There are a few myths out there about getting a dogs from breeders. With a name like FiDOSE of Reality, of course, we need to dispel them. Thus, the great dog breeder vs rescue debate is an age-old one.
I’ve fostered dogs and advocate for rescuing dogs in need.
Every year I fundraise to help dogs in need who have been abandoned, neglected, abused, and/or dumped.
My dog, Dexter, entered my life via a purebred breeder of Cocker Spaniels.
I make no excuses for my behavior, and I’ve learned to accept my decision, hold my head high, and will forever advocate for dogs in need of good, loving homes.
Purebred or mutt, reputable breeder or rescue, 78 million Americans have a love affair with dogs. I cringe, though, because though I am a fan of Westminster Kennel Club and I cover it every year for media, I actually do not want my dog’s breed to be popular.
Breed popularity dictates and mandates what the general public demands. Puppy millers and horrid backyard breeders must be shut down. Puppy mills are selling thousands of dogs online. I know many people, myself included, who have purchased a dog from a reputable breeder.
Popular breeds find their way into the breeding programs of both amazing and horrible breeders. I have rescued dogs and saved my last little girl from a puppy mill nightmare. My dog, Dexter, is from a reputable breeder. He found me and through a series of events, 30 days after losing my Brandy Noel, he found his way to my heart. We were meant to be.
I did my research, I talked to the breeder, I went on site, I met the mom and littermates, and I was interviewed extensively before I could have one of her babies. This is what being a reputable breeder is all about. She interviewed me extensively as well, asked for references, and I was made to fill out an 8-page application of questions all about me, my life, and why I wanted one of her dogs.
What is it about the stigma of good breeders that so very much angers a portion of rescue folks? Why do I have to be afraid to share the truth and wear my breeder Cocker badge with pride instead of feeling like he’s my Scarlett Letter depending on who I’m around.
Case in Point
Last year, I received an email from a Cocker Spaniel rescue group.
“Here is the big difference between rescue and a lot of breeders. We got a call from a vet that refused to put this Cocker puppy to sleep. We will do everything we can for this sweet girl. The breeder wouldn’t make any money on her if they did the surgery to remove the eye so they wanted to KILL her. She is having the eye removed on Tuesday. She isn’t available for adoption and won’t be for some time.”
So I shared this little life on Facebook, Tweeted her out, and sent emails to friends who might be able to help.
And then the comments came rolling in.
“Just like there are bad breeders, there are many horrible rescues too. As a proud mom of three rescue Cockers, I dislike people vilifying breeders and pretending to be higher moral grounds. Perhaps this rescue should thank the benefactor of the funds that enables the rescue of this very puppy instead of judging the breeder.”
“I feel compelled to point out that there are just as many unscrupulous rescues as there are irresponsible breeders. This case doesn’t show the difference between rescue and some breeders, it shows the difference between people who care about animals and people who don’t. Both kinds are found in both rescue and breeding.”
In spreading the word about the puppy in need of funds, hope, and a new life, the hope was for someone to step up. Someone has stepped up: Funds are being raised and a fellow Cocker Mom wants to adopt her when the time comes.
I replied to the above comments with ,”Just as there are horrible breeders there are also horrible “rescues” – this is about being positive and getting funds raised for this baby in need. On that I am sure we all can agree.”
My first Cocker was a puppy mill rescue. I believe until laws are tougher and legislation is passed for dogs, it will never change. In a visit to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 2012, imagine my horror in discovering puppies being sold with green beans.
When I wrote about this topic on my own blog, the comments were varied but carried a common theme: Make no apologies.
One responder shares, “Yes dogs from reputable breeders DO exist and I have one! I also often feel as if I have to apologize for having bought my dog but the situation at the time warranted it! I also donate, promote and care about homeless animals (and my cat IS adopted), people need to not judge.”
Simply stated, I went to a breeder because Cockers are prone to a lot of health problems and I shared nearly 15 years of my life with a dog that had a multitude of health issues. I’d sell my left lung to have her back and would not change a moment we spent together. Getting a dog from a reputable breeder does not guarantee a clean bill of health; I just wanted some piece of mind that with the many health anomalies affecting Cocker Spaniels, that this breeder did her homework. She does and I feel very confident in my decision. In fact, we are now friends.
After my dog, Brandy, died, I sought the help of a grief counselor and came to realize that the hole in my heart would never be whole again until pawprints filled it. Then along came Dexter.
His little face protruding from a plastic pumpkin as I would peruse Cocker Spaniel breeder websites in my area, there he sat. From the girl who swore to the “never again,” mantra – in that never again would I allow myself to get that close to a dog again, I found my never again. He sits at my feet daily and his name is Dexter.
Dexter came from a reputable breeder and he, in turn, rescued me from myself. Would I rescue again? Yes. Would I go to a reputable breeder again? Yes. I suppose saying my heart beats dog means living it to the fullest and every day I strive to do just that.
Does it matter to you whether a dog comes from a rescue/shelter or breeder? Bark at me in the comments below but please judge not.