Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why My Dogs Shouldn't Exist

I first posted this in 2013 in response to people on a message board who either wanted to breed their chihuahua simply because they are "cute" and it would be fun to have puppies or wanted to get a dog from a pet shop, puppy mill or otherwise shady and irresponsible breeder even though they know better.  When I wrote it I was angry, ranting, and more than a little bit upset- but my ramblings seem to have touched a few people so I have edited it and re-posted it again.  I share it today because this Thursday is Remember Me Thursday.  A campaign to remember the thousands of animals who have lost their lives in shelters and to shine a light upon the many waiting right now for homes of their own.

I am sitting here with three dogs that me and my husband love more than anything. They are family and I am so incredibly grateful to have them in my life. Copley was my first dog and he taught me to take a break and look at what is important in life. He gave me friendship, a hobby, and a reason to get out of the house every day. He has brightened my world in a way that ho human can and I LOVE him. And Kerri- she is beautiful, just gorgeous, so happy and goofy! She not only brings sunshine and light into my life but into the lives of so many other people as a therapy dog. Then Nova, my beautiful little diamond in the rough. She has been through so much in her short life yet she still has so much enthusiasm and desire to love!  They are just amazing wonderful creatures.

But dogs don't have to suffer for us to have them in our lives. In a perfect world I would be sitting here with three different dogs. Dogs who didn't go through hell to get where they are today. Dogs bred by responsible, caring breeders who know what they are doing. Copley has structural faults so bad that he is sure to get arthritis later in life. In fact he already sees a chiropractor! And his teeth- they are so messed up. He is like you took random parts from two totally incompatible breeds and just glued them together.

But people will always say that their pet store/puppy mill dog is healthy, has good knees etc. So lets say the puppies will not have totally messed up joints and teeth. Where will they go for the rest of their life. Can their homes afford to fix them? Will you be able to keep track of every one of the puppies and know how everything works out for them. If not I have news for you. Odds are one of those puppies is going to get thrown out a window in a supermarket parking lot, left at a bus station or dumped in the desert. In fact the LUCKY abandoned dogs are the ones that end up at the pound. The unlucky ones get out and fend for themselves, half starving out in the elements. The unlucky ones get used as bait dogs in a dog fighting ring. The unlucky ones get locked in a kennel for the rest of their lives being bred.

Some dogs win the rescue dog lotto. In my county sadly it is only about 50% of abandoned dogs who ever get a new home. Those 50% get picked up by people like me, and other wonderful rescuers who are cleaning up the dirty messes left by irresponsible breeders. We take the traumatized, beaten, abandoned dogs of the world and we spend the rest of their lives trying to convince them everything is going to be ok. That they can finally relax a little bit and enjoy life.

And what about me? One day I want to have a dog that has never been abandoned. A dog that has been raised properly and right by caring people who love it and are smart enough to keep it safe. I want vet bills to come from unexpected accidents and illnesses that no one could have predicted- not from lack of health testing and vet care. I want a dog with really short nails- you know that have nice short quicks because they have been trimmed regularly from puppyhood. I want a dog that I didn't have to drag terrified from a shelter the day I met it.

So if you want to breed your dog because it is cute, it is friendly and it would be fun to have puppies- wake up!!!!!!!! I know you may not think right now any of your puppies will end up abandoned- but they will. No one breeds their pets with the intention of them ending up unwanted- but it happens.

The absolute terror that guides every decision Nova makes is the responsibility of exactly one person- the one who bred her, or her mother, or whatever generation in her line first ended up on the street. But the saddest thing is that I bet that person is still doing it. Because they are living- like most other people- in ignorant bliss. They have no idea that the cute puppies they sell end up suffering these horrible fates. The best tool we have on our side is education. I can volunteer and save as many dogs as possible and it still won't stop the problem if we can't get to it's source and educate people.

So to responsible breeders- keep up the good work! The more puppy parents that are educated by good breeders and the more dogs sold to responsible owners and with spay/neuter contracts the better!

EVERYONE ELSE- wake up and smell the roses. My dogs may be the bees knees but I still wish you never bred them. The tired old argument "well my dog wouldn't exist without a puppy mill/BYB so therefore I can't say they are all bad" does not work on me. You don't need suffering to have a good dog- in fact they are much better off without it.

Please take the time today to think of all the unwanted pets out there and make sure you are not one of the people unknowingly making the problem worse.  If you are then what better way to honor the lives lost than to start doing something about it!  Spay or neuter your pet before they have another litter, educate yourself about homeless animals and think twice before you "rescue" that puppy in the window at the pet shop.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Copley Has A Great Picnic

A few weeks ago we attempted to go on a picnic with some friends (human and canine).  The picture above is what we ended up doing instead.  By "we" I mean me, Ben and Kerrigan.  Copley had a great day enjoying a picnic with his friends in a beautiful mountain meadow.  At least one of us got to enjoy the day.

We had packed up Copley, Kerri and a giant picnic to take up a mountain an an effort to get out of the impressively oppressive Vegas heat.  We met some friends and started a caravan up the mountain to meet even more friends, then our car broke down, then another car broke down.  To make a long story short we ended up leaving Copley to have a fun picnic with his friends Harvey and Mosby.  It is times like this that I am so grateful for amazing friends that I totally trust my dog with.  We were looking at the prospect of a tow truck ride in 100 degree heat and a long day at a car dealership- neither things that having a full sized dog at really seemed like a good idea.  Since then I have realized it is not normal to trust your friends so much with your pets- but I know that not only was Copley in good hands, but he enjoyed hanging out with some of this favorite dog buddies.

While Copley enjoyed his picnic we took Kerri on her first tow truck ride (the driver also has a chi at home and was so nice) then she took her first trip to a car dealership (where she was a big hit- they even brought her a little bowl of water in the waiting room).  Luckily the car only needed a little bit of warranty work and we were out for free in less than two hours.  Later we ended up picking Copley up at our friends house where he was having a great time barking at the neighborhood cats with his buddies.

So it may have been a bit of a bust of a day (and I had like cooked for days for this picnic) but it left me grateful for a few things-
  • A dog that is so well behaved that she is not trouble inside a car dealership
  • Friends who I trust totally and completely with my dogs
  • Hyundai warranty and roadside assistance
  • My new camo chihuahua sling by DreamChii that we not only used that day in the tow truck but have since taken hiking and to stores and we LOVE.  It both holds the dog close enough to your body that they don't swing around but also folds up tiny and looks like a tote bag for when the dog is just walking around.  Since I am a believer in my dog walking where ever she can I like a bag that just looks like a bag, not a giant dog purse when the dog is not in it.
  • Also a husband that thinks gender norms are stupid and chihuahuas are cool so he is willing to wear said chihuahua bag out in public.  Then let me post about it on the internet.
So not all bad right?  We are going to try to do another picnic again soon- please put a good word in with the universe for us on this one.  I really would like to spend the day relaxing in a meadow.