Maybe it’s just me. I am scrolling thru my social media feeds and then, I see the post. A friend who just got a new dog or a new cat. At first, I get excited thinking about visiting the new addition, and wonder what they will name him or her. Then, I wonder what shelter or rescue that they adopted from. I mean, I don’t even think that they may have bought him.
It is always in the back of my mind, the hope that they indeed went to a rescue or a shelter to pick out their new family member. They know the stats right? I am pretty sure that they do, since I share articles and posts about adopting all of the time and the need to do so. They surely know that over a million animals were killed in United States shelters last year. I want to ask directly if they adopted, but feel it is rude to do so. And that would be crazy. Crazy, I tell myself. So I just wait for someone else to do it.
Then, I get my answer and I am hit right in the stomach. They bought him? They bought him? Maybe it was a pet store, maybe a breeder. And I am devastated. It hurts. And I am going to admit it. It hurts bad. I want to ignore it, I want to be happy for them and the dog. After all, it isn’t the dog’s fault, is it? And I tell myself that. But somehow, I feel disrespected. It is like everything that I stand for is invalidated.
I spent the last year traveling the United States and I visited 48 shelters and rescues. I saw firsthand the plight of homeless animals, and the blatant disregard from humans for them. But I also saw the good people making a difference for these animals. And I know more than ever that every life matters. Also, every choice that we make matters. Yes, even those choices of my friends and family that I love so much. Do I want to hit “like” on that post when I see your beautiful pet? You bet I do. Yet, I feel that if I do so, it will speak volumes.
So, when I see your post on social media that you bought an animal, or that you bred an animal, it will hurt me. Will I still consider myself your friend? I will, but it will be different between us. And that is the honest truth. The more we ignore the problems facing animals in our country, the more those problems become bigger problems. I cannot understand, and never will, how people can put their own desires ahead of what is right. I have heard it all.
“I like a specific breed.” Well. Go to a breed specific rescue.
“Rescue animals are damaged”. Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were perfect.
“The rescue wants to make a home visit. I don’t have time for that.” Then you probably don’t have enough time for a pet.
Does rescuing an animal take more time than buying from a breeder? It does. You have to go to a shelter, or research a rescue. Oftentimes, you may have to wait to see an animal, or pay an adoption fee. You may not find your pet soulmate immediately. You may adopt an animal with a little baggage and have to be more patient, or they may require more training. I realize all of this. I also realize that I alone can’t change everything. But I sure changed everything for my two rescue dogs, Brickle and Digby. And you can change everything for an animal out there waiting for you.
The realist in me realizes that not “liking” a post on social media does nothing. I also realize that everyone has a right to their opinions and feelings. But my feelings are hurt. And I admit it.
-Rachael Johnson (Girl Person) 2 Traveling Dogs
All views expressed are my own