Why It Hurts Me When A Friend Buys A Pet

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.

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Brickle, adopted 2009

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.

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Digby, adopted 2010

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.

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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

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94 thoughts on “Why It Hurts Me When A Friend Buys A Pet

  1. I love a specific kind of cat. You cannot find these cats in shelters. I do like cat breeder more than dog breeders. If I was to get a dog it would be from a kill shelter. As you arr saving a life. I also have rescue cats dumped on us by family. A elderly lilac point and a tortie. So it is not as if we do not have a house full of rescues. I will say this. My husband and I paid for and fostered the Tortie until she was ready for a home. She will come and hug and snuggle with you. As to know we saved her. But she also is not a confident cat. She does have baggage most of the cats I got from a breeder does not experience.

    You also forget that some people have certain needs. Ie a kid who has allergies and needs a certain breed, dogs used for hunting, guard dogs, dogs used for a certain task, PTSD, seeing eye dogs ect. As dogs are bred for certain tasks or personality traits. There is nothing wrong with seeking out a well bred dog. Pets are in the least a ten to twenty year commitment. Why should someone not get the pet they want and fit into their lifestyle?

    You also did not mention in many shelters there are pitbull mixes and chihuahuas! The highly adoptable ones are pulled by rescue or taken by employees! That is all the options at my local shelter.

    There are some wonderful rescues that work tirelessly to save as many animals as possible. I have the deepest respect for these rescues and have seen their dedication. But you did not mention the dark side of rescue. Some are pulling the highly adoptable dogs and puppies from dog auctions! These usually are from large breeding facilities… So they supporting the same people that are mass producing dogs with no thought to their needs. There are rescues not registered as a non profit and are only trying to make money off the dogs. They sell sick and pets with behavior problems. Not to mention, no thought to if said dog is a good fit for the adoptee. These dogs are returned, end up in the shelter system, or the owners are forced to spend money on training and their activities in their home is limited. In cases the dog is sick, it can cost thousands to get the pup in tip top condition.

    I live in rescue utopia and some rescue are deny adoptions for stupid reasons. The animals are stuck living in a over crowded kennel or crate! Shit happens in life. If you are not perfect in everyway, you are denied. Eventually these people seek out a breeder since they are frustrated and bitter.

    Rescues want to have access to your home whenever they want… Not to mention, the microchip in the rescue’s name. So you are leasing a dog! Why? I can slum it and find a cute dog in LA for cheaper without that headache. Many of those rescuers have no communication skills and the interview is more like a interrogation! I am not a criminal; why should I be treated like one?!

    You act as if it is easy to adopt from rescues. It is not. If you dare buy a pet, rescues will not let you foster! I mean seriously?! Most rescues are filled with animals. You would think that they would be happy for extra help. As I have fostered a zillion unweaned kittens. Maybe instead of being judgemental if someone dares buy from a breeder… Write a article to rescues about bettering their relationships with the public!! Adopting should not be a interrogation! The expectations should be realistic. Buying from “puppy mills” should be banned. You want those closed buying from dog auctions should be frowned upon. Just a FYI I can buy a puppy for three to four hundred dollars from the same source as some rescues. So why would I spend some of the outrageous adoption fees when I could go to the source? A lot of people buy from breeders than lie. Believe me.. Breeding is alive and well. Articles like this just make people deceptive on how they obtain their pets. Instead people join closed groups to stay away from judgemental people who think they have the right to force their beliefs on other people.

    You should be happy for your friends no matter how they got their pets. It is really none of your business how they obtained them. I would hope you have friends that are responsible owners. If doggy needs a friend, why not direct them to a good rescue. Many people will often want another pet.

    I think over population is caused by people not spaying and neutering their pets. You also have idiots just breeding for money. There should be spay and neutering regulations in areas which thid is a issue. HSUS and other AR groups could easily open up spay and neuter clinics for low or no cost. They make huge amounts of money. Also, why are 100,000 dogs imported from other countries if a million animals are being killed?! Seems stupid to me if America is battling their own over over population issues to bring more surplus animals here.

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  2. Clare evans

    My Ffion is not a rescue dog as such. My son found her abandoned at a local country park. I had had no intention of having a dog, but, to cut a long story short, nine years later, and with her tenth (approximately) birthday coming up in December, she’s still as lively and beautiful as ever. No, she didn’t come without some problems of her own, bless her. When we’re out, she won’t go far from me, and always has to check that I’m there. And she’s very possessive of her food and toys. All this is understandable. We don’t know for sure why she was left in the park, but were told by several people that ayoung couple with a baby were evicted from their home, and left their puppy behind!!!! Anyway, she’s been part of our family all these years, and we couldn’t be happier.

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  3. Pingback: There Is No Place For Hatred On Both Sides Of Animal Rescue – 2 Traveling Dogs

  4. Pingback: When The People At Animal Rescues Are The Ones That Need Saving – 2 Traveling Dogs

  5. Jadzia Star

    Really enjoyed this article. Volunteering at a shelter for 7 years is educational. A shame everyone doesn’t do it. Instead a lot of people choose to ignore their existence and the plight of all the animals there. They say they don’t have the heart to go to a shelter and see the poor animals there, or they believe those dogs are there for a reason. Or mainly, they just don’t go, they figure someone else will do it. I know too many folks that have bought their puppies online, sight unseen, and I have to admit, I find it a bit repugnant. I understand it is their choice, their money, but it tells me that they don’t give a darn about saving another dogs life that needs saving. On a second note, I also work at a pet food store that doesn’t sell junk dog food. People come in with their breeder dogs and their rescue dogs. I can’t tell you how many times their breeder dogs develop health problems, even ones that have been certified and purchased from these so called reputable breeders. There is no guarantee of health with rescue dogs, but I like the feeling of taking a dog that probably had a crappy early life and then taking it out of a shelter that it lived in for months and providing them with a home. I find it a little hard to believe that someone cannot find a dog that fits their family at a shelter. It might take effort and time, but it can be done. I think they already had their mind set on purchasing a cute little puppy, so they failed at finding a shelter dog. And yes, the shelters get cute little puppies too.

    There is some bashing of rescue groups, well, until you work in one and deal with the public, then you should be careful with your judgement. It is unfortunate but people lie on applications, they expect a perfectly trained and well behaved dog and if the dog does anything wrong in the first few days, they are ready to throw in the towel. Imagine if someone transported you to a foreign country to live with a family, and you had to know all their rules and mannerisms and customs within a few days. Yep, you would screw up too. It takes time, but they don’t want to take the time. What, you mean my dog might need training? Oh gosh, I don’t have time for that. Every dog needs training, whether you bought it or not. They don’t even want to walk the dog or feed it food that doesn’t make them sick. If one rescue gives you a hard time, find another. The rescue I am with does not require fences, you can live in an apartment, you have to do meet and greets if you have other pets. We want the adoption to work and the dog to be safe and happy. I have learned a lot along the way. Some adopters I think are questionable, but not in an unsafe way, turn out to be the best adopters, and ones that I think will be great turn out to be people that want to make no effort in making the dog fit into their family. When that same dog gets adopted again and the family says it is the best dog, then you know that people fail a lot more than the dogs do.

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    1. Steph

      Let’s be honest, the overwhelming majority of dogs in shelters are pit bulls, chihuahuas, shepherd mixes and mixed breed dogs. To act as if shelters are overrun with purebred dogs is not true. When one does come in its usually adopted so fast (probably by staff of shelter) the public never sees it. Ethical breeders are not whats causing the huge pet overpopulation problem. The problem is people that don’t spay or neuter their pets and end up with unwanted puppies who are then given to anyone that will take them and continue to stay unspayed/unneutered repeating the cycle. Municipalities should have spay/neuter requirements for all pets unless you apply for a special breeder license which should be very expensive to discourage the casual backyard breeder.
      Of course people lie on applications. They don’t want to get denied for the dog they want. If someone leaves a rescue group with a dog and didn’t know it required extensive training, that’s failure of communication on the rescue’s part. People just like dogs are all different and if the dog doesn’t work out for them maybe its just not a good match. Maybe its not the dog’s fault or the person’s fault. Why not try them with another dog that might be better suited instead of saying how bad of a person they are. The fact that they came to rescue should show they have good intentions. The rescues job is to educate and set realistic expectations for the adopter. Guess what is needed to save dogs…PEOPLE.

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    2. I would happily foster kittens. But since I bought from breeders most rescues turn up their noses. If rescues need people to foster; maybe they should not be so picky! Especially since I have fostered tons of unweaned kittens. Their loss.

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  6. We got our dog from a breeder. We watched the local humane society for over a year waiting for the right dog to come along. Our requirements: kid-friendly (as we have two small children), small-to-medium size (between 20-40lbs), low shedding (as one of the kids has mild allergies), and not a senior dog (as we were adopting a dog for our family and to grow up with our kids, and I didn’t want to expose them to death purposefully at such a young age – obviously you never know what’s going to happen, but we didn’t want to ). I didn’t think that was too much or too specific. Our previous dogs have all been dogs from the shelter, and when our girls are older, we’ll get shelter dogs again.

    This time, however, we did end up with a dog from a breeder. Why? Because almost every dog at our local shelter fell into one of several categories that made them not work for us: it had a “no kids under 6” (or 12) rule; it was a pit mix, and we have heavy breed restrictions in our city, and I didn’t want to have to muzzle our dog every time we went on a walk; it was a puppy where at least one parent wasn’t known, and we couldn’t get a guess on the adult size or shedding situation; it was too small (nervous about very small dogs around boisterous kids) or too big (our living situation just can’t accommodate a large dog – our old dog was 120lbs so we’re experienced with what that’s like). The very few dogs that we found that met our requirements were adopted within hours of being posted before we could get there, or, as we found, were adopted by friends and family of shelter staff – we found out that the “best” dogs (i.e. ones with a good temperament, ones that are “desirable” breeds, etc – not my words but the words of the shelter staff) never even make it to the adoption floor.

    Despite that, I still believe strongly in the organization and still donate my time and $$ to them, and will certainly adopt from them again in the future.

    When the humane society didn’t work out, we submitted applications to multiple local rescue groups. We were rejected from various ones because we have little kids, because we have guinea pigs, and because I work full-time two days a week. One rescue told us that we were looking at the wrong place, because dogs like what we were looking for don’t get given up to rescues. When we were approved, we ran into similar issues as we had with the shelter – dogs that were heavy shedders, dogs that were too big or too small, senior dogs, etc.

    I checked Petfinder and Craigslist near daily and ran into similar issues with those sites (and often couldn’t be sure that it wasn’t a puppy mill, which I refused to support). I asked friends for help. Once we came very, very close to adopting a Wheaten, but after going through three meetings and preparing to finalize, it was cancelled when the original owner’s brother decided to take the dog instead.

    We probably could have eventually found one by expanding our searches to rescues throughout the entire US, but most importantly we really wanted to meet any potential dog in person first and didn’t want to subject any dog to a flight, and of lesser importance was being able to verify that it was a legitimate, well-run organization, which was easier with local groups.

    If we didn’t have two young children, there were literally a hundred dogs I would have adopted in a heartbeat. And when the children are older, I’ll rescue as many as I can. When we did decide to adopt, we were incredibly stringent in our search for a reputable breeder.

    All that to say – people have not necessarily abandoned all of their morals and given up on adopting dogs just because they choose to purchase from a reputable breeder.

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  7. I certainly know what you mean!!! I know there are a few great breeders out there but the horrible puppy mill breeders far outweigh them so I wouldn’t promote buying from either. There is such an abundance of wonderful, beautiful, even breed specific dogs in shelters that are filled with dogs that have been bought but don’t quite meet the expectations of the buyer so they’re cruelly dumped. They desperately need loving, caring homes for the rest of their lifetime and, if one is willing to wait, one can find the dog to fit their desires. Even if you BUY a dog, you are never guaranteed that dog is going to be PERFECT for you.

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  8. Devon

    This article is ableist and erases the need for service dogs. Mobility service dogs have to come from reputable breeders to ensure that they aren’t at any genetic risk for health problems. But please, tell me more about how I’m “disrespecting” you by purchasing a dog to help me regain my independence.

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    1. I agree. It’s very ableist, and I say this as a disabled person that both got chastised for buying from a breeder, but only because shelters and rescues wouldn’t work for me because they were ‘concerned’ my disability would limit my ability to care for a dog despite my having had 5 other dogs prior who’d lived long and happy lives with me. My trainer I’ve worked with for 20yrs was pretty upset by the whole ordeal to, and despite assurance on her part that my disability wouldn’t keep me from meeting the dogs needs, and the dog was going to be trained- it was a no go. This happened several times over and over again, and really broke my self esteem as a pet lover, animal care giver, and disabled person. Ended up buying a dog from a really lovely champion shower, and breeder whom I’m still friends with, and the dogs been with me 12yrs, and he’s an awesome dog and marvelous. Mobility service dogs need great joins, and great hips, which sadly you can’t guarantee on many shelter dogs due to their neglect and coming from mills and BYB. Responsible breeders are not the problem and provide healthy service animals which are an asset.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Steph

        The problem with a lot of rescues is they feel only people exactly like them are good enough to adopt their dogs. You’re either too old, too poor, live in the wrong house, too disabled, have too many kids or a whole list of other reasons. Then they’ll turn around and shake their finger at you when you go and buy a dog. Give dogs to people that want dogs!! Every adopter you deny is a new customer for the pet trade industry.

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    2. Debbi

      Oh that’s an easy one. You’re disrespecting the rescue community and limiting yourself by being so completely close minded. Have you no idea that hundreds of thousands of pound puppies have gone on to become service dogs??

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How is it your business? Rescues are ridculas in their screening process. Such as you allow your dog to be outside! God forbid a dog enjoy a yard! I urge you to look at the reviews of rescues. The reason they are denied are beyond stupid.

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  9. Bex

    Honestly so sick of the adopt don’t shop nonsense. I want a well-bred working dog with good genetics that I can trust around my family and my other pets. Good breeders don’t even make a profit and they seek to better the breed.

    And my desire for a purebred animal does not mean I don’t care about shelter dogs. I worked with dogs professionally and I fostered, rescued, and transported over a hundred dogs in the past. I have done more than my fair share and when the time is right, I’d love to turn to rescue. Why can’t we band together in our love for dogs instead of tearing each other apart?

    Also, do you realize that rescues would have more help if they didn’t alienate people who seek out healthy, well-bred animals? Many breeders do breed-specific rescuing and fostering as well. But hateful, judgements posts like this make it clear that their help is not welcome even though they’re *promoting* responsible pet ownership and ethical breeding practices.

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    1. Alli

      This post was far from hateful.
      Scientific studies show that ‘mutts’ are actually the healthiest dogs out there and years of breeding the same breed of dog has actually hindered their health.
      There are plenty of “well-bred” dogs out there that have been discarded by owners so as the blog clearly states, go to a breed specific rescue if that is your jam.
      Shelter dogs can be trusted around family and other pets and that is why it is so important to do your research and have meet & greets before adopting – and home visits! As many rescues do. Because they care about the well-being of the dog, your family, and your other pets as well.
      Honestly – so sick of nonsense reactions. Adopt don’t shop! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Phoenix

      You are entitled to your opinion BUT the fact that you seem to think dogs are only meant for working makes me sad. Dogs or cats or any animal are not property. they are family. they don’t have to earn their keep. Yuu have to earn their love and respect and You have to prove to them that you deserve them.

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    3. ED

      Well bred? pure breds have 12 genetic issues they are tons more likely to have than mutts. Most rescue animals are great. How you think breeder dogs are any better is completely BS. There are tons of puppies in rescue. There is no ethical breeding. We murder every species for insane overpopulation. Humans who think breeding is fine while great adoptable puppies/dogs and all other species are killed are totally full of themselves. Get over your I have a right to buy an animal while perfectly adoptable great ones are dying. Honestly the ONLY dogs I know who have gotten very aggressive as they grew up were ones from ‘breeders’ puppies.

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    4. Sylvia

      There is never such a thing as an ethical breeder. Just look at pugs. Every breeder I have ever come across always kills the not so perfect dogs in a litter. Breeding any dog should be banned. Pure bred dogs have many more health problems than a heinz 57 type. Breeding and buying from breeders is so elitist.

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    5. This wasn’t attacking anyone. This was her opinion & her feelings when someone she knows buys a dog. Folks are entitled to their opinions & feelings. You don’t have to agree with it.
      Also, sick of the whole adopt don’t shop thing are ya? I imagine that the euthanizing technicians are sick of folks who share the same mentality as you.

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    6. Chris

      Hateful? No. You”re projecting and defensive. Scrolling through the comments I was disheartened to see person after person defending and justifying their purchases. Every single one of them is pure b.s. people have been turning rescue dogs into service dogs for decades. The health of a dog from a breeder is not guaranteed, nor is it’s temperament. Kids too small now for a rescue dog? Wait then. Almost 40% of dogs purchased from breeders end up in the local shelters, so yes, people like you are only feeding the shelters more animals to be scared, confused, hurt, and finally euthanized. .For every single excuse I I hear there was an easy solution. Methinks thou dost protest overmuch.

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  10. Tara

    But if people did their research on a breed, and I don’t mean just looking to see how cute it is, but really research and see what breeds would actually best match them, temperament, grooming, exercise needs, and health, then there wouldn’t be any dogs in rescues. People would have done enough to know that living in a one bedroom apartment with a high level energy dog, like a border collie for instance, isn’t a good match. It’s people who choose to get a dog and don’t have he money, time, or level of commitment that causes dogs to go into shelters and rescues. If people did proper research, bought from REPUTABLE breeders, not puppy mills or pet stores, then that would eliminate the chance for dogs to get tossed away. Instead of blaming breeders for shelter dogs, blame the people who didn’t care enough to do the proper work that is required to getting a dog. Reputable breeders don’t breed to make money like puppy mills and pet stores. I know many breeders who actually lose money just so they can keep the breed they love health and withhold true standard without the awful health conditions that come from not properly health testing or selective breeding. The breeder who I bought my Borzoi puppy from actually drove him all the way from Texas to California just so they could meet me in person and make sure I had the proper acomidations for him. They also keep in contact with me all the time Incase I have any questions or concerns. Hat is what true reputable breeders are, people who pay almost the same amount if not more just to do health testing and genetic testing to ensure healthy happy dogs. People who will NOT breed if there is so much as a health or genetic defect in one of he parents. People who if the dog doesn’t work out, will actually take the dog back and return your money, even refer you to someone the know and trust who may have a dog that will better match you. If there were more people who followed these simple things, then this discussion wouldn’t even have been made. There would be no problem with dogs, not population, aggression, or abomdonment. So shouldn’t we be working towards this than creating “sides”? Shouldn’t we be working for “proper research” rather then just coming up with banners like “adopt-don’t-shop”?
    I don’t mind if people get upset at me for this, but it’s my personal feels. Just as this threat is the authors. We are all here for animals right? I’m not saying one of us is wrong, I’m just trying to add a new insight to he situation.
    If you have read this comment, thank you for sticking through to the end. Have a amazing day.

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      1. Coby

        There are many ethical breeders and I know several for several different breeds. Those ethical breeders do heart checks, hip checks and get many other certifications before they breed any of their dogs so that people have a better chance at getting a healthy dog. Meanwhile I always rescue dogs and always will but my dogs have health problems galore ( to the time be of over $20,000 in vet bills) so there is a lot to be said about ethical beeeders. Ethical breeders also expose their puppies to many people, dogs, new places, sights and sounds while very young to ensure the puppy is well balanced. I took in a puppy that was going to be taken to the shelter because no one took it and that pup had not been exposed to anything as it was kept in a garage until time to give a way. I am still working on helping that puppy overcome its lack of socialization from a backyard breeder. You can choose to believe that there is no such thing as an ethical breeder but it doesn’t change the fact that there are. People need to quit taking other people choices as a personal affront.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. You wrote what I feel exactly! We used to be really good friends with our neighbors. We both agreed to adopt puppies at the same time and they could grow up and play with each other. I was helping with their search for a boxer (they are “boxer people”, because “boxers are just special”. They did contact a boxer rescue but they didn’t have a cute little puppy at the time. When they went to a breeder I felt sick to my stomach. It took months for me to even ackowledge the dog. On one hand I feel childish, but on the other if you don’t stand up for your principles are you a true advocate. They obviously have the right to make that decision, but I feel differently about them because of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Caroline S Tetschner

    We have fostered over 40 dogs for a local rescue group and absolutely love it. All our FB “friends” pretty much know what we do and I’m constantly advocating “adopt, don’t shop” for your next furry family member. So THIS, ALL OF THIS hit the mark perfectly. And no, I never “like” someone’s cute new breeder puppy for exactly the reasons you cite. Probably doesn’t make a whim of difference but I certainly don’t want to encourage others into buying a pup when thousands die every day in our nation’s shelters. Thanks for caring and what you do.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Jenny

        Bex- like u said they chose to buy a dog & read a breeder to keep breeding, & chose not to adopt from a shelter or rescue – which basically means to me that they don’t care…..

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      2. Erin

        Exactly. I have a rescue, and my last dog was a rescue. I also have a poodle I bought from a breeder. I’m and I wanted a dog I could better my skills in my preferred breed (I want to specialize). I have absolutely no regrets. The times I’ve visited the shelters around me, they were mostly bully breed mixes, which don’t help my grooming skills. That said, I love my rescue dogs, but people like the OP make me nervous to go back. Apparently shelter people will be judging me because I have a purebred standard poodle from health tested parents.

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      3. So why can you not do both?! I have rescues and pets I bought from breeders! I have ones from the local shelter, a cat we found abandoned, a bought a mix breed highlander lynx from a bad situation that was being abused. It took a year to gain her trust. We bought some from breeders.. They are cat breeders… I got some great cats I adore.

        But I do not care right? I have no clue on what a shelter is like?! Work at one… The shelter system is also messed up!

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  13. Connie Edgemon

    I know that not all breeders are the same and not all pet stores are the same. But, I have watched pet stores immunize all the puppies in their care with the same needle. I have seen them put a seriously ill puppy in a cardboard box to die alone in the back room. I have seen breeders selling dogs out of their car in shopping center parking lots and I have seen breeders who vetted potential buyers just like responsible rescues do.

    People don’t realize how quickly parvo and distemper can spread through pups housed in the same space. People who have never been to a puppy mill have no concept of the conditions those dogs live in and are bred in; I have had two puppy mill rescues, one breeding female who probably had been bred twenty times in her ten years and one who was a young male who only had dead dogs and feces to eat and died shortly after I got him of some genetic blood dyscrasia so no one will ever convince me that buying dogs from puppy mills can be justified in any form or fashion.

    In a town I lived in a few years ago, there was a puppy mill that bred Beagles, Bostons, and Bassets; when they were raided, over 200 dogs were found – “the breeders” and their puppies showed all types of genetic as well as physical problems caused by the environment in which they were being raised. Most of the dogs were not in any shape to be rescued and were euthanized. These people had no concept of the genetics involved in cross breeding and interbreeding so you can only imagine the condition of some of these animals. It was so sad. The male that I rescued was a joy to watch as he learned to be a dog. He had never stepped on grass, had to learn to eat food from a bowl and to not eat dead things in the yard. They both lived great though relatively brief lives.

    I understand people who buy dogs and people who breed dogs to feed their families and people who breed dogs to preserve a breed. I just hope for every dog they buy, they will rescue one or donate to a rescue so some else can rescue one and that they will have the dog they purchased spayed or neutered.

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  14. This is exactly why I created my company Fetcha. There is no excuse to go to a breeder or pet store anymore. Every breed, any gender any age are all in rescue. We will find it so you can save a life instead.

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    1. Devon

      No excuse? Seriously? Please don’t try to tell me that I had “no excuse” to get my puppy, who is being trained as a mobility service dog, from a reputable breeder. I needed to know her genetic information and get her from health tested parents to reduce the risk of her having any medical conditions that could prevent her from being a healthy working dog.

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      1. Jenny

        Devon – there is no excuse to have a purebred dog as a service dog- there are many great mixed breed service dogs that also have medical tests to make sure they are no medical conditions they are predisposed to & also temperament screening….. no one is saying anything against your service dog- however I am saying there is no reason for purebred dogs only as service animals – that is ridiculous & a excuse to me……

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I support your choice Devon, because I’ve been there.Able bodied people don’t get it, they don’t understand what it’s like. Having a dog with a good genetic history is vital to having a good working dog. I can trace my working dogs ancestry back seven generations. I can call the breeder/handler now and ask him anything about any dog in that line and he can answer it, or connect me with someone who does. This dog I bought is the healthiest dog I’ve ever had, and I’ve had more rescues than purebreds. Not all breeds are genetic train wrecks and sometimes you need a dog with specific abilities, size, and strengths. If someone is just looking for a pet, by all means, adopt. But if you need a working dog. Look for a good responsible breeder with working lines who is all about health testing.

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  15. Erica

    You took the words right out of my mouth! My exact thoughts and feelings when I see a new pet post while scrolling through my Facebook feed. You are not alone! #AdoptDontShop

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Steph

      But what do you do if the rescue group denies you because you don’t have a high enough fence or they can’t schedule a home visit for 3 months. Or when they let someone else adopt the dog you have fallen in love with because they felt the other person was “a better match”. Or because your 17 year old dog isn’t up to date on shots…Rescue groups need to to be a little less judgmental and welcoming to encourage more people to adopt. Until then they will have more and more animals waiting for that “perfect” home.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Then go to another rescue or shelter, there certainly is no shortage of either or dogs available. If they can’t get a home visit done for 3 months, what does that tell you? That they need more volunteers – where do you volunteer? Maybe you could offer your services to them. Until you foster a dog in your home and understand the costs, responsibility and effort involved in placing them in homes, you really shouldn’t tell other rescue groups how to place their dogs. If you were finding a home for your own dog…you would’t place it in the home that was the best fit? Maybe the foster home discovered the dog jumps fences and they don’t want it killed and you or them heartbroken. You can easily get your vet to write a note saying they do not recommend your 17 year old get vaccines, but rescues pour money into dogs that people medically neglect, and the rabies vaccine is required by law – so if you have no explanation as to why your dog isn’t up to date other than his age and you don’t think he should be, why would you expect them to make an exception for you?

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      2. Sheri

        I agree with Steph. My parents are in their late 70s and couldn’t find any rescue group willing to let them adopt, even though they have specific arrangements for the care of their pet in case anything should happen that would make them unable to care for him/her. They resorted to buying a beautiful Havanese puppy from a breeder and I can tell you she is the most loved and well cared for fur baby I know! And my parents aren’t the first to experience age discrimination from rescue groups… I know friends’ patents That got the same treatment.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Steph

        To Emily:
        I actually have fostered countless kittens and a few dogs in my years. I used to work at one of the largest shelters in the country and I’ve seen many healthy, happy animals euthanized because they weren’t adopted. So while you’re waiting for that perfect match I bet if you could ask the dog on the Euth list he would say “lady I’ll take my chances”. Sure the animal might not go to the best home and that’s the risk you have to take. But at least it will be alive and with life there are possibilities with death there is none. So if someone tells me they want one of my dogs in my overcrowded shelter, I would say do you have a job, a place to live? Here it’s yours. Then hopefully they tell their friends and family about the experience and then they’ll choose to get their pets from my shelter. Word of mouth is the best advertising. And if someone has a bad experience it will spread.

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      4. There are reasons why they set those rules. If your 17yr old dog isn’t vaccinated, that new pet coming in the home could possibly get them sick. It’s for both pets safety. If you don’t have a fence and it’s required, perhaps that dog is a runner? Every rescue is different. Just because one may have certain rules doesn’t mean they all do.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Stephanie Keith

        Hi Melissa, I know why they set those rules, as I said I worked for a large animal shelter. I’ve also seen bins overflowing with dead animals that weren’t adopted. I bet they wouldn’t have cared about tjise rules. But what are you trying to accomplish? If you want to find the “perfect” homes for each animal you and the pet will be waiting a long time and trust me there are way more animals needing homes than there are perfect adopters. I have seen homeless people take better care of their pet than the high income earning couple who leaves their pet crated most of the day. The best way to pet stores and breeders out of business is to make it unprofitable. If I can get a dog as easily from a rescue as I can from a pet store, why would I go to a pet store? The pet I get would be sterilized and I probably would get tons of advice and education from the rescue and save lots of money to boot. This is why I don’t judge people that choose to buy. My pets are adopted but not everyone can deal with the judgement.

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      6. Rachel

        I agree with what you have said. There are some frustrations and I think some rescues make it too difficult. My coworkers attempted to adopt a rescue dog but was told he couldn’t because he was gone too long. He went to a breeder. His dog is well loved. I would recommend trying a few different rescues. Not all of them have out of reach standards and really do just want to get dogs into good homes.

        Liked by 2 people

      7. Melissa

        Those guidelines are in place for a reason…to protect the best interest of the dog. If you fence isnt suitable, and your dog is not up to date with it shots without a valid medical reason, then those are concerns for the rescue. Its about what is in the best interest for the animal, not the person.

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      8. Melanie McKeever

        Why not volunteer to work with a rescue group and if your situation is appropriate, they will know it because they will; know you? You could foster-to-adopt and make sure the dog is a good fit for both of you. As a rescue volunteer, I am often being approached by people wanting to re-home their dogs. I have been offered at least three purebred dogs in the past year, and countless mixed breeds. If you get involved in the mission, the right dog will come to you.

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      9. Pets do not need to be vaccinated every year. I get mine their vaccinations every three years. Many vets are now saying animals are being over vaccinated. So why should someone be denied a pet because their concerned about their pet being over vaccinated?

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  16. My breed of choice is the Borzoi – been involved with them since I was a kid. As a large, hairy, prey-driven breed that is a part of living history, their population is being responsibly managed by the breeders – who are almost entirely, with VERY few exceptions – breeding to preserve the breed.
    They are – understandably – quite rare. And they should be! They are wonderful, devoted, sensitive and intelligent companions… But they are absolutely NOT for novice dog owners. They are not “dog park dogs” or “nanny dogs”… though many are very sociable and gentle.
    You almost never see them in a shelter for a few important reasons:
    1) The breeders SCREEN potential adopters rigorously. No, you can’t just throw money at one of these breeders and get a puppy if you don’t have a stable home and an environment where a dog like this can thrive
    2) If there ever IS a problem, nearly every breeder will gladly take the dog they bred back from it’s owner and find the best situation for it. Moving, death in the family, illness, the rare behavior problem – the DOG always comes first.
    3) IF a Borzoi ever turns up lost or in a shelter, the instant another Borzoi person (or other sighthound person) sees it, the wheels are in motion! That dog is usually pulled for rehoming/foster/rescue so fast it will make your head spin.
    4) There are a couple of National – and International breed rescues for the breed. They are superheroes. In fact, they just saved a purebred Borzoi and her litter from a slaughterhouse a couple days ago. (Shout out to Candy Cane Rescue!)
    5) Borzois never got popular. So there’s never been a huge demand for poorly bred specimines ( like Dalmations, Chihuahuas, Pitts, Rotties, etc)
    I have had 10 Borzois in my 30+ years of Borzoi ownership (and 2 wolfdogs-both rescues). The first was acquired as a pre-shelter rescue with behavior issues, the second I adopted right from the Nebraska Humane society, the 3rd was a rescue I took in to place in a permanent home. All three of these had lifetime homes. The 4th had health issues- returned to breeder to be euthanized. 5th I had to surrender due to divorce and serious illness (still heartbreaking – hardest thing I ever had to do, but I knew Borzoi rescue would find her a great home – and they did!) #6 passed away to extreme old age just last year. # 7 was only 5 years and had a cardiac arythmia and died. (I cried for 3 months straight). Numbers #8, #9 and #10 are hanging out with me RIGHT now hoping I’ll get them some ice cubes. 🙂
    Some breeders do it RIGHT. Some breeds have well managed, HEALTHY populations, and would go extinct with an indiscriminate ban on breeding. Some owners dedicate themselves to their dogs for the entire life of the dog. These people/dogs/situations don’t deserve the hate.
    You can’t shame me for my choices. A series of random shelter dogs would NOT have been any better fit for my family, and I did choose rescues when I had the best situation for them.
    I shared this because all dogs aren’t “one size fits all.” Where people get their dogs can’t be simplified into “breeder bad! rescue good!” without losing a lot in translation.
    (The website is for the breeder of my dogs, Aria Borzoi. I’m proud to be associated with such an ethical and dedicated champion for our amazing breed.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Do you realize…that you said you adopted many of your dogs so this really doesn’t apply. I love pomeranians and spitz dogs, mine are adopted from the shelter. One was owner surrender and one was a breeder male tied up to a tree outside, he had a lot of trust issues and we still work with him. I think breeds should be preserved to an extent but I will never NOT adopt a dog. I have fostered dogs on literal death row, the amount of dogs put down is disgusting and if you can’t at least meet someone in the middle to recognize that the epidemic of millions of dogs and cats being put down, I don’t know what to tell you. Just being you are not someone surrendering dogs doesn’t mean you aren’t part of a wider social issue by not realizing that everyone is not going to keep a dog for life and the easy access of pet shops and backyard breeders perpetuate irresponsibly in our society. If you favorite breed, Borzoi, were to suddenly become popular and locally several of them were put down a week, so much so that the local rescues can’t keep up, wouldn’t you maybe be upset seeing a friend buy a puppy when you know they are a great for the Borzoi being killed up the street?

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    2. Jamie Hein

      I have a Borzoi that I bought from a reputable breeder. There are health issues that can occur in the breed like DM, which is heartbreaking. By going to this breeder I am avoiding those issues. This dog is the most enjoyable dog I have ever had. I have a small rescue mix as well who has behavioral issues that I was not made aware of even though I did get her from a nice small rescue. Maybe they didn’t know. All I know is when I bought the puppy from the breeder I told her what kind of dog I was looking for, and she picked the perfect one for me.

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  17. I agree about the need to give shelter dogs a home, but what happens to the dogs in pet shops and with breeders if they don’t get bought? Don’t they end up getting euthanized as well? I think they need saving as well.

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    1. I empathise with caring about the fate of bred dogs for sale in pet stores, but you have to think of the consequences of the sale. That money goes back to the breeder and encourages them to keep practicing their breeding. The most humane thing that can happen to the pets for sale is to be left unsold, and then transferred to a humane, no-kill shelter who can hopefully get them adopted quickly. You can help by talking to the manager of the pet store and trying to convince them to stop buying from puppy mills. The store is not making a big percentage on the profits from selling the animals anyway… the breeder is.

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      1. LS

        Actually the mills make the least amount. Usually 50-100 $ then brokers mark them up (if there is a middle man) 2 to 4 times…then pet stores double what they paid or more.
        But agree…stop the cycle. Boycott any store that sells cats or dogs for profit and let the store owners know that they will not be getting one dime of your money.

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      2. Lynda Beam

        mmmm I remember in the days of Anmal Kingdom in Chicago in the 70s, they would buy purebred puppies for $35/each and they would sell for $350-$400… I don’t think the percentages have changed much. The money is made by the broker and the pet store. The puppy mills probably do better by selling them at auction where rescues fall all over themselves to pay hundreds if not a thousand apiece to get them out of there.

        And every time someone buys a puppy in a pet store, they are potentially supporting puppy mills, because no reputable would sell their puppies to a broker or a pet store directly.

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      1. Unscrupulous rescues buy puppies from puppy mills. So it will not change.. Just who buying them. To stop puppy mills is for everyone not to buy them.

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    2. Every time you buy or “rescue” a dog from a breeder, per shop, whatever, you create a market for assholes to keep breeding and selling. Pets that don’t sell are (usually) discounted and if the sho isn’t profitable, it eventually goes out of business.

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    1. I agree that they do need a home now that they exist, as they are totally innocent in the fact of their own existence and how it came to be. But to avoid enabling future breeding practices, it is important that breeders don’t profit from what they do. If the dogs aren’t bought they are NOT returned to the breeders and euthanized, as that wouldn’t be profitable. They are either given away for little money, or they are returned to the mill to turn into breeding animals themselves. Don’t fall for the lie that unsold animals are euthanized… that’s what they want you to think so you will buy them. One thing you can do to help is to offer some small amount of money to buy the animals and then give them to a shelter you trust, where you know they will be rehabilitated and treated humanely and the money used to buy them won’t go to perpetuating the cycle. Eventually, if dog breeding becomes unprofitable stores will stop buying, and mills will stop operating.

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  18. Kathy Dubree

    I admit I have bought dogs before when my local humane society didn’t have what I wanted. My last two dogs though I got at my local animal shelter. They are great dogs I will never go to another private owner again. I heard about a lady that bought a Frenchie for three thousand dollars. That’s crazy!! I just thought of how many dogs she could have helped with that money. Love your blog hope you have many more adventures. Good luck on finding your new home.

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  19. Tatjana

    The truth is things can’t be the same. Ever! I have tried. I said to myself it is not dog’s fault too but every time I see abandoned animal I remember my friends who bought a new pet and it hurts me all over again.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Jackie Adams

    We have a rescue dog. We got her when she was about six months old. I have had purebreds in the past but this fur baby is the best companion I’ve ever had. Rescues make the best breeds ever

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Fran Frederick

    All my pets have been rescued. Either from a shelter or people who did not deserve them. The last pet that was bought was a goldfish for my daughter. Peter lived for eighteen years. Animals come to my house, they are well loved, and they know it!

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  22. Wendy Laveaux

    I bought my first golden retreiver Amber in 1984 from a puppy mill. I did not know this at the time but as she experienced several bone growth issues which culminated in having her put to sleep at 8 months old, my vet encouraged me to file a complaint with the Canadian Kennel Club which I did. However the breeder “gave” me another puppy against the advice of my vet. His name was Nashville. He was followed closely by my vet and at 6 months was diagnosed with moderate hip dysplasia. He was operated on at 7 years and lived til he was 10. Did he have a good life? Yes I believe he did albeit not one without pain and I loved my Nash with everything I had. I learned a lesson from these 2 dogs and that was from the point after Nash passed on I would never buy from a breeder. I have had 7 dogs since and they all came from rescue groups. Young and old! Each one of them teaches me something about love and trust and acceptance. Thank you for what you do in spite of the sadness and despair you witness. Change takes a long time to come but I believe it can! Bless you and your crew.

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  23. Shirley Bruninghous

    I totally agree. The only price I’ve ever paid for a dog is an adoption fee. I have five rescue dogs and I keep thinking there’s room for one more. I have a senior dog that I keep gated off from the others when I go to work because I know they get a little crazy when
    I’m gone. We have a fenced in yard with a doggy door for them. Was thinking another senior dog would work to keep my Jake company. We do a lot of doggy classes and dog events with dog groups we belong to, many who have the purchased purebred dogs. I consider these folks my friends but not as close as the ones with the saved or rescue dogs. I often think I’m being foolish for thinking this way, so it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I too agree that I’m not a perfect purebred person, so I don’t think I need that in my dogs. They love me and I love them and that’s all that matters. Going to take two now to a pet fest at our local feed and pet store. They’re will be adoptable dogs there, so who knows. Then I’m going to try taking one of my smaller dogs kayaking on a nearby lake. Wish me luck.

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  24. Barara (wanna be on the road) Corneliusen.

    I feel so strongly the same. I try to communicate that to everyone I hear that expresses a desire for a pet. Go the shelter go to a rescue please give these animals a chance. Rescue dogs and shelter dogs do often have baggage but who doesn’t. Make a difference!

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  25. All my babies are rescued!! I feel the same way. I feel like we have so many babies that need homes why go BUY one when one is waiting for you now. It makes me sad to think about how many babies need a home after all the hurricanes. I wish I had a bigger yard….

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  26. Candice Stine

    I will never buy a dog from a store. All of our dogs are and have been rescues. They all have been wonderful dogs. They all have been grateful for having a good loving home. Rescues will always be my breed of choice!

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  27. Truth! I have changed my way of looking at those who buy their pets at a store. I have a difficult time accepting that choice. And I am with you, Rachel, especially after this year of traveling you’ve all done. I question my friends’ love for me in those actions. Harsh? Maybe, but when I look at my two new, used dogs and The happiness that surrounds them now, I can’t feel any other way. They were discarded like trash and I am so thankful we found each other 💕

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  28. I feel the same way when someone announces that their pets having babies. I know their excited but there’s so many animals that need z home no one needs to breed their pet. We have 2 rescues that are the best dogs in the world and I honestly think before you buy an animal you should have to go through a process similar to what you do when you rescue or adopt. There would be fewer animal bred and people who did get them wouldn’t be rejoining them or giving them up because it wouldn’t be that instant thing. They’d have to work for them. That’s my rant for the day sorry it was so long

    Like

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