Breeders or Dog Owners who is Responsible for over Populated Shelters – Dog Owners

We have all heard the staggering numbers of how many dogs and cats are euthanized every year and somehow fingers are pointed at breeders. If they stopped breeding dogs would the problem end? Of course it wouldn’t. Breeders are not at fault. In fact, responsible breeders do a wonderful service to dogs in general.

Dog owners are at fault. At a shelter where I once volunteered, there was one family that came in every other year. They wanted to give up their pure bred Golden retriever. Why? The dog was “too big”. Had they not seen a full-grown Golden? They’re the most popular dog in America and they are featured in many TV ads and in several catalogs. Do they really believe that the warm cuddly ball of golden fur will stay like that?

The people at the shelter tried every time to educate these people. To choose the right breed, go through a breed book and see how big a fully-grown adult dog can get. If that’s too big for your needs, keep looking. Somehow it never got through to them. I felt sorry for the kids who had gone through this get a puppy give away a dog cycle so many times.

The dogs were adopted immediately. They were purebred Golden retrievers; full grown with all their shots, neutered, and basic training for a fraction of the price they would pay a breeder.

This is not a typical story. Most people have some reason why they don’t want the dog anymore. And then there are puppy mill dogs. When people bring in a dog who has multiple health issues and behavior problems that not even a professional can cure, it’s a puppy mill dog. Puppy mills are the scourge of the dog world.

Puppy mills breed in quantity and care nothing about quality. Puppies sold in pet stores are from puppy mills. They may have “papers” for the puppy but getting papers from the AKC are as easy as can be. All you need are forms you can get from the AKC. You fill them out with false information and send them in with a check. Bingo you’ve “registered” an entire litter, which can be any number of pups. Just mix and match the names of the parents and you can give “papers” to pet stores to give to puppy buyers.

When the puppy starts costing big bucks at the vet’s office, many people turn the dog over to a shelter. This can happen with dogs bought at a breeder as well. Puppies are cute. Then they get bigger and need shots, deworming, neutering, training, walks, etc. Many people think that the love of a dog is well worth the cost. Unfortunately, too many get sucked in by how cute the puppy is or how much the kids want a puppy. A puppy with a red bow underneath the Christmas tree is a photographer’s dream. It’s an ignorant puppy purchaser’s nightmare. 

If you live anywhere where it snows and is cold around Christmas, that is not the time to buy a puppy. Picture this…It’s 2AM and the puppy is whining in his crate. You get up, put on your robe and slippers (when did he chew my slippers?) and you get the puppy out of his crate. Now before you can go any farther you have to put on warm outerwear and boots. By the time you’re ready to go, the puppy’s already gone on the carpet.

Same scenario except you’ve learned to put your outerwear on first and then get the puppy out of his crate. You open the door and the blast of cold air almost knocks you down. The snow is coming down, sideways, and all around. The puppy has just peed on your boot because the snow is over his head.

These are worst-case scenarios but that’s what you have to consider before you buy that adorable Christmas puppy. Most responsible breeders will give you the pros and cons of getting a puppy in December.

How do you find a responsible breeder? Glad you asked. Once you’ve decided what breed best suits your personality, how much time it needs from you being walked and groomed, and how big it’s going to get, you go to that breed’s website. They will have a list of reputable breeders in your area.

Why are breeders even necessary you may ask? Even my ex-son-in-law can answer that one; he’s heard my lecture many times. Almost every breed has genetic defaults. West Highland White Terriers are prone to skin problems. Labs and Goldens and many other breeds have a tendency to develop hip dysplasia. All of the cute breeds with the pushed in faces, have breathing issues. Shar Peis, those adorable wrinkly dogs from China have many issues. So many that there are vets who specialize in the breed.

Responsible breeders try to breed these issues out. In the case of the Shar Pei, I doubt that’s possible or even desirable. Without all those wrinkles they’d be just another dog. Diversity is endemic to the world of dogs. Big and small, wrinkly or furry, gold, brown, black or white, mutt or pure bred, all they ask for is a home where they can spread their unique brand of love and devotion. They love you on good days and bad. They love you if you haven’t washed your hair in a week or you’re dressed for a ball. All they ask from you is food, water, medical care, and most importantly, lots of love.

If people would do as God commanded them to do (care for the land, sea, and all the creatures), we could close shelters. I believe that God created man. He watched as the man wandered around looking confused and created woman. He saw that woman was organizing the man quite nicely. But, something was missing. The woman needed someone to love her and whose devotion was indisputable. And so God created DOG. He looked down again and saw that it was good.