The Origin of Dogs

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.)

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December 2013

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:

  1. 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!)
  2. 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.

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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.

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And now I’m stepping down from my pulpit to snuggle on my babies and convince the husband that we need a third πŸ™‚

Tell me about your fur-kid(s)! Mutt or purebred, rescued or bred- I want to know about the dog that has your heart!

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26 thoughts on “The Origin of Dogs

  1. I don’t have any furbabies BUT I do have a furniece and 2 furnephews! I also have a heartwarming story that could have been awful story to tell that I think you’d appreciate. My sister saw a dog tied up to a stop sign just outside her house for a few hours, she kept checking on her and giving her water but no one came for her about 6 hours so she took her inside and called up my aunt who owns a farm(and knows that she won’t say no to a dog!) and the next day the dog got the BEST life ever, 75 acres and 2 dog friends, chickens and sheep all the play with.

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    1. When we first got married we lived in an apt. that didn’t allow dogs so Lylee lived with my mom and dad for about 6 months. I was miserably without pets 😦
      Oh my gosh, I love your sister! So, so good of her to check on the pup and give her water- I think there are lots of people that just would’ve ignored the situation! I love that the dog went from a short leash on a stop sign to a HUGE farm with tons of activities! Perfect story!

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  2. I’ve had a dog in my life most all of my life. My husband is the first one to convince me to 1. give kitties a chance, 2. mixed breeds are the bomb, and 3. go to a shelter/pound/rescue. Damn, if he was right about all three of these things. As you know, we are now a happy home with 2 sister mutts and 3 kitties, and I wouldn’t want our home any other way. Unless we win the lottery. Then, we are opening our own rescue. πŸ™‚
    Also, you mention rescues for full breeds. My mother-in-law has a yellow Labrador. Roxy was in a guide dog program when she was a puppy. But, she failed (the super difficult) tests to perform her duties as a guide dog and sent to a Labrador Retriever rescue. Just because she failed her tests allowed the opportunity for a wonderfully well-trained beautiful companion for my MIL’s life.

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    1. I’ll open up an American branch of your lottery-winning shelter πŸ™‚
      We have friends with two Boston Terriers that got their dogs from a rescue. The dogs were recovered from a puppy mill and brought to the rescue. One is a little skittish around men with beards (he associates it with abuse from the mill), but they are the sweetest dogs!

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  3. Awww, your puppies are adorable!!

    I would definitely take a mixed breed rescue dog, but most of the rescue dogs here have notes saying they will only be given to people with many years of experience owning a dog. My boyfriend has never had one and, while my family had one when I was a teen, I’m pretty sure that won’t be enough! Somehow we will find a way to get a dog though…

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    1. Wow! I feel like that’s the opposite here! I’ve never had an issue adopting a dog, but I know some breeders are wary about selling to people that are unfamiliar with the breeds!
      (Then again, I’ve never not had a dog so I always check “experienced” on adoption forms…) A lot of rescues around here require a fenced in yard and a meet an’ greet. Some even require a home visit!

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  4. What a super interesting post!!! Our dog is a purebred and he definitelyyy has a strong personality (and I have no clue if we contributed to the puppy mill thing…my husband went and got him from some Mennonite/Amish-looking family…but I’m hoping it wasn’t a puppy mill! He was with his siblings/parents til 4 months old, so that’s good, right?) I’m definitely sharing this with my dog-loving friends! πŸ™‚ Your fam is SOO cute. Just sayin.

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    1. All that matters now is that you love on your pup! πŸ™‚ The Amish-looking seller might’ve been a bad sign, but that fact that they kept him until he was 4 months is a pretty good sign! Regardless, good for you for loving a dog πŸ™‚
      Thank you πŸ™‚

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  5. My fluff nugget is a shelter pup, as are my parents’ dogs. I’m not a purebred dog kind of person, not when so many shelter dogs need homes. I have a pet care trust for Hawkeye. If I die, everything goes to her. She could buy her own taco bell franchise with the money I have socked away for her. John is first trustee and my bff is second, so they get paid yearly to take care of Hawkeye. Everyone wins πŸ™‚

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    1. Hot dang- where do I sign up to be your dog πŸ™‚ Haha! That’s so awesome of you. I mean, Hawkeye is your baby so it totally makes sense that you’d want her safe and taken care of if something ever happened to you!

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  6. Preach it sister!!!! I’m all about all things dog.
    I’ll take in anything that has fur basically.
    It breaks my heart how many animals NEED a home… everyone can have a best friend if they’re willing to open their homes to these precious creatures.
    I truly believe rescue animals KNOW they were rescued too & make the BEST DOGS!!!

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    1. I agree with your thoughts on rescued babies! I think they absolutely know πŸ™‚
      My family tends to take in whatever shows up at our door. When we brought home Enzo I was SO excited because he was one of the first dogs we actually went to pick out, haha! Usually the pets come to us πŸ˜€ Of course, I’m fine with it either way!

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  7. YES to rescue dogs! And with Petfinder it is SO easy to search all the rescues near you all at once, and you can search by breed. I squeal a little bit at French Bulldogs and Corgis, but if I don’t find one in a rescue one day, it ain’t gonna happen!!!

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    1. I am in love with the story of how you guys got your dogs πŸ™‚ K thought he might have to travel to southern Asia this winter and when I found out I started looking into how he could bring a dog home with him from the rescues over there! He’s not going, but I was all about bringing home a baby for someone else.
      I browse Petfinder similar to how I sit and look through Facebook. Haha!

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  8. We have a little rescue tabby cat and she’s no-question ruler of our home – an iron paw in a velvet glove we like to think… she has such a character. Having volunteered at rescue centres, there isn’t anywhere I’d rather find pets from!

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  9. Ugh I am over here tearing up for those three sweet doggies that never made it to their forever home. It just breaks my heart! I volunteered at our local human society and while I haven’t been in quite some time (it is just not close enough to my work or house to make it work for me right now) but when I was there…it just overflowed my heart with both joy and sadness. Joy to see so many dogs full of love even though they were dealt a bad hand at life…and sadness knowing that maybe some of them would never have a family. It was so hard to leave that place and not come home with them all every single time.

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    1. I originally shared the post advertising the dogs, then went back that evening and saw that it had been edited and three had to be put down. I sat there and cried for 10 minutes. 😦

      I volunteered at a no-kill humane society in college and when a dog or cat had been in the shelter for over two months I’d start putting some pressure on my family members to maybe think about another dog or kitty πŸ™‚ Almost every time it got to that point the critter would be adopted, which made me happy anyway!

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  10. Well now it makes sense that the “reason I unfollowed” that you singled out was the pet one. πŸ˜› So agree with you! Except I’m kind of cantankerous and I do judge people who use breeders (I try not to, but it’s hard). It also infuriates me when people don’t get their dog spayed or neutered, whether through laziness or because “I might want to breed them.” How about instead of creating more animals, we take care of the ones that already exist?!

    We have 2 shelter dogs and they’re both awesome, even if the newer one can be difficult at times (and honestly, we knew that going in and it’s all worth it to have saved an animal that might have had trouble being placed otherwise). The most heartbreaking thing is that she’s not actually a difficult dog – all of the issues we’ve had have been because she’s scared, because of the shitty things other human beings do to animals.

    I hate the excuses people come up with to not adopt. “How do I know how they’ll behave?” You don’t, not 100%, but you also don’t know with a breeder. Personality is not something that can be manufactured perfectly. It’s always a little bit of a toss up, and if you get a grown up dog from a shelter, you get a much better idea of what they’re like vs a puppy who hasn’t developed yet. And the shelter has puppies too, if you like the idea of starting from scratch!

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    1. Oh girllllll, people that don’t spay and neuter dogs and cats make me super irritated. And when my friends talk about getting a dog I ALWAYS push shelters and rescues on them. (My current project is my brother and sister-in-law.) I will always push shelters before breeders, but I don’t dislike my best friend or her purebreed wiener πŸ˜‰

      We have a high-anxiety husky boxer mix and she can be a handful, but her loyalty and love and all-around cuteness makes up for it 10xs over. And we really do get the boxer energy and the husky sass and the boxer playfulness and the husky endurance. I don’t know why you wouldn’t want a dog with a bunch of amazing breed qualities!

      I tend to think of dogs as people. The parents can be super nice and their kid is still an asshole (or vice versa). You can’t guarantee ANYTHING when it comes to living creatures! I believe in a “click” adoption. You just feel it and KNOW that it’s right when you lock eyes with that little mutt or old rescue dog πŸ™‚

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    1. I get that same reaction with Enzo! Our obedience instructor actually warned me once to never leave him alone in a public place because he’s the kind of dog someone would find and never report because they’d keep him for themselves! I really do believe that mutts are just the sweetest ❀

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  11. People buying pets for their looks alone makes me so sad. I feel like it’s crazy when someone spends $1000 on a “teacup yorkie” when there are so many dogs that need homes out there. This was one of Greg’s coworkers. There are also opportunities to find the breed someone wants if they are really intent on it, from a rescue shelter. My coworker has a retired greyhound that is so sweet and loving that really needed a home after he completed his racing career and didn’t have a home anymore.

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    1. I would give my left foot to adopt a retired, rescued greyhound… but K isn’t on board with that breed. Sigh. Haha!
      I don’t understand the $10,000 for a dog either. And it makes me laugh that people shell out the big bucks for breeds like goldendoodles and cockapoos and what not… Ummmm, 20 years ago those were considered mutts πŸ˜‰ Haha!

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