I am a self-proclaimed dog enthusiast. I was born second to a beautiful German Shepherd named Greta, who was part of a six-litter family, her mother owned by our next-door neighbor. She didn’t so much take to strangers and despite her somewhat hostile demeanor, lived twelve blissful years. I have since owned two other dogs–Bruce, a lazy Beagle who went to my sister when I left for university, and Charley, a nine-year-old retriever-spitz who can no longer take on my wretched staircase.
Charley is a rescue, and granted, I get a lot of praise for taking on an ill senior dog. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a commendable thing. Special needs animals demand a hell of a lot more time and attention. I often hear that “Every dog deserves a second chance.” So why don’t pet store animals seem to have the same privilege?
Puppy mill rescues are often highly commended because dogs are mishandled, most ending up with diseases like Parvo and distemper. Many of these animals end up in Petcos across the nation, and yet potential owners are discouraged from purchasing them by animal rights groups.
Understandably, a rise in the pet store market will keep puppy mills in business. But what is the distinction between “rescuing” an animal from a mill and “rescuing” an animal from a pet store?
Perhaps the issue doesn’t lie with where an animal comes from, but rather, in responsible breeding. People often turn to pet stores due to the variety of breeds they boast. While it wouldn’t be impossible, finding a “trendier” dog (such as a Pug or French Bulldog) wouldn’t be a likely scenario at a shelter.
Puppy millers make it their business to achieve two things: quantity and diversity. More breeds, higher interest. More puppies, higher income. And in certain climates, breed does matter. Huskies, for example, who are naturally thick-maned, are not likely to thrive in tropical countries, whereas smaller breeds with shorter fur (such as the Chihuahua) would suffer in areas with harsh winters.
Breeders need to eliminate the notion of breeding smart and instead breed native. I had once been sent a collection of charts matching particular breeds to their domestic origins and–spoiler alert–Huskies hail from Russia.
Allergies, which affect 30% of adults and 40% of children, also remain to be an issue for those seeking a suitable pet. More often than not, a person with severe allergies will have very limited to no choices at a shelter–in fact, some dogs remain longtime residents at local pounds because their owner had allergies.
Like most pressing issues that circulate, the puppy mill epidemic demands awareness. We need to see an influx in pet owners who are well-educated in Pets 101.
Stop supporting notoriously bad breeders. One simple reason for their existence? Owners who refuse to pay full-price for a puppy birthed and raised with care. The whole “you get what you give” thing? Totally applicable.
Spay and neuter your pets and know when you are ready for another one. Contemplating a new addition to the family may be easy when your dog is in heat. But what happens when your single new addition turns out to be five puppies over?
Report abuse. We can’t singlehandedly shut down all the world’s puppy mills, but we can attack the problem from its source.
Free yourself from judgment. Don’t attempt to sway a person from his or her decisions. You may find yourself barking up the wrong tree, pun fully intended.