Saturday, April 25, 2009

American Dog

Although this post is a little delayed, I just want to also share my congratulations to the Obama family in their new furry members arrival. I remember how much fun it was to be young and have my first dog too. The adventures they have, the lessons they learn and the love they share will be with them forever. Although I am not a subscriber to the same political party or mindset, and of course am completely biased on what particular breed has my heart, I couldn't be happier with the situation.
I'm so glad that they, as our blogger friend Cadie posted on her Acadia Shelties site, did not buckle under the immense pressure that was being put on them from various animal welfare/rescue groups about what THEY think the family should have done. It was really nice to see that they did what was right for THEIR family.
I cannot BELIEVE how much controversy their decision has caused. Sure, he may have said that we would like a rescue dog. We ALL would like to see rescue dogs in permanent loving forever homes. But when it comes down to it, we all need to make a decision based on our individual and familial needs and wants. And after all, isn't this still America? Don't we still retain the right of freedom of choice, and the right to the pursuit of happiness?
I mean, if you think about it, yes, the Earth might be better if we all drove hybrid Prius'. But a Prius will NOT fit every ones lifestyle. How are you going to cram you 4 kids and spouse into a Prius? How will you fit your two English Mastiff's in there? How will you pull your trailer or boat? Just because they are available and a good decision, doesn't mean that everyone can or should get one. Now, look at it when it comes to dogs. The Obama's needed a hypo-allergenic breed (personally, what makes me SO proud is the fact that they did not pay some exhorbent amount of money for a "designer" dog like a labradoodle). They also need a friendly, outgoing energetic breed that can keep up with their demanding schedule. If they were to get a mixed, Heinze 57 dog, who knows what the personality would be like, or the size the dog grew into. Or the temperament or behaviors the dog could come up with. Of course, as was expressed in my last post, every dog is an individual even beyond their breed tendencies, but it is hard to have any predictions when you don't even know where to start.
And it is obviously harder to guarantee the health of the dog as well. Sure, many people argue that mixed breeds are healthier because they have fewer genetic conditions, but think about it: any mix or combination of purebreds can have the same inherited eye, bone and joint and heart issues. And yes, in the veterinary clinic where I work, we see mixed breeds with cancer too.
I know that there are many passionate animal lovers out there who would like to see every homeless pet in rescues and shelters adopted. I applaud their love, hard work and all of their efforts to get that mission accomplished. But these people also need to STOP blaming and penalizing RESPONSIBLE pet owners and breeders. Just because someone buys from a breeder, it doesn't mean that they are making or accepting the conscious decision to "let a shelter pet die". We need to start looking towards the actual reasons behind the pet over population; it has nothing to do with the good responsible breeders making good, healthy, quality pet dogs available to loving homes. It has to do with the fact that so many low income pet owning households are irresponsible: not spaying and neutering their pet (who is clearly not being kept intact to "improve a breed"-as most are mixed breeds themselves) and then letting said intact pet run amok through their neighborhoods ensuring unwanted and unplanned litters. It is because of commercial facilities (aka the HUNTE corp.) that churn out pets like product, and then sell to second party dealers (aka pet stores) who then sell them to people who walk through their shops and buy on impulse; with no regard to the dogs health, if they are really ready and able to care for another being, and who because of lack of education, they keep THESE dogs intact and become "backyard breeders."None of these things happen when responsible breeders are at the helm. These people not only ensure that they are only breeding healthy and temperamentally sound dogs, but they also screen out the people who may not be the best candidate for that breed (or a pet at all!) They are doing all of the right things; the problems lie when those people who get turned away (for whatever reason) by the responsible people, are then able to go to the pet store or even shelter and get a pet. The red flags that the responsible breeders saw on the initial meeting usually crop up at some other time later (or in some cases, right off the bat) in the pets life. People who shouldn't own so much as a gold fish because of personality flaws/disorders (hoarders, people who want to breed for ridiculous reasons-"I want my kids to experience the miracle of birth", "I don't want to take away his/her right as a 'parent'", "I want to make money" etc.) are then able to do all of those irresponsible things at the animals expense. People who were turned away for financial reasons (most breeders know that if someone balks at the price of a high quality puppy, they will also question other "pricey" things that are undoubtedly bound to come up throughout the pets life-accidents, vaccines, heartworm tests, other illnesses etc.) will then find themselves facing a huge medical bill or euthanasia because the puppy they bought from a pet store has parvo, kennel cough that progressed to pneumonia, or hip dsyplasia. (I see these INFURIATING cases all the time at the hospital).
We (we meaning all of us animal lovers) need to stop persecuting and placing hugely restrictive laws on responsible owners and breeders and focus on the real issues plaguing us. Good breeders need to stop being demonized for what they do; this is America. The greatest country in the world. We can deal with the issues of Peace all over the world, but we can't all agree on or take care of our pet issues here in our own country? We need to start working together and stop pointing fingers. We need to look at the issue as a whole, and find out really, what the root of the problems are. And for HEAVENS SAKE, we need to stop judging people based on their decisions as pet owners-as long as they are RESPONSIBLE. And although criticizing politicians is part of what it is to be American, judging him on his decision on which pet would be right for his family is just wrong. I hope we can keep in mind how happy that this dog will make this family for years and years to come; even after they have vacated the White House, and have moved beyond Washington, "Bo" and all of the memories with him will live on in their hearts forever.


  1. I agree, we all need to choose the dog that is right for us. That is how you keep dogs out of shelters, by making the right choice.

    Who are we to judge?

    I have one dog who came from a breeder and one who came from "rescue". They are both loved and cared for. Isn't that what really matters?

  2. I love your point of view on this. My friend just got a "shih chi" from her boss, and the whole situation really annoys me. This was their SECOND "mistake" litter (in less than a year) from this dog because they were lazy and irresponsible and didn't get the dog spayed. What infuriates me even more is that they call it a "shih chi" like it's some sort of special breeding and sell them for hundreds of dollars. Sometimes I wonder how people live with themselves. And like you said, it's sad that it's at the animals' expense.

    I am all about supporting responsible breeders, but I also love rescuing if it's the right option. After all, my heart is stolen by my beautiful little rescue mutt, she's the best thing that has ever happened to me :)