It’s 5am. The skies are still filled with darkness and the cold is wavering across the pavement. The dogs in the animal shelter begin to rustle, as they hear the sound of jingling keys at the door. The dogs have lived another day to experience a chance at a loving home, or so they think. But then it hits, the euthanasia crew comes in to “do the duty.” A number of dogs get released from their cages one by one. They think they are getting a walk! Love, affection, breakfast…but no. That poor dog never had a chance. They are walking to their death. In an hour they will be laying lifeless in a black plastic bag…
Well good gracious. Let me wipe my tears away…
The thoughts never become less grim. After volunteering in rescue for decade, I still cry tears of sadness. Endless tissue boxes have emptied just because of my own grief. I’ve seen countless gorgeous, friendly animals die a lonely death because shelters are overcrowded. Because people don’t spay and neuter. Because people buy dogs instead of adopt.
My amazing McKenzie Rae was put on the euthanasia list for “fear” after being found on the streets of Mesa. My beautiful, loving, friendly girl was going to die. She wasn’t going to be given a chance because she was afraid at the shelter. Give me a flippin’ break – fear? Because what animal isn’t effing scared at the shelter? It’s not exactly Disneyland…
Fear was the excuse. McKenzie Rae sat shivering in the corner of the kennel at county. Um, like every other dog? But unfortunately that’s what shelters need – an excuse to kill dogs. It’s not the volunteers or employees fault. It’s because shelters are over-capacity. People are still fucking buying dogs from stores. People are still breeding irresponsibly. People are still buying dogs from breeders for selfish reasons.
Now before this starts a massive debate, I want to say that I do have friends who buy from breeders. I love and respect those friends as people. Do I love and respect their decision to purchase from a breeder? Absolutely not.
But here’s the thing. SO many people are like “OMG I WANT A FRENCH BULLDOG. THEY ARE SOOOOOOO CUTE.” First of all. Do your breed research. How do you know that breed will work for your family? Are you even ready for dog ownership or has social media skewed your vision of true pet parent responsibility?
Secondly, breed specific rescue, my friend. Google it. “Corgi Rescues in Arizona.” It’s not hard. Sure, maybe you didn’t know. Well consider yourself educated. If you want a Great Dane, a Greyhound, a Corgi, a Maltese…check out breed rescues. They exist. And what about websites like Petfinder? You can find certain breeds up for adoption in your area.
But shelter dogs are damaged goods…
Shelter dogs aren’t broken. Did it take me three days to lure McKenzie Rae out from under the bed with sausage? Yes. But is she the most loving, grateful dog now? Yes. It took some work (ALL dogs do, whether from a breeder, rescue, etc). It took training (JUST LIKE ALL DOGS DO). McKenzie Rae is amazing on a leash. She cherishes toys. She loves cuddling. She gets along with other dogs and cats. Yet she was going to die. She was going to be a black plastic bag victim. Shelter dogs aren’t damaged. They simply need a chance. And they deserve that chance.
People have this idea that dogs from breeders are going to be perfect. They still require all of the training and attention that shelter dogs do, especially if they are puppies. A majority of shelter dogs are a year of age or older, and they have already grown into their personalities. Many of them are potty trained and even know basic tricks! Rescue dogs also come with all of their shots, a microchip and their spay/neuter surgery. Think about all of that money you could save on top of the fact that you’re saving a life. Now that’s priceless.
Before you buy from a breeder, think about the rows of black bags that line county animal shelters every. single. morning. Think about the tears I’ve cried, the nightmares I’ve had and the grief I’ve been stricken with. Think about the faces of those innocent animals as they walk to their demise. Many of them may have never even experienced love or a family. Before you buy from a breeder, think about why you’re doing it and please consider exploring other options. Millions of dogs and cats are dying every years in shelters. Please help lower that number.
Please adopt, don’t shop.
Want to rescue a dog? Check out resources like:
- PetSmart Charities for pet adoption events near you.
- Pet events in your area. Often times they have adoptable dogs.
- Breed specific rescues.
- Adoption websites like Petfinder.
- Local no-kill shelters near you.
- Your local county shelter.
Please for the love of animals, reconsider buying from a breeder. Homeless animals need and deserve you. And let me tell you from experience; they have endless unconditional love to give.