Saturday, September 22, 2012

Several thoughts on dog ownership

I made a late afternoon trip to PetsMart to buy the usual stuff (food, cat litter,toys) and I remembered that I have been meaning to write this post ever since the Reliant show.  It is a usual thing for PetsMart to have an adoption going on on Saturday but today they had probably 30 or more dogs for adoption.  They had big dogs and small dogs, no really young puppies.  There were lots of cats and kittens, too. Since it was late in the day I had the feeling that most of these would be going  back to either a shelter or their foster homes.   I didn't stop to really look at the dogs, it just breaks my heart to think that they need a good, loving home.  I know my house is full, so I have to just keep walking!
Thought #1:  I've always been a supporter of the spay/neuter concept.  All of my animals, with the exception of Bentley, are spayed or neutered.  When Bentley finishes (no wait, when I give up!) then I will have him neutered, too.  I've had several people in the neighborhood ask me if I want to breed him and I always have to think "no, not to your quite right dachshund that obviously has some mysteries in the family tree".  If all dog owners spayed/neutered their dogs there wouldn't be so many dogs looking for homes.  Leave the breeding to experts who understand bloodlines and genetics!

Thought #2:  These dogs are the first dogs that I've had that were purebred dogs (other than the poodle that wandered up one night).  I've always had shelter dogs or little mutt dogs.  They were all good dogs.  

If you research your breed you will know about the characteristics of the breed and any special needs they have.  For example, dachshunds bark and burrow because they were bred to hunt small animals that lived underground.  They are also known to be stubborn, but really they are just intelligent, independent thinkers.  And, the standard dachshund can have serious back problems.

If you buy a purebred dog from a reputable breeder you will meet the parents and you will have all your questions answered about the breed and your puppy.  The breeder can tell you about the puppy's bloodlines and your puppy will be well socialized, too.  You will know what to expect from your dog and how to approach training.

I have nothing but good things to say about supporting a shelter, but I have also come to realize the value of a purebred dog.

Thought #3:  At the Reliant show there were the show dogs and vendors, lots of good vendors.  But there were several long rows of rescue groups with booths set up.  Of course, they all had dogs there that were available for adoption.  I told another steward that I was walking around with that I had learned it was best not to make eye contact with any of the dogs!  I couldn't stay in the rescue area very long, it was just too sad for me!  But I was also reminded what wonderful, loving people work with rescue programs.  Most of the dogs are in foster homes because their owners just couldn't keep them but wanted them to have a loving home.  Sometimes, though, the former owner didn't research the breed before getting the dog and they weren't prepared for the dog's behaviors and attitudes.  I spent several minutes with the dachshund group and thought to myself that if I didn't already have a houseful how easy it would be to take a rescue dog for a pet.

So I need to conclude this lengthy post.  Here's the main point:  Do not buy a puppy in a pet store or along side the road.  If you want a shelter dog, check out the dog carefully since you don't know where the dog came from and what breed characteristics he may have.  Only buy a purebred dog from a reputable breeder.  Consider adopting a rescue dog, too.  And please, spay or neuter your dog as soon as they are old enough.

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