A few weeks ago in Ithaca, New York we had something called “Dog Fest.” It was a glorious event with dogs of every color and many breeds with caring owners. I spoke to many of these owners and each of them told me the stories of their dogs. They told me where they got them, how the dog began to adjust, the names of their dogs, and their relationships with their dogs. There was one real common thread that ran through these stories. The dogs were always rescued and adopted.
In Ithaca, this makes a lot of sense to me. It is a very liberal town with educated people, but the more stories I heard, the sadder I became. The stories ranged from a Keeshond who was sent to a kill shelter because of a deformed penis and an Alaskan Malamute that was saved from a puppy mill. It struck me that I simply did not know enough about the treatment of dogs in America which caused me to do a bit of research and share that with you.
To begin with, I will start with what a puppy mill is since I spoke of it last. According to the ASPCA, “a puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog breeding facility where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.” Because puppy mills focus more on profit than anything they minimize everything else. This includes veterinary care, food, water, socialization, and even space in the actual mills. Female dogs are bred constantly with no time to recover and the puppies are sold as early as eight weeks old to pet shops, over the internet, through newspaper ads, and other places. The dogs that are not sold are simply kept in the mills in small wire cages that hurt their paws and legs while the female dogs are used until they can’t be used anymore and then euthanized. There are other issues with the actual breeding process of the dogs, but I hope that’s enough information for you to understand why actually buying dogs from wherever you may is not a great idea.
The second place I want to focus on is the kill shelter. Kill shelters euthanize more than 10% of their pets in their care. However, the reason for the euthanasia of these animals is that they need to make space for other animals. These are shelters that people can adopt from and often shelter volunteers will post pictures everywhere of the dogs that may need to be put down soon due to the amount of time they’ve been there. The term “kill shelter” was coined by the “no-kill” movement. No-kill shelters do not euthanize unless their pets are very ill but are also pickier on what dogs they might accept.
I hope these definitions push you to understand why adoption is more necessary now than ever along with getting your animals ‘fixed’. For animals to reproduce more is for there to be more animals in the world and there truly are enough. Puppies are great and cute, but so are full-grown dogs. There are many animals without forever-homes out there. Don’t shop. Adopt.