for anything the dog either was taught not to trust or not properly socialized with. Also, if the dog was improperly trained they could appear aggressive and uncontrollable because you as the new owner don’t know the dogs triggers.
I am not against shelter or rescue dogs. The first two dogs in my life were rescues. I am against spreading incorrect information and in using fear or emotional tactics. Please, please, please, do your homework before even thinking of getting a dog. Learn the facts and do not make rush decisions.
Dogs are forever.
Not until the dog gets old.
Not until you have a kid.
Not until you get married.
Not until you move and find it hard to get an apartment with a 40 lb dog.
If you adopt, through a shelter, rescue, or breeder, please do so knowing that you are bringing that animal into your life for all of its life.