Why I Will Never Buy Another Dog – And Maybe You Shouldn’t Either
All my life I have loved dogs and have never, except for my years as a university student, not had a dog in my house. Even in those days I had dogs, they were just living with my Dad on the farm since they were used to the great outdoors and would have hated living in small apartments in the city. As a matter of fact I tend to remember events in my life based on what was going on with regards to my four legged friends and companions.
The First Dog
The first dog I remember is a tiny Shetland Sheepdog puppy that my Dad brought home one day. I was about 4 years old and was able to name him myself. Although he had some fancy pedigree name, he was always our beloved Jingle.
Jingle was my dog and we did everything together. Going to school with Jingle for show and tell was the most important part of my early academic career. He was smart, friendly and even a bit shy around people, but with our family he was always a playful puppy and a bit of a clown. He learned tricks and commands amazingly fast and I thought he was a doggy genius.
Just a few short years after getting Jingle we moved from Ontario to the province of Alberta. Although we lived in a small suburban area, we had a huge backyard. It wasn’t long after we moved in that we discovered the joys of multiple dog ownership.
Samoyed With Harness
Along Comes Buttons
Buttons was a bedraggled bundle of soggy white fur that was simply on our doorstep one morning. In those days we still had milk delivery and I remember going out to get the milk and there she was, licking milk she had managed to spill from the container. Of course my mother immediately took her in and dried her off, fed her and called the vet and the SPCA.
Warnings about not getting attached to the dog were given, while secretly everyone in the house was keeping their fingers crossed that nobody would call to claim the little puppy. After about a week my Dad decided we couldn’t just keep calling her “puppy” so a naming discussion was held around the kitchen table.
She was a little Samoyed, all white fluffy fur and only two dark eyes and one dark nose, hence the name Buttons. Buttons quickly became Jingle’s companion and ours too, and so our dog family began to expand. Buttons also learned to pull a small sleigh and Dad had a custom leather dog harness made for her. In our neighborhood this was quite a hit with all the kids.
German Shepherd Dog
The Two Shepherds
Within another few years we had moved again, this time to a large farm. It was at this time that Jingle, who was now almost 18, passed away quietly one night. We were all devastated, but none were hit so hard as Buttons. She moped around for days and stopped eating, mourning her companion and friend.
One day she went off on her own, as she often did, but unlike her regular daily stroll around the pastures she didn’t return. We were frantic and spent hours calling and looking for her. The next morning she arrived home, but this time she had company. A very starved looking, straggly, muddy and wild little German Shepherd puppy was with her. It took weeks until the puppy would even allow you to pet him, but once he did decide we were OK he was a perfect dog.
As with all things, Buttons too passed away, leaving us with the then 5 year old Shepherd known as Toby. Toby soon found a companion in another German Shepherd puppy named Tara that was brought home from a rescue. Both dogs became fast friends and lived on the farm all of their natural lives, running, playing and spending nights sleeping at the foot of one of the beds in the house.
Up To The Present
I have continued with the family tradition of caring for rescue dogs, strays and abandoned dogs that just somehow end up at our house. We do live on a farm and have 8 dogs, two inside and the rest that live outside. All have found their way to us one way or another and all are more than welcome to stay. Throughout the years we have had Akitas, Bassett Hounds, unknown mixed breeds, Australian Cattle Dogs and even for a short period of time a Catahoula Leopard Dog cross. All were or are from rescues or are strays that just adopted us.
Our indoor dogs are two Lab crosses, the oldest, Sasha, was dropped off at our door by the Chief of Police in our local town. She was just a puppy, but had been getting into everyone’s garbage trying to find food. The Chief brought her to us because he couldn’t bear to think of having her put down, but couldn’t keep her himself. Although not for certain, I think she is a Lab crossed with a Weimaraner. She is one of the most beautiful dogs I have ever known, highly intelligent and very loving.
The second Lab cross is still a puppy, rescued to be a companion for high energy Sasha. He is a Lab crossed with a Border Collie (at least that is the best guess) and loves to both herd and fetch. The horses and the ducks aren’t really crazy about this little guy right now!
Adopting As An Option To Buying
So while I said I will never buy a dog, I certainly didn’t mean I won’t take in a dog or a puppy that needs a loving home. While many people do prefer purebred dogs, and I certainly have no issues with that, there are a great number of wonderful dogs that are looking for homes right now.
It is estimated by the Human Society of the United States that between 3 and 4 MILLION dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters every year, with about the same numbers being successfully adopted during that same year. With this in mind I would like to strongly encourage anyone thinking of owning a dog or a puppy to consider adopting an animal that desperately needs a home, I know you won’t regret the decision.
Adopting a dog or a puppy has advantageous besides just providing a loving home. For those looking for a dog that is already partially or fully trained, rescues provide some wonderful adult dogs that are already trained, housebroken and socialized. In addition rescues will provide dogs and puppies already vaccinated, health checked and spayed or neutered, which does cut down on the first year of vet bills.