I’m a member of several local facebook groups…mostly buy/sell sites, and a few parenting ones. Sadly, it seems lately there have been multiple occasions of people posting their dogs to give away. It makes me so sad and furious every time. There are very few occasions where I could see why people would need to find their dog a new home, though I can’t imagine ever making that choice for any reason. Unfortunately, none of these posts that I’ve seen ever have valid reasons…just things like “we just can’t give the dog the time it deserves bc the kids are to busy” or “I have a baby now and it’s too much work” or “I’m worried that the dog will bite the kids” (well, teach your kids how to treat a dog appropriately). Some of the things are situations where a trainer could make a huge difference, but these people would rather dump their dog off with a stranger from a Facebook page. It’s disgusting. I know that some think that comparing pets to children is too much, but if these people adopted a child and the child didn’t magically conform to their life, would they give that child away?!
So anyway, I posted a long rant that I disguised as a public service announcement (not really) on one of the pages where this has happened several times recently, and the post received tons of thank-you comments and likes – one lady even sent me a private message to thank me for posting it because she was getting really frustrated that people keep posting their dogs like they are an item that they are done with. I had to post something, because I’m always so tempted to leave a nasty comment on one of these posts, but I’m not into the drama that would result in such an action. Since the post was so popular, I figured I might as well share it on here.
“(long) PSA: As the holidays approach and people consider pets as gifts, PLEASE think hard about this decision. A dog (or cat) shouldn’t be a spur of the moment decision. Almost every day, I see a posting on one of the Dublin or Powell FB groups of someone looking to get rid of a dog, and it’s heartbreaking. When you get a dog, you commit to taking care of that dog for up to 15 years or more. Before you adopt, think about your lifestyle (are you home enough? Can you walk this dog daily or provide a fenced area?), your future family (are you hoping to have kids?), your other pets (do you have a cat or other dogs?), and your home (how big of a dog can you fit?), puppy-training experience (they are A LOT of time/work). If the pet ends up having behavioral or medical conditions, are you willing to pay for training or vet care/daily meds? Teach your kids to treat ALL dogs cautiously and gently – if your dog is being aggressive because your kid is pulling his tail or poking his eyes, that isn’t the fault of the dog – I would swat someone’s hand if they were trying to poke my eye…and the dog doesn’t have hands to do that, so they growl or snap as a warning. Keep them separated until you can teach your child the correct way to touch dogs (because if he does this to a stranger dog, he’s likely to get bit). Teach them to stay away from a dogs food dish and toys, if there’s any worries of a dog being possessive. If your dog needs training, do it – you can’t expect an animal to know how you want it to act or to understand your words and anger. There are breeds that tend to be more kid-friendly, but even they can bite if they feel threatened or mistreated. If you are going to get a dog, please consider adopting from a shelter or rescue. The benefits of adopting from a rescue is that the dog is probably being fostered and has received vet attention/shots/neutering/microchip, and is likely already being house and crate trained by the foster family. The foster family can tell you about the dog (any issues or needs), and the rescue group will organize meet-and-greets to make sure your family is a good fit for the dog (especially if you have other pets and kids). The rescue group will also provide support/resources if you are having issues with the dog (try to get that from a pet store or most breeders), and if something happens and you can no longer care for the dog, they are likely to take it back (as opposed to it being abandoned or given to a home that won’t care for it). All breeds of dogs need rescuing, so don’t let “needing” a specific breed be a reason you don’t choose a rescue. I always wanted a Puggle, but gave up the thought of having one because I figured I’d never find a rescue because who would ever get rid of an adorable puggle? Well, she was abandoned and rescued twice – and she’s an amazing dog. She has never had an accident in the house, and the worst thing I can say about her is that she’ll eat any food she can get her mouth on (but what pug or beagle wouldn’t?) and that she barks when people walk their dogs past “her” window. If you need help finding a rescue or a specific breed, please send me a PM and I will try to help (and check petfinder.com).”
I’m certainly not trying to insult breeders (good ones, anyway) or people who didn’t choose a rescue animal, but I just wanted people to realize that there are some major benefits of choosing a rescue and that even pure breeds are available. As we learned with Boof, people will abandon dogs no matter how cute they are. Yes, sometimes she annoys us with excessive barking or trying to eat right off of Jenson’s highchair, or being a sucky walker even though she demanded her walk…but she’s an amazing dog, and most of this stuff would be resolved if we actually followed through with the training that we did go to with her. We consider her part of the family – before we make vacation plans, we think about who will take care of her for us. Before we leave for a few hours in the evening, we consider whether we will be back in time to give her dinner (she’s very concerned if she thinks her meal will be delayed). Lo gets up at 5:45ish, even on the weekends, because that’s when she expects her breakfast and to go outside. If she decides she’s going to sleep in our bed and takes up too much room, we fit her in (which usually means our legs are crunched up or we can’t roll over). She tends to lean towards a weight issue (hello, pug and beagle parents), so we spend twice as much on a dog food that we have to order from the vet because it keeps her weight down (and we weigh each of her servings so she stays in a healthy range). When we pack bags to go anywhere (even if she’s going with us, we pack secretly because she gets anxious when she thinks we are leaving. The thought of her never knowing if she will being abandoned again breaks my heart. Maybe people think that we are crazy and that we spoil her too much, but we made a commitment to her when we chose her. If being spoiled makes her feel extra-loved and safe, it’s worth it.