10.15.2011

Blog the Change

I've read quite a few of the Blog the Change posts today ... and although I wanted to participate, I really wasn't sure what I wanted to write about.  I didn't know what I could say that hadn't already been said, and said better, by other bloggers.  


In light of this, I decided to tighten the focus, and keep my post on a more personal, intimate level.  So here it is.  The divide between those who believe so staunchly in rescue that they could never even consider obtaining a dog (or cat) in any other way but to adopt one from a shelter or rescue group and those who believe it is perfectly acceptable to spend what often amounts to a great deal of money on a purebred dog or cat from a breeder can often feel impossible to breach.  For my own part, I have often struggled with this because there are several breeds I'm very attracted to that are rare enough that they are not often (or ever) available in rescue.  This, of course, is a good thing.  But what it means is that if I ever want to realize my dreams of sharing my life with one of these dogs, I will need to reconcile myself to buying a puppy from a breeder.  

But here's the thing.  I can't.  I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with others doing so, provided that they are careful, do their research, and make sure that they are in fact obtaining their puppy (or kitten) from a reputable breeder (and exactly what this is and how to define it is a whole other discussion) and are not just falling in love with a cute puppy (or kitten) or being taken in by a fancy website.  I still torture myself by researching breeders of Pyrenean ShepherdsBerger PicardsHungarian Wirehaired VizslaIbizan Houndsand Dandie Dinmont Terriers, just to name a few, (and to be frank I also lust after Devon Rex cats) but in my heart I know that any dog I get will come from a shelter or other rescue situation, and the same goes for the cats.  

Anyone who believes strongly in rescue will understand the why of this, but I have had other people who have expressed surprise, or even indignation, in the face of this conviction.  One such person, a fellow student in a past agility class who had a lovely female Briard (another breed on my personal wish list) who I would chat with often before and after class just couldn't grasp why I would say I "would never" get a dog in any other way than to rescue one.  Once when we were talking about it (I was mushing over Emily, her Briard girl, and she had offered to put me in touch with her breeder), she said something along the lines of "You know, you've done the rescue thing.  You've paid your dues. Why not reward yourself with a quality dog from a breeder who really knows what they're doing?"  


Why indeed?  Well, because.  This logic suggests that adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue rather than purchasing one from a breeder is a way to erase some cosmic debt, or that the dogs themselves are somehow "less than."  Which is not the way I feel about things at all.  For one thing, I've done nothing that I need to atone for, and for another, I think my dogs are amazing.  I feel grateful and privileged to have them. I am honored to be the person who gets to live with and love them.  They don't owe me anything, and certainly not their unswerving gratitude for having rescued them.  And the reason I am intrigued by some of the breeds I mentioned above is not because I feel that my own dogs are lacking in some way, but because, quite simply, I'm a dog freak.  I love dogs.  All dogs, almost without exception, and have ever since I can remember.  Pretty much from the get-go, if my parents' recollections of my early childhood are any indication.  If I ever did get a puppy, of whatever breed, from a well-researched breeder, I would love that dog with the same passion and fervor that I love Tucker and Phoebe.  I know this.  I also know that it will never happen.  

Because if I did ... 

I would not be able to experience the joy of watching a dog no one wanted raise his nose to the sky, close his eyes, and let the wind blow his ears back ... 


or watch that same dog run through lush green grass with joyful abandon ... 



and run ... 


and run ... 


or delight in a simple game of tag ... 


or relax in the grass on a brisk fall day ... 


with a trusted friend ... 


or know the comfort of a soft bed  to lie on ... 


I wouldn't know what it's like to be looked at like this ... 


And without all those things ... I just wouldn't be me.  It's that simple.  

14 comments:

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Mom has tears running down her face - this is a most wonderful and heartfelt post. Your love for your pups is amazing.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

Amber DaWeenie said...

Ditto on everything the OP Pack had to say. This is one of the most beautiful posts that I've read today.

:o)

Mr. Pip said...

Oh my gosh, this was one of the most beautiful and heartfelt posts I have read today. The words were as lovely as the pictures. I had chills during the last sequence! You really captured the love, wonder, and magic!

Your pal, Pip and mom

houndstooth said...

I think you expressed yourself quite eloquently! I can't imagine you worrying that you couldn't say anything that hadn't been said better by others.

Karen Jo said...

You wrote a most beautiful and touching post.

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

Yep. Well said. I too am a dog nut and there are many breeds I lust for but will never have because I'm committed to either a rescue dog or rehoming an ex racing Greyhound so they can know life as a pet. They give so much and ask for so little. I'm glad you wrote your post:)

CATachresis said...

As I reach out my hand and scritch my purring rescue kitty I cannot but agree with you. Great post. "Paying one's dues" sounds so calculated. Where's the love? Maybe this purebred owner was feeling guilty!!

Sagira said...

What a beautiful post my friend.

Foley Monster and Pocket said...

I think this was an excellent post. Both Foley and Pocket came from breeders but we also have had dogs from breeders who died before the ago of five. I think it is rescues here on out for this old couple

Stewey said...

Beautiful post!
Stewey

In Black and White said...

Such a lovely post!
I have a secret hankering for an irish wolfhound but I've never seen one in rescue and, like you, couldn't imagine getting a dog any other way. Just as well cos I doubt I could afford to feed such a giant...

Kim said...

Wow. Simply wow. This weekend's cause could not possibly be better expressed than in the way you have here. Beautiful. And yes, I type through teary eyes. Your dogs are the luckiest on the planet - and it looks like they know and appreciate it.

Thank You for blogging the change for animals!
Kim Thomas
BtC4Animals.com
CindyLusMuse.blogspot.com

Elizabeth said...

To get JF and Dewi (a "rare" breed as you say), after having always rescued, was bittersweet, and I have wrestled with guilt over it (but believe now that it was the right thing for me and my family - and I certainly wouldn't trade them for anything). I am with a completely different set of circumstances, however, and shouldn't be compared to you.

You have captured so well here the joy in seeing a dog with a second chance thrive. And for anyone out there who wants a dog and is not bent on getting a particular breed (for whatever reason), I hope they read this and head directly to the adoption stand.

DivaKat said...

i know this is an old post of yours, but i wanted to comment anyway. :)

a year ago, i decided to pester TheEngineer (who travels for his work occasionally, leaving me home alone) for a dog to keep me company. i'd always wanted a wee little poodle and my former husband scoffed at such "football dogs".

but i have health issues and just cant take care of a big dog (like his german shepherds!) myself. so i looked and looked at the dogs on petfinder...

and found a 5 year old little girl poodle, who was a rescue from a puppy mill. she weighed just a smidge over 4 pounds when we got her, even after a couple of months of very good care at an immaculate rescue facility. she's now up to nearly seven pounds, and a more devoted companion i could not dream of.

and in the meantime, she turned around and saved MY life. i'm a diabetic, and she alerted on a dangerously low blood sugar level. now she travels with me everywhere, proudly wearing her little pink jacket.

i got my purebred (spayed, happy, healthy) dog, but in a way that makes *me* feel good about giving a needful dog a home, too.

i think you dont have to justify yourself at all, you have beautiful pets!!