|Charleston. My Harford County Humane Society rescue.|
I have many dilemmas. They keep me up at night.. not the healthiest way of dealing, but it seems that during the day I am busy enough to keep the little nags at bay. Come sundown and sleepytime they rear up and tug at my conscious. Here's one I dealt with for the umpteenth time just the other day.
Said cute couple just starting their life together adopts their first four legged child. They love this girl to pieces. They dote on her, take her everywhere, and she, of course, sleeps in bed with them. There isn't one part of this pets relationship that isn't fully invested in their marriage. It is everything a vet hopes for a dog to find. Except, they want to breed her.
My experience has shown me that the reasons for this vary immensely, but I find that breeders fall into one of four categories;
Best In Show
- These are the people you watch on The National Dog Show on Thanksgiving morning. They are the pinnacle of expertise for their one specific breed. Almost all of them have dedicated their entire lives to the health, advancement and welfare of their breed. They know the family tree of their breeding line better than any of us could recall our aunts and uncles never mind our more distant relatives. They do not sleep with their dogs, their dogs sleep under security cameras.
- The local breeders who manage one or two females, breed only after a complete vet work up, and sell privately to local families for upwards of $800 a pup. They work hard to provide healthy, well socialized family pets as an extension of their family business.
- The amateurs who dabble in the idea of taking their self proclaimed prime canine specimen as a way of passing on their prides legacy. They learn quickly that the business of breeding doesn't come cheap or easy. The road to puppies may be paved with good intentions but one $3,000 emergency c-section later they are singing a different hard lesson learned tune.
Accidents/Cash Only/No Ethics
- The people who breed because they never got around to spaying and neutering the brother and sister shih tzus who live in the house. Or, the person who is running short on funds and sees the Craigs List ads for "puppies for sale" that all seem to cost a few hundred bucks. Seems like an easy score right? Just breed your dog and grow your own at home business. I don't see these people much in practice. They do not seek veterinary advice, nor intervention when their lack of experience puts their prego pup in a serious pickle for a multitude of reasons. If you are contemplating purchasing a puppy from an ad see my blog on Puppy Mill Cruelty.
|The Black Dogs Rescue pups.|
How do I talk to a person who wants to breed their pet honestly and openly when my lifetime of experience knows that there are a significant number of people out there in the world who purchase a puppy without the ability to care for them adequately and most definitely lack the ability to love them until they meet an untreatable end at a ripe old age? Here are some of the realities of pet ownership from this veterinarians perspective...
I know that people give up on treating a disease because it is cheaper to buy a replacement. Simple economics, right?
I also know that people surrender their older pets to get a newer edition, like it a status symbol, or the lease on the old car ran out.
That children who want a pet often lack the attention span to care for them when the monotony of daily feedings, poop clean up and adequate exercise comes calling on a Saturday morning when the rest of their friends are headed to the mall.
The great breeders I know make a lifelong obligation to take back any pup the buyer no longer wants. They have contracts that require it. The best rescues also do this. Jarrettsville Vet has adopted out many an unwanted surrendered, abandoned, and denied convenience euthanasia pets to dozens of people over the last 10 years. Thankfully, many are in loving homes who share Christmas cards of "Thanks for helping us find our beloved Fluffy." But, I have many stories that attest to people's inability to love til death do them part. Even with a contract that states we will take our pets back "no questions asked" we get surprised. When an elderly woman who had adopted two cats many years prior became ill and needed to be hospitalized for two weeks her children (who promised to care for her cats while she was in the hospital) dropped them off as "ferals" at the local shelter. Luckily, those cats had our microchip and we were called to ask if our cats were lost? People can break your heart and destroy your faith in mankind.
The statistics in the US are awful. In the US we own 83.3 million dogs (all 2012 figures) and 95.6 million cats. The shelters house about 7 million pets and euthanize about 3 million dogs and cats a year. That means that 1 in 25 pets gets surrendered or brought to a shelter. Many of these are euthanized (about half of the dogs and three quarters of the cats). But think to of all of the pets that are euthanized at the hands of vets for the countless reasons we label as "convenience euthanasia." If I had to guess I would say that the 1:25 figure would be halved. Of the rest of the euthanasia's we perform many are due to plain old lack of funds to provide care. Halve that number again. One in 6. Add to that the number of pets that are not brought in for euthanasia, for instance, those that are killed outside of a shelter or vets office (think hit by car, disease, parasites, etc). and we are at 1 in 3. The statistics outside of the US in almost every other corner of the globe are even more abysmal.
How do you feel about knowing those odds? Me, not good enough to bring a soul into the world and bear the responsibility to provide for them for a decade or two should their parent no longer be willing to do so,,, and Lord knows I love me a puppy and/or a kitten. I just see reality too much. It keeps me up at night...
|Stealing a moment with Max.|
If you aren't taking time to kiss the pups what is the point of working?
So You Want To Rescue A Puppy? My advice on how to avoid the disasters of trying to do a good thing.
The Pain Of Breeding.
Breeders My Take On Them.
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