Family & Friends

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‘I Want a Puppy!’

Posted by at 2:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)


Teena MariePuppies are cursed with being among the most adorable creatures on Earth. Whether we’re talking wolf or Weimaraner, people tend to smile when they see them, and I’ve seen near riots at animal shelters and adoption events as people fought to get one of the shelter pups available for adoption. If you’ve ever taken a pup into your family, how did you make your decision?

Recent adoption events that I’ve led have left me reeling at how far we still have to go in educating the public about the decades of commitment that come with adoption. One must carefully consider activity level, grooming requirements, medical expenses, and other factors that make for a successful lifetime relationship with a young canine (wolf pups now excluded, of course; wild canids need to stay wild and free!).

For example, a woman and her daughter approached our small group of volunteers and canines when we were at an off-site adoption event. We had a nice mix of adult dogs and pups, mixed-breeds and purebreds, looking for new lifetime homes.

“Do you have any Samoyeds?” she asked. I explained that the animal shelter does get them in but that we didn’t have any with us or at the shelter at the time. Then I inquired about how they came to ask about that breed. “Well, she’s been looking at them on the Internet, and those puppies sure are cute. Some friends have given me the name of a local breeder.” She assured me that her daughter would not have a problem with grooming the dog since she liked to brush the hair of her dolls.

We had a wonderful discussion about the sometimes stubborn disposition of Samoyeds (OK, tell me if you’ve had one who wasn’t!), their high activity level and tendency to take off when given any opportunity, and the fact that the woman and her daughter were gone eight hours a day and had never had a dog before. We also talked about puppy mills and breeders, the millions of homeless dogs in animal shelters and listed on Petfinder.org, and the less lucky dogs out on the streets. The woman and her daughter left committed to better researching their new animal companion, specifically considering a young adult dog, and visiting the animal shelter.

The Internet brings us all manner of information on things, but sadly, it is being exploited by those who breed dogs (and cats) for profit and care not a bit about whether the animals they sell are happy in their new homes for a lifetime. Just as the television show Frasier led to a Jack Russell craze and every re-release of 101 Dalmatians sends people looking for that breed, Web pictures and claims about labradoodles, Samoyeds, and other breeds lead to poor decisions. And poor decisions lead to suffering animals.

So, what do you and your friends, family members, and coworkers consider when looking for a new puppy (or kitten)?

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7 Comments

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    liliana says...

    September 26th, 2008, 7:40 pm

    If you really love dogs, which is the only reason to adopt, you shouldn’t care about the breed. Of course, if you live in an apartment, you should look for smaller dogs, etc.. but otherwise, those who need a home the most should be priority, those on the verge of being euthanized, those with handicaps, and mutts are THE BEST!!!

    Lindley Paxton Barden says...

    September 26th, 2008, 9:07 pm

    Although any animal adopted from a shelter or rescue group is the best, my personal choice is a senior dog. Many are abandoned at shelters or vet clinics, bound for euthanasia, because they are experiencing signs of advancing age. These dogs may not be as active or gregarious as younger dogs, but their years should not be held against them; they are as loving and appreciative as any other pet, and deserve to live out their days in a loving home.

    Tia Rhoads says...

    September 28th, 2008, 9:14 am

    So you ask what do I consider when looking for a pet? I don’t have to look, they find me. And I love them all. All of my dogs, cats, snakes, birds are rescues adopted from shelters or dumped. The age, breed or declining health should not matter. My husband and I recued a very large grown dog roaming the streets with a collar imbedded in his throat, during his recovery we found out he had heart worms, with the help of Lindley Paxton Barden that wonderful loving dog found its way over 400 milles where he was fostered until well and now has a loving family. We have a one eyed cat a three legged dog, a dog with so many allergies it is crazy but they all deserve love and companionship. I don’t thik we would turn away a child because they weren’t as pretty as the next or had a handicap, let’s not do this to the animals that so need us.

    Jen says...

    October 1st, 2008, 1:07 pm

    My husband gave me the best advice. We let the animal choose us. One year he gave me an empty cat carrier for Christmas and the next day we went to the Worcester Animal Rescue League. There were so many wonderful animals there, but there was this one cat that went ‘nuts’ when he saw us. Needless to say, he became the newest member of our family. It was a perfect match!!!!

    Dawn says...

    October 2nd, 2008, 10:30 am

    Wow! I really like the empty cat carrier gift idea.
    Perfect!

    ANNA DUGAS says...

    October 25th, 2008, 11:24 pm

    MY BELOVED ALMOST 9 YEAR OLD PUP WAS THROWN OUT OF A TRUCK IN FRONT OF MY HOME.MY HUSBAND DID NOT WANT ANOTHER ANIMAL BECAUSE WE ALREADY HAD 26 RESCUED CATS THAT HAD THEIR OWN ENCLOSED BACK PORCH WITH TV AND SOFAS.SHE WAS SO TINY AND WAS ONLY ABOUT 5 WEEKS OLD.NEEDLESS TO SAY WE KEPT HER AND SHE IS THE JOY OF OUR LIVES.SHES HALF GERMAN SHEPARD AND HALF ROTTWEILLER.SHE NOW WEIGHS 111 LBS.I STILL HAVE 10 CATS THAT THINKS SHE’S THEIR MOTHER.THERE IS NO GREATER JOY THEN A COMPANION ANIMAL.I WOULD SPEND EVERY CENT I HAVE TO SEE THEY STAY HEALTHY.THANK YOU PETA FOR THE WONDERFUL WORK YOU DO.SINCERELY,ANNA DUGAS”

    Jadey says...

    April 4th, 2009, 8:05 pm

    What do I look for… a dog that has an energy level that matches my family’s energy level (doesnt necesarly have to do with the breed) and who actually wants to be with us… When I went to see the litter from which our dog comes from (there was no dog that could possibly match my familly at the shelter they mostly had breeds that you cant adopt when you have kids under 12 (pit bull, rottweiler, ect I would have loved to take a pit bull since I have experience with them but they refuse to bypass their rules for me which I understand) and dogs that they wouldnt let us take since they didnt got along with cats) we were planning on taking a male idealy black but when I arrived the only one that really seemed to be interested in me was a little brown female so she is the one we took she is absolutely amazing. She imediately connected with our cat Miss panic they are always together a perfect match…

    2 of my cats we given to me by people who could not longer afford taking care of them Hinata at 1.5 months and Gollum at 1 year I didnt see them before I adopted them so I wasnt expecting anything, they needed a caring and loving home I had a place in my home and heart for them whatever what they might have looked like (I grew up with a one eyed cat so cats with little problems really dont bother me they are as lovable than the other but these 2 turned out to be absolutely beautiful cats)… I was planning on adopting older cats since these cats have less chances of finding a home but these 2 came my way before… When it comes to cats I let life or the cats choose for me… they always did it very well…

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