That Doggie in the Window

How could I resist that face?

How could I resist that face?

Remember that old song that asked, “How much is that doggie in the window?” It’s a question asked in pet stores every day. The true cost of that cute puppy isn’t the tag at the pet store register. The mother dog is the one paying the price. Most puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills. When you buy that cute little pup, your money is actually condemning that momma dog to a life in a cage having litter after litter to supply cute pups for you, the consumer, to buy. If that doesn’t touch your heart, do your own research about puppy mills. What you discover may shock you.

I’m writing this post to (hopefully) educate you about the realities of unwanted pets. There are millions of unwanted animals—dogs, cats and even horses. Many of them die because a good home is not found in time. Most county shelters can only house a certain number of pets before shelter workers have to decide who to kill to make room for the next animals who are picked up off the streets or turned in by unthinking owners.

When I lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, I was told by a worker that owner-surrendered animals were put to sleep before the owners had left the premises. I nearly cried. Even the no-kill shelters and rescue groups need help and connections to place animals in good homes.

Did you know that certain kinds of dogs are considered nearly unadoptable? Everyone wants that adorable pup, right? If dogs are large, black or senior, they are hard to place. Pitbulls are the hardest breed to place. According to Julia Musser of Animal Rescue of Kindness (A.R.K.), Pits face problems due to breed-specific legislation restricting Pitbull ownership. It’s basically breed profiling (akin to racial profiling). If you are an older, large-bodied, black Pit, your chances of surviving a shelter are slim to none. Heartbreaking and unfair.

I have adopted nearly all my pets from a shelter or rescue. Others were given to me. I look for the animal that connects with me. In each case, I have gone in with an open mind and heart and “my” pet has found me.

I will not pay hundreds of dollars for a pet when shelter pets are being murdered every day in countries around the world. This is a world-wide issue, not just a national one. Hopefully, you will adopt your next pet from a shelter or rescue. Some rescues ask for an adoption to help cover vet expenses. It’s a fair thing to ask. How else can they help the next hurt, unwanted animal if there’s no money to take it to a vet? Most rescues will ask for references from people who know you. They might even ask to speak with your vet if you have had pets in the past. It’s normal, so don’t get mad about it! A home visit may even be required to seal the deal! The rescue groups want to be sure you can provide the love and care the animal deserves. If the rescue or shelter doesn’t have your dream pet, ask if they can contact you when that special animal (for you) arrives. Rescues network and always want an animal to find a “furever” home. Keep in mind if you check out the dogs or cats at the local animal shelter, you might not see the animal’s true personality until later. The animals are frightened and confused, so be patient and loving. It will pay off! Go in with an open mind and consider adopting one that may be overlooked by the majority of people. I can guarantee that pet will repay your kindness with unconditional love.

If you must find a new home for your pet, PLEASE don’t advertise it on places like Craigslist. The wrong people might come get that animal to use as a bait dog for training aggressive dogs. It’s a death sentence in many cases. I have even read about wives dressing nicely to pick up an animal destined to be killed by her husband’s fighting dog. You think it doesn’t happen? You are wrong. It saddens me to say that.

As many of my friends comment, “There are no problem dogs, just problem owners.” If you need to rehome your pet, contact a rescue group for leads. Nothing makes me madder, however, than hearing someone say, “I have to GET RID OF my dog (cat, horse).” “Getting rid of” implies all kinds of things to me. None of them make me think favorably of you.

If you are ready to adopt, keep reading. Below are some links (from my area) to get you started if you feel ready to make a life-long commitment to a pet.

One of my rescue babies

One of my rescue babies

Chance was adopted through A.R.K.  Thank you, Julia Musser!

Chance was adopted through A.R.K. Thank you, Julia Musser!

Poppy came from the North Platte Animal Shelter.  Thank you!

Poppy came from the North Platte Animal Shelter. Thank you!