YAY! YOU’VE DECIDED to get a dog. How exciting! Now that the decision has been made to extend the family, it’s time to decide where your fur baby comes from.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a big proponent of the rescue option. Lori and I rescued a pittie from a local rescue organization and our lives have never been the same. Every day Sadie brings happiness and humor and not a little bit of frustration into our home, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Having rescued a pit bull who was living on borrowed time, rescue truly seems like the only option. I don’t fault anyone who buys a dog from a breeder. They know what they want and they are willing to spend the money to get it. The people I don’t understand are the ones who refuse to go anywhere but a breeder or a pet store to get their dog.
“I don’t want a shelter dog, because I don’t know what kind of temperament they are going to have. If I go to a breeder, then I know how they will act.” This sentiment from many people Lori and I have talked to, while somewhat understandable, is flawed. To be sure, there are breed standards that indicate how big a dog will be, what color and kind of coat they will have, and their temperament and intellect. However, dogs are just like people. Each dog is different and has, for lack of a better term, a personality. These breed standards are nothing more than what we’ll call an educated guess. There is no way to know for sure how a dog will think or behave until we get to know the dog.
“If I buy a puppy, then I can train him to behave exactly as I want him to. I won’t have to fix any unwanted behaviors that could have been trained into a shelter dog.” Again, understandable but flawed. It’s true that a shelter dog could come into your home with some less than desirable behaviors, or maybe minimal learned behaviors, but the first priority for every dog I’ve ever met is to please their alpha. If your rescue dog comes with a behavior you don’t like, it takes the same amount of training to change that behavior as to teach it in the first place.
I understand wanting a specific kind of dog. At least once a week, I will see a picture of a French bulldog online and ask Sadie if she wants a Frenchie brother. I’m not sure how many people realize that there are many rescues today who are devoted to specific breeds of dogs. A quick Google search for the desired breed will more than likely lead the prospective pet parent to a rescue specific to that breed.
Since we brought Sadie into our home, I have become much more aware of the plight of the shelter dog and see every day on Facebook the dogs that need to be taken from the shelter to their forever home. If I could adopt them all, I would. As that is not feasible, I have to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves and ask others to consider an experienced dog. It could turn out to be the best decision a person ever made.