Friday, January 20, 2012

Two Years of Canine Bliss

Two years ago this weekend, we adopted a too-thin 32 pound "puppy" named Dixie with paws larger than life, from the Garland Animal Shelter through Garland Pawsibilities . Here we are two years, a new name and 45 pounds later, Roxy is is our crazy and sweet dog child.

In honor of her adoption anniversary, I decided to write about something that is very important to me: shelter pets! I believe with my whole heart, that when you are ready to add a furry friend in your life, that you should strongly consider rescuing a pet from a shelter or adopting from a rescue organization. There are many misconceptions about shelter and rescue pets, and hopefully after reading this post, your mind may have changed.

Myth: Shelter pets are obviously not good pets, or else their original owners wouldn't have gotten rid of them. I have heard this so many times and it drives me crazy! The number one reason that pets wind up in shelters is due to the fact that the original owners didn't think about the time and energy it takes to have a pet. To be perfectly frank, it's due to irresponsible pet owners. Us! The humans! The majority of shelter pets are loving, sweet animals who weren't given a chance. Roxy was found in a field and we have come to the conclusion that she was most likely dumped, as so many dogs and cats are, when their owners are tired of dealing with them.

Myth: You never know what you're getting with shelter pets.
While this may be true, it is certainly true with any dog you get, regardless if you are adopting from a rescue or buying from a pet store or breeder. Like humans, dogs and cats get sick! When we took Roxy to the vet shortly after we got her; she had worms and kennel cough. This was due to the fact that her previous owners did not give her monthly heartworm prevention and she was never given proper vaccinations to prevent kennel cough. Unless you have done your research, that cute dog you see in the window at the pet shop could have the same exact problems-if not worse. Does Roxy get the occasional ear infection? Sure! Just like any dogs with floppy ears do. Is it because she was a shelter pet? Of course not!

Myth:Purebreds are impossible to find at animal shelters. This is the myths of all myths in regards to shelter pets. As I am looking at my city's shelter website, more than half of the dogs and cats listed as available for adoption, are PUREBRED! I am talking miniature schnauzers, labrador retrievers, poodles, etc. Why is this such a huge misconception? In my opinion, I think people think of shelter pets as cast offs, bad pets, etc. But really, that's not it at all. In addition to shelters, there is a rescue organization for just about every single popular breed-and the not so popular ones as well. Word of advice? Do your research! You will be surprised at what you find.

Myth:When picking out a pet, puppies and kittens are the way to go.
Not necessarily. If you want a puppy or kitten, great! Good for you! But, please educate yourself on the training, energy and time it takes to raise a puppy or kitten. When we first set out to adopt a dog, we wanted a mature dog with previous training. Well...that is not what we got. You know the saying, "you don't choose the dog (or cat), the dog chooses you?" For us, that was the case. We have had Roxy for 2 years, and let me tell you-it has been a long two years. We have had our patience and nerves tested. Raising a puppy is HARD. Those that have been there know what I am talking about. Is it worth it in the end? Most definitely! Is it tough? More than you will ever know-unless you have raised a puppy. :) So, my point is this: don't walk past those kennels with the older dogs or cats in it. They need homes just as much as those young pets do-and the reward in the end will be great.

This has sure been a long winded post. Do I think that if you don't adopt a pet from an shelter or rescue group that you aren't doing the right thing? Absolutely not! However, I encourage you to do your research. If you are getting a pet from a breeder, ask for references. How long have they been in business? What are the living situations for the current dogs they have like? You get the picture. If buying a dog from a pet store, do the same thing. Research to see if they have been associated with any puppy mills. If you don't know what puppy mills are, Google it. You definitely don't want to support anything like this.

And, if you read my post and it gets your mind churning about the types of pets at shelters and rescues-go check them out. You might find your furry friend. And they will be forever grateful.

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