This is Me Judging You

by Susi on November 20, 2012

in Animal Rights, Breed Clubs, Breeders, Rescue Dogs, Shelter Dogs, Uncategorized

Today on Facebook, someone shared the link to a blog in which the author, Megan Segura, chastises people who buy their dogs instead of adopting them from shelters. In her piece, “If You Bought Your Dog, I’m Judging You,” Megan explains her feelings this way: “I scroll through my Facebook updates to see what my friends are up to, I see a photo of an adorable puppy, read the description, ‘Just picked up this cutie from the breeder’ — and then it happens. My face gets hot, my stomach drops, and the rage begins. I am judging that person for buying the dog.”

Clearly, Megan is a person made apoplectic by people who buy their pets. Breeders fare worse: “It’s not that I think all breeders are out to hurt dogs (although most purebreds come with a list of health problems),“ she writes, “I just don’t see how someone can feel good about buying or selling furry family members.”

Megan shares some of the reasons she’s heard people give for “shopping, not adopting,” and goes on to refute them, as well. While I happen to agree with one of Megan’s grievances, I’m also one of the people she purports to despise, and as such, I have a few rebuttals of my own. Megan has some opinions that need squaring up with reality.

Since I don’t have reprint permission to share Megan’s article, I’m paraphrasing her points and have added my own thoughts in italics.

Megan starts her list with the person who grew up with a specific breed of dog and now wants one again. For them, Megan has this advice: “Even a quick trip to PetSmart on Saturday will show you that every once in a while a purebred will come through. Another option is to find a rescue group for a particular breed you’re looking for. Puppy mills continue to be shut down, and as a result, those purebred pups need homes.”

Note to Megan: Puppy mills aren’t being shut down as fast as legislation is being drafted that hamstring responsible, caring breeders – the people who dedicate themselves to the preservation, protection and improvement of their breeds. At the end of the day, and at the present rate, I suspect there will be more “for-profit commercial breeders” in business than dedicated ones working at home because they couldn’t comply with standards written for commercial operations made of stainless steel and tile. What are the odds, anyway, that PetSmart will have up for adoption an Affenpinscher, a Puli, a Malinois, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog or some other rare or uncommon breed? 

Megan hasn’t thought this through. The fact is that a huge number of dogs are in shelters because they were a bad match for their new owner to begin with. They were too active or not active enough. They got too large or never grew bigger. They barked too much, slobbered too much, or were destructive during a thunder storm. They just weren’t like the breed the owner grew up with. 

Megan faults people for wanting predictability in their pet, but I applaud them. Wanting the best canine fit for one’s lifestyle is in the best interest of society in the long run. Why? Because an ignorant owner’s safety net for a dog that isn’t what they had in mind is to dump it in a shelter. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if the right dog was matched to the right family from the beginning?  Compatibility, however, isn’t something that can be determined over the course of a few of hours of visiting the humane society, nor is match-making a service that most shelters have the time or man hours to provide. 

There is however, someone, who does have the time to match-make and wants do it. 

The responsible breeder. The person who knows their breed, recognizes unrealistic expectations in potential puppy buyers, and advises them accordingly. 

Guess what else?  A breeder can, and does, say “no” to buyers. 

No, this isn’t the right breed for you. 

No, your family isn’t ready for a dog. 

No, I’m not selling you my puppy. 

Another reason Megan sites as a bad one for wanting to buy a dog is wanting to know what kind of personality the dog will have.  I can almost hear Megan scoff as she wrote, “Well, friend, that’s just not going to happen. Sure, you can get a sense of what a particular breed has historically been known for, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Furthermore, most shelters want you to love your dog and are willing to let you have a trial run with a dog before fully committing.”

To Megan I would say, “Well, Meg, yeah, it kind of is going to happen that when a person buys their dog from a responsible breeder, they’ll either know the breed’s temperament or encounter a breeder who ascertains quickly if a family is a good match with that breed. If it’s not, one of three things is going to happen: The dog will be returned to the breeder when it’s older and harder to rehome, it will be relinquished to a shelter or worse, put on Craig’s List (here’s why that’s such a bad idea), or it will live out its life in misery, consigned to a crate or tied to a tree in the yard, its soul dying by inches over the years. No ethical breeder I know wants this. If for no other reason than selfishness, it’s in a breeder’s best interest to match the right dog to the right people, but it’s almost never because of selfishness. It’s because they nurtured, socialized and cared for each puppy in a litter. Most breeders I know, in addition to losing money on each litter, weep when their puppy goes home with its new family. 

As far as I could tell, there is no good reason to buy a dog in Megan’s world, but as I see it, her approach is naive and impractical. Let’s not buy a dog trained to be a service canine for a disabled, blind or special needs owner. Instead, let’s adopt one out of a shelter, spend 18 months training it before realizing that it’s never going to be temperamentally suited for the job. And yes, that’s sarcasm.

Megan had a friend who once adopted a dog that was aggressive, and this complaint (aggression in shelter dogs) is the #4 reason Megan says people want to buy, not adopt, their dog.  Megan concedes, “It’s true that some dogs who come through shelters have been abused or put in situations that have turned them aggressive. But isn’t that sad? Not only have they had bad lives, but now it keeps people from bringing them into their homes. I’m grateful to organizations like Pets Alive and Best Friends Animal Society that rehabilitate aggressive animals.”

It seems to me that Megan has skirted the issue. Rescue/shelter dogs often do come with baggage, and yes, it is sad. It’s sad for the parent whose toddler got bitten in the face because the rescue dog couldn’t tolerate being leaned upon. It’s sad for the person whose Chihuahua was torn apart in a blood bath by a neighbor’s rescue dog with a high prey drive. But isn’t it nice that Pets Alive and Best Friends rehabilitate these animals. Well, yes, it is nice.  I  admire Best Friends and its initiatives to fight Pit Bull discrimination and irresponsible commercial breeding operations. That said, Megan doesn’t address the problem that occurs after a dog is adopted and before it goes to a facility like Best Friends because of aggression. How does Megan’s platitudes help her friend when her new rescue dog is growling at her, teeth bared?

I believe that when one adopts a dog from a shelter or rescue group, it must be done with a roll of the dice and with eyes wide open  – one must be prepared for the “what ifs.” A poor analogy, but the only one I can think of at the moment, is to refer to my friend, Karen, who learned at age 43 that she was pregnant. She chose not to have an amniocentesis because the results wouldn’t have changed her mind about proceeding with her pregnancy. She was going to love her child however it came to her, special needs, or not. The person adopting a shelter/rescue dog should have the same resiliency “just in case.” Most shelter and rescue dogs become wonderful companions and some have gone on to be canine actors in Hollywood. But “what if” the dog has behavioral issues? Is the new owner prepared to pay for behavior modification consultants? Commit him or herself to training classes for as long as it takes? Learn Clicker Training? And “what if” there’s someone in the home at risk. Some dogs have issues with men, children, people in uniform. What then?

All these things should be taken into account.

But how many owners really do?

And if it doesn’t work out, it’s back to the pound for the dog.

One of the agonies of purebred dog rescue is the dilemma of what to do when faced with a dog being auctioned at a commercial breeding farm. To buy the dog creates a market for that breed, even if the market is breed clubs wanting to save the dog. Do they sacrifice the dog for the greater good (saving countless more dogs of that breed?), or do they save the dog and create demand. Thirty three percent of dogs rescued from shelters are rescued by people acting  on behalf of their AKC breed club. Many of them end up adopting the dogs. When my friend George read Megan’s blog, he shared his thoughts:  “I didn’t buy any of my dogs. I bred them all. I have 5 generations of healthy, happy dogs in my house and in the houses of the people that I have sold dogs to…I have rescued, I have fostered, I have bought and I have bred. There are currently only eight of my breed in rescue in the US and Canada. No, breeders are not the problems.”

George’s response segues nicely into the area in which I do agree with Megan. She, as I do, regards people who want to have puppies to make money as “creeps.” Put more colorfully, she writes, “…you are an asshole, and I have no use for you.”  But elsewhere she goes on to say,  “I am generally pretty calm about other people’s beliefs. But it’s the willful ignorance toward dog breeding that sends me over the edge.”

The trouble is that in Megan’s world, there’s no distinction between a loving, responsible breeder, and the farmer who cages 150 dogs in the back forty to generate income.

This isn’t Megan, but is it a fair portrayal of New York City cat owners?

It strikes me that this author, a self described multiple cat owning New York City apartment dweller named Megan,  is ignorant about breeders. She paints them with a very broad brush which would be akin to my describing multiple cat owning New York City apartment dwellers named Megan as spinster-types with no life, little humor and addicted to soap operas. It’s inaccurate and it’s ignorant.

 And that’s me judging you, Megan.

 

 

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlee November 20, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Oh damn, you are brilliant! Well said! Thanks for all the great work you do!

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Susi November 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Gosh, pishaw, Charlee!

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George November 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Bravo!

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Susi November 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Thanks, George, and “whew,” since I took your name in vain!

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Jen November 20, 2012 at 8:10 pm

another great job….some (like Megan) just don’t get it

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Susi November 20, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I appreciate the feedback, Jen, and you’re right. “They” just don’t get it.

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Tom Mahoney November 20, 2012 at 8:11 pm

An excellent response!

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Susi November 20, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Thanks, Tom. The feedback from like minded folks is important to me.

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Jenn H November 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm

AMEN!!!!!!

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Susi November 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Much appreciated, Jenn!

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tracer November 20, 2012 at 9:05 pm

very well said. very well indeed.

thank you 🙂

(of course, should the cat lady come and read this, i’m sure she’d put you in that “creepy” category … I think those people will never ever get it. If there are no puppy mills, if there are no BYBs, (and if there is no dog racing), if there are only responsible hobby breeders … there would be really no need for shelters.

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Susi November 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Can’t add a thing to your comments, Tracer,they’re spot on. This, from “creepy person.”

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Lynda Beam (Canine Candids by Lynda) November 20, 2012 at 9:15 pm

If people took responsibility for the dogs they “adopted” since the breeder (hopefully not a responsible breeder) has not, or the puppies they buy from a pet store, then the shelters would have a lot less business. As it is there are shelters “importing” dogs from other states, other countries, etc. The problem is very regional. Out East people tend to be more responsible. In other areas dogs are just stock, good for what they will do, if they don’t do whatever it is they’re wanted to do, then they end up at the pound, or running loose. 🙁

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Susi November 20, 2012 at 9:29 pm

I continue to marvel at how shelter and rescue people – good folks, don’t get me wrong, continue to hop, skip and jump over the real problem – dog owners – and straight to the breeder. What am I missing here?

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Carri November 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

I have wondered that myself. Could it be that people who do rescue don’t ever get to see responsible breeders? All they see are the pictures on AR sites, the footage of hoarders and the worst breeders from the news and Animal Planet, and what they hear from rescuers who have been doing it longer than them. Perhaps it’s just the accepted wisdom?

Or it could be just pent up frustration and breeders are just an easy target, easier and more politically correct to attack than “the public,” even though it’s that same public who are supplying them with dogs when said dog gets too big/strong/wild/untrained. They don’t want to alienate their client base.

I am just speculating here. I have tried to engage in dialogue with rabid anti-breeder people and it is like having a conversation with the Phelps church people.

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Susi November 20, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Carri, if you ever learn the answer to your question, TELL ME!! I have no idea why in the equation of dog, owner and breeder, it is the owner who gets a pass for their dog ending up in a shelter. I have an idea of why certain animal rights groups appeal to certain individuals, and as the risk of sounding like a kook, I think the pull is exactly what it is in cults. Too, there is money, big money, to be made on rescue dogs. The Humane Society of the United States pulls in millions, but spends less than 1% on actual dogs. I think there’s also power in affecting legislation. Let’s see. Money, power, cults, all that’s missing is sex. And I’d bet there’s some of that going on, too.

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michelle November 21, 2012 at 1:37 am

i agree with you both totally. my mother when she was breeding many many years ago would have sooner put her puppies to sleep than give than to someone who would care for her pups. why not cut out the middle man.
there are many people out there that breed and have ethics. really good breeders have their puppies reserved well before the litter is even born and have waiting lists. so plenty of time to vet potential owners and check suitability. i waited 10 years to get my specific type of dog and that was after working with them for a year with the military. i knew what could await me and what i was in for. i had a dog that was distructive as a puppy and now isn’t, but he does have his problems and i deal with them accordingly when i need to, and new ones manifest as my dog ages.
so whoever megan is, i work in the pet retail industry and here you do not sell cats and dogs in shops, the main problem is not breeders it is ignoramous idiots who think lets go to the pet shop like it is a petting zoo and sudenly decide they will get a pet without doing any resaerch at all and then get annoyed with the shop attendants who are having to educate them in 5 minutes how to care for their pets. in contrary to belief shops also do say no to potential owners if they feel the animals wellbeing is in question (at least mine does, i encourage my staff to do it as a matter of fact) so before she judges others maybe she should do a little research from both sides of the fence before she lumps us all in the same pool.

dannielle November 21, 2012 at 5:36 am

It’s bc by skipping that reality, they can justify their failure to engage in any proactive solutions, such as community owner support services. Things like free traing help (I donate hundreds of hours a year), pet food banks, grooming help, or even just a day lending a hand to build a fence. These malcontents are so busy defending their perceived moral high ground they can’t afford to be honesty or address the issues where they start.

chienblanc4csi November 21, 2012 at 11:37 am

I often think of former neighbors of mine – she was a social worker and ER nurse, and he was a pediatric oncologist. You can imagine the challenges that each of them dealt with – every day. When I hear the anger and bitterness that comes out of the mouths of some of these young crusaders, I wish I could explain to them the reality. What if a social worker projected all of the horrors and frustrations of her job onto all families? What if the pediatric oncologist looked at all children through the prism of his daily rounds? How could either one of them be any good to the world if they went around blaming parents, all parents, for the suffering they see daily. But some of these Rabid Rescue fanatics do just that instead of looking for a real solution. Many of these bitter cynics are actually lonely and disappointed people, whose personal lives are filled with frustration and unmet expectations. They may find their only positive relationships are with animals, and get most of their sense of purpose in life through ‘rescue’. I had quite an awakening a couple of years ago. A dear friend of mine in another state, who breeds the loveliest dogs, had a family health crisis just as her last litter was coming of age in the show ring. Except for one male, whose one testicle wasn’t cooperating. She was looking for a pet home for him, one that had the resources to deal with the surgery this boy would require at the right age, but her time was spent in the hospital burn ward, in PT clinics. The local dog fancy came through in a big way – dog sitting, grooming, feeding, human food, but this boy was the lone puppy in a house/kennel full of adults, he wasn’t getting the attention he needed from part time visitors. Being a ways away, I felt powerless, but one thing I could do was pick up this boy and get him ready for just the right pet home. A foster, so to speak. Part of his socializing involved some trips to the local dog run with our own dogs. People noticed him, and asked about him, and were very glad to help him get used to unfamiliar dogs off leash, and new people. Great! But my hubby, bless him, isn’t up on the politically correct etiquette, and he volunteered a little too much information about this boy – like saying that we were ‘socializing him for the breeder’. OMG, you could cut it with a knife. Both ways. First was the adoration, the “you are such heroes for this ‘poor’ dog”, and then the disdain and hate against his breeder, someone they had never met, knew nothing about. My husband kind of liked that praise being heaped on him. Then he started to notice the assumptions, though, when people said things like “this ‘poor dog’, lived in a ‘kennel’ his ‘whole life’ “, and on and on. They had no idea that this dog’s ‘kennel’ was so lovely it could be a B&B for humans! His ‘whole life’ – he was a puppy, for goodness sake!

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Justine November 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm

But isn’t this comment blaming shelters instead of irresponsible owners? I believe that most shelters are doing the best they can with what they have. I don’t think most of them blame responsible breeders. They blame the idiots who walk into the shelter with the dog they have had for 13 years to give him up because he has more accidents now that he’s old, or he doesn’t run around as much as he used to because of his arthritis. They blame the family who bought a puppy from a pet store for their kids as a Christmas gift, but it chewed up Mommy’s shoes, so it’s obviously a “bad dog” now. Shelters all over stress the fact that dogs are not temporary wards. Dogs are forever. If you get a dog whether it is through adoption or a breeder, that dog deserves your patience and understanding. Every dog, no matter how well-trained or well-bred, is going to get in trouble from time-to-time, and people need to know that before getting any dog. You’re right that the problem is owners, but I just don’t understand blaming shelters for not doing enough, especially when they’re cleaning up other people’s messes. Maybe you’ve seen something different than me, but none of the shelters I support have said anything negative about good breeders — only puppy mills and bad owners.

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Susi November 21, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I hope I haven’t given the impression that I fault all shelters, Justine, for the erroneous perceptions the public has of responsible breeders, though I’ve met several shelter and rescue volunteers who do blame all breeders (see my blog for more on this: http://dogknobit.com/2012/03/22/guilt-its-not-just-for-jews-and-catholics-anymore/#comment-7443) because they’ve not been exposed to the vast differences between commercial breeders, backyard breeders and the responsible dog fancy breeder dedicated to improving his or her breed. I’m gratified to hear that the shelter you support (and thank you for that!!!) sees the difference and that gives me hope that slowly, word is getting out that not all breeders are alike. Like you, I put blame squarely on bad and frivolous owners – or lousy breeders who don’t screen their buyers more carefully. That said, shelters never have enough money or volunteers and don’t always have time to make perfect matches between their “wards” and potential new homes. This is why I stressed in the article that responsible breeders offer an alternative to shelters for the new owner who seeks predictability or isn’t in a position to be able to afford an “oops” selection of dog. I appreciate your comment, Justine!

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Randie November 20, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I LOVE this!!! Thank you!!

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Susi November 20, 2012 at 9:30 pm

And thank YOU, Randie, for reading it and responding. One never knows how these things will go over, and it’s gratifying, to say the least, to have positive affirmation.

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Amy November 20, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Love this! Thank you!

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Susi November 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I very much appreciate the feedback, Amy, and that you took the time to read the blog. Thank YOU!

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Tamara November 20, 2012 at 10:15 pm

I’ve been following the thread on Dogster… and I read the story of Maverick and just cried… Thank you for your eloquent and well thought out response.

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Susi November 20, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Isn’t Maverick’s story something? I hope to see him again at Westminster next year, he really is quite special. Thank you so much for responding!

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donna November 21, 2012 at 4:44 am

I love this post–and the rest of your blog, too, for that matter!

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Susi November 21, 2012 at 9:42 am

Wow, thanks, Donna! Thanks for reading the blog, but especially for taking the time to write!

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chienblanc4csi November 21, 2012 at 7:43 am

Wow, Suzi, you did it again! Brilliant. I am a grown-up, have been in the ‘dog biz’ for twice as long as Megan is years old, have developed a sort of elephant hide – or so I thought. I am surprised at my own burning anger reading that Dogster piece. Then I realized that I feel a sense of responsibility for creating this exact situation. WE created Megan, we did it through marketing. Advertising. As well as dogs, I have been in the ad biz forever too, and this is what we do. We sell. Watch ‘Don Draper’ pitch on the show Mad Men – the imaging, the set up, to the sex, the power: “At last, something truly beautiful . . . that you can own.” And people run out to pay enormous sums for a car that won’t even start.

Back about 20-25 years, when one dog in four ended up in the pound, ‘we’ felt the need to do something, and this is the result. We were successful beyond our wildest dreams, through the oldest marketing tool in the world – emotion. We skimmed the surface, of course, dumbed down, Disney-fied the message, and did exactly what PETA and HSUS do, aimed the message at the young. Megan is THE perfect example of how emotional marketing works. We created this monster, which has gone completely overboard with the guilt and the self-righteousness, the pontificating, encouraging the busybodies and now the vigilantes. I did a casual poll at my family picnic recently, said the words “dog breeder” and – you betcha – everyone’s first thought was . . . . ahem . . . . wait for it . . . “puppy mill”. There you have it.

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Susi November 21, 2012 at 9:40 am

I can’t disagree with you and your assessment of emotional marketing is spot on. It has pervaded every aspect of society, I fear, and we’ve become a nation of “feelers,” and not so much “thinkers.” As dog people, we appreciate balance. If only balance could be restored to how we solve problems. How discouraging that your casual picnic poll revealed just how out of whack we are….

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Rachel November 21, 2012 at 9:49 am

Thanks for writing about that article! I was seeing red when I read it. I am in pure breed rescue and I disagree with her post. Heck the rescue groups I work with don’t go to big box pet stores and set up a table. They don’t want impulse adoptions of the Westies. That is what those types of adoption events are. “I need dog food oh let me take home this cute dog but I don’t have anything, but this nice worker at the pet store will help me pick outt $300 of puppy products I just have to have.” Plus, since this 16 year old high schooler told me brand X is the best type of food (because it is not selling) I have to get it lol My rescue groups require home checks, references, interviews, and even a statement from their vet before that dog ever steps foot in their home. Just like many of the responsible breeders do with their puppies.

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Susi November 21, 2012 at 10:06 am

And thank YOU, Rachel, for the work you do with Westie Rescue which I know is considerable. Your rescue group does it right, and most breeders I know also do home checks, interviews, etc. Have you written about just exactly what your group does? It’d make a great blog (with pictures!) and more people need to learn not just about purebred dogs, but about the steps great groups like yours do to ensure forever homes?

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Judy Spurgeon November 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I have the joy of owning several dogs both purebred and rescued! Each one had their own personalities! At one point we had a blended family of 4 shepherd, mutt, Bassett hound and another mutt! Animals of all kind give me great joy! I also work in a long term care center where we have a house dog and the employees bring their dogs to work., the residents love this! My only wish everyone loved their pets! I have seen people that once the dog is no longer a puppy-they are over it., I wish they would not get them in the first place!

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Susi November 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I couldn’t agree with you more, Judy, and sadly, not only has society has done a rather poor job of educating the public that a puppy is for life, but the dog fancy – we who are responsible owners and breeders, has done a horrible job of getting the word out that working with a responsible breeder is a relationship for the life of the dog.

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Jinnie November 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Thanks again. I am not a bad guy buti am a breeder. I really wish the holier than thou people would get a clue and find the truth before the speak or blog.

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Susi November 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm

No, you’re not a “bad guy” for being a breeder, at all, Jinnie. I imagine that like me, however, you might know of breeders who could stand improvement. It’s up to us to police our own in terms of setting good examples, getting involved with our breed clubs and exerting pressure to establish good practices. Anything less gives the AR crowd fodder. “Megan” probably doesn’t know one responsible breeder in the fancy, not one, and has based her opinion of us on what she hears via the animal rights agenda. It’s up to us to do a better job of challenging those negative perceptions, I think.

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Larkin November 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm

You know what the real problem is in this equation? The shelters that are killing America’s pets. They have gotten into the habit of killing animals willy-nilly because it is convenient and they place the blame everywhere except where it belongs. They blame the horrible, irresponsibly public. They blame people who must give up their beloved dogs and cats to go into public housing, nursing homes, homeless shelters. They blame those who don’t spay and neuter (even though there is NO overpopulation problem, and owners who spay and neuter vastly outnumber those who don’t.) They blame people who breed purebred dogs. They blame everyone except those who really deserve the blame: the shelters. It has now been proved 73 times that Open Admission Municipal No Kill shelters can and do work, but it takes more effort, more thinking outside the box and letting go of old prejudices.

As for Megan, well, she’s got a lot to learn. And by the way, does she think that people who purchase dogs and cats from “shelters”, the new de facto pet stores, are not buying them? Boy, is that a dishonest linguistic trick.

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Susi November 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm

There’s a fellow who would agree with you, Larkin: Nathan Wingrad (http://www.nathanwinograd.com). While he is a bit too much in the animal rights camp for my sensibilities, he maintains that there’s no good reason to kill animals in a shelter. He writes, “we can look forward to a time when the wholesale slaughter of animals in shelters is viewed as a cruel aberration of the past. We have a choice. We can fully, completely, and without reservation embrace No Kill as our future.” I confess to some ignorance about the Open Admission Municipal No Kill Shelters. Can you tell me more?

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Jessica @ YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner November 22, 2012 at 12:46 am

I always love your posts because they are so well thought out, written and informative. I saw a repost of this original post on Dogster. They claimed they reposted it so “people could comment” but it seems out of character for them to post something like this…even if it is a repost. It is a clearly inflammatory post and based on so many plainly incorrect assumptions – as you pointed out – and I can only assume they posted it to start an “online fight”. I am not judging Megan directly but her statements are based solely on opinion and, as she stated herself, “judgement” and in my mind were based in ignorance (or at least complacency). That is what makes me most mad. If you are going to make such strong statements, have real facts to back it up.

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Susi November 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm

High praise, Jessica, and much appreciated! I don’t fault Dogster for running Megan’s piece. I imagine they wanted readership and positive Google Analytic numbers. With over 500 responses, they certainly got it. I think reasonable people saw the weakness in her article and might have forgiven her ignorance had she been less “in your face’ with her assertions. The picture of her pointing her finger in our faces didn’t help either.

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TK November 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Well written. Better than my snarling three sentence response on Facebook.

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Susi November 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Thanks, TK! There was a lot of snarling to ol’ Megan’s article which, while boosting her readership numbers, also undermined her stand. I wonder which would be more important to her.

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Diana November 25, 2012 at 7:46 pm

This was an excellent post and great comments. I applaud you for writing this Susi. Being a dog breeder for many years and on my 7th generation of collies this is such a touchy subject for me and so many breeders. I use every opportunity when I am on the street with my dogs to talk about how it’s not politically incorrect to buy from a reputable breeder. My fiance is a perfect example of someone who bought a hunting dog who is treated like a tiny house pet and rarely gets any exercise and is in our small house 24/7 except for going to the bathroom. What was wrong with the breeder who sold him this dog, I don’t know, but he’s a miserable animal and it’s not his fault. As far as “Megan” she and her AR friends can all go to hell and the sooner the better. What I want to know about these people is how many of them have children themselves and how many adopt poor starving, abused, neglected children (or teenagers??) ???? I never feel bad for having a litter and being able to place/sell dogs in homes that ARE predictable in temperament, looks, trainability, etc. And because I don’t have many litters, I have a small waiting list, including prior puppy owners who’s dogs have passed away from old age. It’s a good life and we need to constantly remind people the difference in what we do.

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Susi November 25, 2012 at 8:10 pm

I very much appreciate your comment, Diana, and your “real life” boots-on-the-ground-experience says way more than I ever could. I may be going out on a limb, here, but I would hazard the guess that “Megan” doesn’t know one responsible breeder. Not one. I sometimes fantasize about initiating a mentoring program between people like Megan and a bona fide great breeder, but how many folks like her would agree to it? Hard to say. In the end, “walking the walk” and holding true to our ethics is the best we can do since I fear we’re a long way off from winning the conversation set by the Animal Rights crowd. As for you, I say this: You go, girl!

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Diana November 25, 2012 at 8:21 pm

It’s just easier for them to criticize us from their pathetic fantasies. If they met you and me and REALLY KNEW us then what would they do with their time?

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Susi November 25, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Um, be forced to THINK?

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Susi November 26, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Very true, Diana. Very true.

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Sue November 27, 2012 at 5:21 am

Excellent post! (Lost count of the number of times I said “Amen.”) The bottom line is that the dogs are the losers due to irresponsible owners (imho)

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Susi November 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

I appreciate the lovely comment, Sue – thanks!! I continue to marvel how it is that lousy owners have gotten a pass in the dialogue about rescue and shelter dogs…..

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Leonore November 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm

“Thirty three percent of dogs rescued from shelters are rescued by people acting on behalf of their AKC breed club.”

haven’t heard this statistic before, very interesting!! what is the data source please? THANKS!!1

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Susi November 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm

It’s on the AKC’S web site, Leonore.

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Mare November 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Kudos!

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Susi November 27, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Much appreciated Mare! Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and weighing in! No, really!

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Renee November 29, 2012 at 5:30 am

Unfortunately, she removed my comments on her post. . what a childish idiot. . .I hae no desire to adopt the majority of dogs in our shelter due to them being Pit Xs, or Lab xs, another percentage is tiny dogs, I like a big dog, and the few Borzoi you find in the shelter, I have no desire to adopt, as I my dogs have to live with my cats. People like her drive me nuts

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Susi November 29, 2012 at 10:00 am

Feel free to “speak to Megan” here, Renee. I’d like everyone’s thoughts about what she wrote to see the light of day, and if not on her blog, then on mine. None of us is wild about getting negative feedback, and I’ve gotten my share – but if someone has a good argument against what I’ve written and can back it up with sources, I stand corrected (and with egg on my face). Sadly, Megan’s piece was emotive (well, it IS an emotional subject), but her arguments lacked logic, and at the end of the day, both are needed to solve problems.

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Megan December 14, 2012 at 8:25 am

I appreciate that this is a blog and that you’re only paraphrasing the XO Jane article that this came from, but you really should be including a link back to the original article. It’s just courteous.

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Susi December 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

No worries, Megan. I’m happy to include a link to the original article.

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Joann pearsall December 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Meagan,

I read with interest your article about not buying from a breeder… And I have to say this… If it does not matter about the breed then I agree, adopt a dog from a shelter… Then yes do that. However if you want a purebred dog and you have done your research and you have the money… And you care about keeping breeds of dogs intact… Then buying from a reputable breeder is the only option. Ido not know how you got a bad taste in your mouth for breeders… But let me enlighten you. My daughter owns dalPrimo Bullmastiffs in Indiana. She is one of many well respected breeders of bullmastiffs in North America. My daughter is 34 years old and her dogs are her life. My daughter spends every penny she has on those dogs. Most of the time she goes without for them… I have seen her broken to pieces when a dog passes away… I have seen her covered in puppy poop and care only about the babies who depend on her. She stays up all night with babies, a bitch ready to give birth…. Or on the road travelling to dog shows with her handler and best friend Katie. They have travelled across the north america for the good of the breed.
You say buy a dog from petsmart…. Give your head a shake Meagan. I bought a dog from petsmart 12 years ago… And although i love him dearly… He is a medical disaster…. He takes 7 pills a day to stay alive Meagan… He has done this all his life… Why??? Obviously he came from a puppy mill…. I will never buy a dog from apet store ever again. Had i known then what i know now from my daughter i would never buy from a pet store again.
Maybe you need to go and visit a breeder for a day… I dont mean a backyard breeder… I mean a real true breeder who has earned their spot in the industry…….these breeders spend their lives to better the breeds of dogs. You talk about breeding medical issues… My daughter breeds her dogs with every consideration going into breeding out medical issues… Not breeding them into a line…
I think you wrote this article without facts…

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Susi December 29, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Well said, Joann. I couldn’t and wouldn’t add a single word. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts as well as your sound advice for Meagan: visit a reputable breeder!

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Kika January 15, 2013 at 12:47 am

This trend of castigating dog buyers is catching on in Bangalore, India, where I’m from. I’ve been telling these people that the number one reason for buying a particular breed is predictability. When we pick our partners for life, we date for many years only to suss them out and decide whether this person will be suited to our lives. It’s the same for when we make a commitment to a dog. Are you the right dog for me, is as valid a question as, are you the right person for me?

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Susi January 15, 2013 at 9:07 am

While I’m tickled to be hearing all the way from India, I’m sorry to hear that this trend is appearing there, as well. I couldn’t agree with you more, Kika, that predictability is critical is the long term success of a relationship between family and pet. Too often the lack of it lands that shelter dog right back where s/he started.

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Susi November 21, 2012 at 9:47 am

Lump us all in the same pool she did, Michelle, and with some measure of approval, judging from the comments made to her original blog. I think we (responsible owners and breeders) came to the proverbial party too late, and it’s exceedingly difficult to make up lost ground. I have a sinking feeling that until there are societal changes – big ones – that return to placing a premium on old fashioned concepts: personal responsibility, shame and genuine concern for others, we’ll always be playing catch up. You as “boots on the ground” must see this day in and day out.

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Susi November 21, 2012 at 9:37 am

In her article, Dannielle, Megan doesn’t say what, if anything, she does to get her hands dirty in helping solve the situation, but it’d be interesting to know, wouldn’t it? And you used the very words I once used, myself, in an earlier blog (http://dogknobit.com/2012/03/22/guilt-its-not-just-for-jews-and-catholics-anymore/), and that is “moral high ground.” Megan could take a few lessons from you who are “boots on the ground” in being part of the solution.

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Susi November 27, 2012 at 11:04 am

A well written blog, doggiestylish, and thanks for the link to my “Me judging You,” piece. We’ve of the same mind, and I especially appreciated the sources (JOURNAL OF APPLIED ANIMAL WELFARE SCIENCE) study. Well done.

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