As I thought on what I wanted to say today about dog rescue, I became a little discouraged. My experience is so limited. I’m no John Gagnon, driving from city to city, pulling dogs from high-kill pounds. I’ve only adopted a single dog from my local no-kill shelter. What do I know about saving lives?
In so many ways adoption was the easier choice for me. For one, it was a heck of a lot cheaper. Not only did I not have to pay upwards of a thousand dollars for a purebred puppy, but Shiva came to us spayed and will all her initial vaccinations. We even received a free first vet check-up. With all we would have spent that first month on a puppy, the nominal adoption fee seemed positively cheap!
I’ve shared this chart before but I think it is a great example of how much you can actually save by going to a shelter, even when compared with the free pets one can find online.
Secondly, adopting an older dog with a normal-sized bladder meant I didn’t have to wake up five times throughout the night to take Shiva outside. Shelter dogs are often already house trained, which was a huge selling point for me. We didn’t have to waste time with pee pads or cleaning up accidents, we could just get right to enjoying our lives together mess-free.
Of course, that’s not to say that you can’t find adorable puppies at a shelter or rescue, if that is what want. You are just far braver than I!
The third reason adoption seemed like the easier choice was that I knew there was a chance the dog we chose would already have some manners. Many dogs are surrendered to shelters and rescues because their owners can no longer care for them. These dogs are already used to living in a home and know some pretty handy skills. Also, depending on the shelter or foster home, many dogs receive foundational training while waiting for their forever home. For example, check out this video of a dog at my local shelter.
Though I wasn’t this lucky with Shiva, I can’t help but think how awesome it would be to have a dog who already understands the concept of recall. You can skip all the boring stuff and just get right to the fun!
For all of the above reasons, it really don’t feel like I did anything that special or sacrificial by adopting my dog instead of purchasing her from a breeder. At the time it seemed like the practical thing to do for a woman of modest income who works full-time. And yet…
When I see the statistics for the number of dogs killed in shelters and pounds every day, I have to wonder. Shiva may not have been in danger of euthanasia but hundreds of thousands of other dogs are. While I may not have technically saved her life, I do have the power to save other dogs, just by sharing her story. Perhaps she can serve as a sort of adoption ambassador, helping convince others to adopt some of the dogs who are in serious danger.
As hard as it is to believe, there was a time when Shiva didn’t snooze on the couch with her blanket and pillow pet, when she had to scrounge the streets for garbage and hide from potential dangers outdoors. You wouldn’t know it to look at her now but life wasn’t always so cushy for our silly dog. The way she was able to rebound from her early difficulties is an inspiration. Her time as a stray is long forgotten. She is just a regular dog now, no different than any other.
That’s just it, I think. Dogs are dogs, it doesn’t matter if they cost thousands of dollars or if they were rescued from the side of the road. You are just as likely to find a pretty awesome companion either way.
Besides all poop, even the expensive show dog kind, is disgusting when you pick it up. May as well save a few bucks, right?
What do you know? I guess I had something to say after all.
- Write a blog post related to dog rescue
- Leave comments on other blogs and share the links with your social media network
- Share your dog’s adoption story with friends and family
- Donate to a local dog rescue organization
- Contact a local rescue organization about adoption or fostering
- Volunteer at a local shelter or rescue organization
- Spread the word and encourage others to join in
No matter how small you think your actions, you have the power to make a difference in the lives of animals. You never know what Tweet or Facebook status or blog post will find a dog his forever home.
*All photos used in this post are of dogs listed on Petfinder.com