Today I want to talk about dogs. If you’ve been around these parts for any length of time you might know that A) I love dogs and B) our two babes- Lylee and Enzo- are mixed breeds & rescue dogs. (Ly came to us from friends, but they originally got her from a shelter.)
Please note, I do not hate or judge purebred puppy parents as long as you buy/bought from a reputable breeder. It takes time and patience to find a breeder that loves their dogs, treats them well, and has all the proper medical information/paperwork. If you decide on Tuesday that you want a boxer and you buy it on Wednesday from a “breeder” then we’ve got a problem. Puppy mills are a real thing and they’re deadly, corrupt, and dirty. Google “puppy mills” if you don’t believe me. If you truly love dogs and want to add a family member, please take the time to research your breeder. I’m not trying to be controversial- I just want to promote ownership responsibility.
Alright, back to shelter dogs.
I want to specifically talk about mutts, so before I do that let me just share this PSA:
You can find purebreds in shelters and pounds. Beagles and pitbulls are very popular pound purebreds. Also, there are COUNTLESS purebred rescues around the country that specialize in re-homing specific breeds. These dogs find themselves homeless because of owner death or divorce, moving restrictions, or lifestyle changes. We have many friends who have purebred dogs that came from rescues or shelters.
Ok, moving on.
This week my county’s dog pound posted a Facebook album with +8 dogs in it that had to be adopted, otherwise some would be euthanized. I shared the post and talked with K about it, but I really don’t know if or how many dogs were adopted before the cut off time. I do know that three dogs lost their lives: Gus, Buddy, and Louie. All three were described as friendly and happy and long-time pound residents. I know there’s war and poverty and hunger in the world, but this kind of thing crushes my heart into a thousand pieces. I cried when I read that three dogs didn’t get to find forever homes.
I want to address the two biggest arguments against rescue dogs/mutts:
- I want a specific breed. As I mentioned, there are purebreds in shelters. And I get the struggle- I see videos of corgis or retrievers and my heart actually spills over and I want to nuzzle my face into a puppy. But I challenge you to look into Lylee’s eyes and not fall in love with her. Have a conversation with her and tell me that she’s not exactly like the videos of purebred “talking” huskies. In my opinion, the best part of mixed breeds is the mixed bag. Enzo has herding instincts like a collie but he’s so fast like a whippet. And we’re not even 100% sure that’s what he is! Unless you’re using your dog for their breed-specific-purpose (hunting dogs, herding dogs), rescuing a mutt is 100% in your wheelhouse and you have the opportunity to save a life or two. (And mutts can be trained for herding or hunting or service, too!)
- They’re unpredictable. People lean toward golden retrievers as a family pet and others buy German Shepherds or Rotts because they are protective breeds… but you can never be 100% sure that’s what you’re getting. And I can guarantee that you can find a family dog or protective dog in a shelter- it might just be a great dane/lab mix or a pitbull/husky combination. Two of the gentlest dogs I’ve had the privilege of knowing were mutts- one (Enzo) is a whippet/I don’t really know and the other (Bruno) was a collie/shepherd mix. Amazingly gentle, kind, people-pleasing dogs. Have I been bitten by mutts? Yes. Have I been bitten by purebreds? Yes. They all have teeth; they all have personalities. Mixed breeds tend to be of mild temperament, actually. That’s in comparison to purebreds that have somewhat strong (albeit predictable) personalities.
*Also, many shelters and pounds take the time to get to know the dogs there. They can tell you if that dog gets along with kids, cats, other dogs, etc. Typically it’s not a guess- they’ve figure out if the dog is trained or house broken, hyper or calm. A breeder can tell you about a puppy’s parents, but when you adopt an adult dog from a shelter you’re typically getting exactly what you’re told.
Let me reiterate that I do not look down my nose at people that buy their dogs from a reputable breeder! My best friend has a purebred dachshund and I love her and I love Ernie. My other best friend adopted a 6 month old lab mix from the shelter. Our friends and family have taken both paths and that’s ok. Personally, K and I will always get rescue dogs- it’s something that’s important to both of us.
So here’s what I’m saying: If you are thinking about adding a dog to your family, please check out your local pound or shelter first. Thousands of good, loving, intelligent dogs are killed every year because they had the bad luck to end up with crappy humans that dumped them at a shelter or left them to fend for themselves and they ended up in the pound.
And if you’re still hellbent on a purebred, please check out specialty rescues first. And then research, research, research top-notch breeders. Do not contribute to the nasty puppy mill market. (And report puppy mills when you come across them!)
AND if you are a pet parent or you have family members that own pets, please don’t abandon those animals if something terrible happens to the humans… Please. As gruesome as it is, we have homes for Lylee and Enzo if anything were to happen to us. And I can guarantee you that if something happened to my parents their two dogs, four cats, and one rabbit would not end up in a shelter or a pound. Same with my in-laws’ kitty. Please remember that as a pet parent, you’re responsible for that life- they 100% rely on you.
And now I’m stepping down from my pulpit to snuggle on my babies and convince the husband that we need a third 🙂
Tell me about your fur-kid(s)! Mutt or purebred, rescued or bred- I want to know about the dog that has your heart!