Are you thinking about bringing home a new dog for the holidays??
If you answered no, you should at least THINK about it! If you answered yes, whether you are thinking of getting it for yourself or as a surprise for a loved one [if so, make sure to film it and post to YouTube!], please remember that a pet is a lifelong commitment. It’s not an ornament that gets put away at the end of the season. It is definitely not something that you can use to “regift” to someone you forgot to shop for. And, I think that it might be a bit much for your office’s annual Secret Santa. A dog will be around and require your emotional, physical, and financial support well beyond the time that the blinking lights get taken down (yes, even for those of you that wait until sometime next spring to do so!).
If you are still sold on the idea of a new furry friend for the holidays, good for you! There are essentially two ways that you can go about it: 1) you can spend a ton of money at a pet store or a breeder and, whether you like it or not, further the use of puppy mills and overpopulation of dogs or 2) you can go to a shelter or rescue organization and save a dog from either living in a box or from a much worse fate. I think you could probably guess which option I am in favor of…
With so many dogs in shelters, many subject to overcrowding and therefore facing the threat of being put down simply because they haven’t found their forever home, I still cannot justify why people still go to breeders (let alone why breeders are even allowed to continue to let their dogs have pups – but we’ll save that for another day). For many, the reason is that they are looking for a purebred dog and not a “mutt.”
First of all, one of the funniest things is that nowadays, having a mutt is all the rage. Except they aren’t called mutts anymore – they are “designer dogs” or “cross-breeds” or “hybrids”. If you ask me, a Pomsky (Pomeranian and Husky), a Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever and Poodle), and a Maltipoo (Maltese and Poodle) – while all extremely adorable – are just modern day mutts. However, it seems that only those dogs living in shelters, and are a mix of more than two discernable breeds are considered to be mutts and therefore have a negative connotation attached to them.
Yes, I agree that there used to be a stigma that in order to have a purebred dog you had to go to a breeder or pet store. But, like anything else, times have changed. Now it is used as a marketing ploy to get breeders and pet stores to make money off of selling more dogs into the world. You can, in fact, find perfectly healthy purebreds in your local shelter or rescue organization.
Over the course of the past few weeks, good friends of mine had been talking about getting another dog. For them, it wasn’t even a question – they knew they would be rescuing when the time came. Last week, as they were browsing online and doing research on what kind of dog they want, they came across a 7 MONTH old, purebred English Bulldog on the New York ACC website. They sprang into action immediately. Why? Because even though English Bulldogs cost thousands from a breeder or pet store, they are the most surrendered dog breed in NYC (http://nypost.com/2014/11/30/why-nycs-most-popular-dog-breed-is-also-its-most-abandoned/). Because of this problem, even though this little boy was only a puppy, he was at risk of being put down due to overcrowding.
For my friends, they aren’t looking for a Bulldog. They aren’t even looking for a puppy. However, they made arrangements to pull this beautiful little boy from the shelter and they worked with a local Bulldog rescue organization to find him a new forever home – all within 24 hours.
Unfortunately, the reason that most of these dogs end up in shelters is because people do not realize that getting a dog is a lifelong commitment. So, if you are looking to bring home a dog this holiday season, please go to your local shelter (or go online to their website) and take a look at the dogs who desperately want to spend their holiday at home with someone who loves them. If you are not thinking of bringing a dog home for the holidays, I urge you to give back to your local shelter, spread the gospel of the merits of rescuing to those that are looking for a new dog, or even do what my friends did – give a dog another chance.