Each day, I'm forced to look at thousands of animal shelter photos.
Each photo contains a desperate pair of eyes.
Each desperate pair of eyes represents a life.
Each life... will soon end.
While millions of pets are killed in animal shelters each year, breeders continue to bring millions of new pets into the world.
Why do they do this? Profit. Greed. Indifference. But most of all: Demand.
We live in a society that values profit and status over morals and goodwill. Sadly, a person's "status" is often reflected in the "stuff" they can buy. If you have a lot of "stuff," then you have a lot of "worth." And if you've got a lot of high-dollar, name-brand "stuff," then you're considered "successful."
Why is this relevant to the pet crisis in this country? Well, here's the deal:
In our misinformed, status-driven society, a purebred dog is often considered "better than" a "mutt" or rescue dog. Therefore, in the minds of many, a purebred dog conveys a level of status, wealth, and worth. So, the ability to buy and own a purebred dog can seemingly make a person "better than" others, because this somehow shows proof of their own status, wealth, and worth.
If this sounds ridiculous to you, consider this example: A designer handbag has the same functionality as a discount purse. In truth, a purse is nothing more than a basic-item-carrier. Therefore, a $2 handbag is every bit as capable of accomplishing the item-carrying task, as its $2,000 counterpart. Yet, in our society, the woman carrying the $2,000 designer purse is often viewed much differently than the chick like me... with the dirt-cheap, hand-me-down bag.
The other woman paid 1,000 times more than I did... for nothing more than a label. Why?? Did she honestly believe that a high-dollar purse purchase was somehow a reflection of her own value? Well... probably... because society said so.
This may seem like an attack on the wealthy. It's not. Because this isn't about how much money a person actually has. It's about the perception of wealth, and what it means to be "wealthy" in our society.
Name-brand items have come to represent wealth. Even if you aren't wealthy... you can be perceived as wealthy --and therefore, slightly-more worthy-- if you buy "these" things. And without "these" things, you're kinda, like... poor.
So, let's go back to that heartbreaking pet crisis... and all of those breeder dogs. With the knowledge that millions of pets are killed in this country, why are people still breeding these dogs? Because people are still buying them.
But why are people still buying them? Because society tells them that they should, claiming: "This purebred dog is better. Owning this purebred dog makes you better. This purebred dog has more value. Owning this purebred dog gives you more value."
Don't believe me? Here's a solid example of societal misconceptions and the desire for status --despite logic-- in the pet market: There are breed-specific animal rescue groups for every breed of dog. Many of these "rescue dogs" ... are actually purebreds... without "papers."
These purebred rescue dogs can be adopted from the rescue group... for a fraction of the breeder cost. In addition... included in that reduced fee, the rescue puppy/dog is fully-vetted, unlike the breeder dog. Further, by adopting that purebred rescue dog, the adopter is supporting a charity, while reducing the destructive breeding/euthanasia cycle in this country... AND saving a life.
YET, even with this knowledge... people still flock to breeders, to pay hundreds --thousands-- more, for those purebred dogs. Why? Well... for starters: people want "papers." Why so? Because the profit-driven kennel clubs tell society that papers mean something. Papers equal value.
And apparently, without papers, the dog is "less-than." To most people, a purebred dog... without purebred papers... is not a purebred dog. Even though, the dog's genetics and physical appearance provide undeniable proof of their "purebred" status...
But people want that "label."
They need that label.
Keep this in mind: the label means nothing. Papers mean nothing.
Labels and papers only provide proof of branding.
Branding is a marketing ploy.
So really, those high-dollar papers... don't mean jack-squat.
Here's the cold, hard truth about papers and labels: they only provide proof that you fell victim to the marketing machine, societal pressures, and misinformation. (It's not really something to brag about...)
In addition to the "papers," there's the misconception that "purebred" means higher quality... and therefore, "rescue" equals lower quality, status, and worth.
"My dog is better, healthier, and smarter. Mine is a purebred."
Here's the sad reality of that misinformed statement: it's not only false... but actually, the opposite is usually more accurate.
More often than not, "purebred" means "inbred."
Does that sound "better" to you?
How has that whole "inbreeding" thing worked out for humans?
Do you want 12 fingers and 47 toes? I think not.
Inbreeding leads to many genetic deficiencies and severe health problems. But guess what? Most breeders don't care. Because that breeder wants one thing: your money. And he'll have your money... long before you ever realize... just how sick your super-expensive, super-healthy dog really is...
If the breeder's purchase price seems high... just wait until you see the butt-load of vet bills that'll result from that "high-quality, uber-healthy" purebred dog he sold you.
In truth, when you buy from irresponsible breeders and puppy mills, you've actually purchased one of the lowest-quality dogs money can buy, in terms of health. And sadly, you just paid that breeder... to keep doing it.
Breeders don't stop... until the profits stop.
Cut the demand, you'll cut the supply.
Cut the supply... and millions of shelter pets won't die.
But even still... people keep buying from breeders. How can they justify these high-dollar dog purchases? How can people continue to feel good about contributing to the deaths of millions of pets every year?
Don't you people realize... that with every breeder dog purchase, a shelter dog is killed?!
Do you even care??
Maybe it doesn't seem like a big deal to you, and maybe you don't care. But either way: if you're aware of this information, and you choose to buy anyway... here's what you have to live with: When given the chance to save a life... you killed one instead.
Does that really impress your friends?? If it does, get new friends! Do murder and injustice really help you feel wealthy or worthy? If so, get some therapy!
If you've purchased a purebred dog from a breeder in the past, I'm NOT blaming you. I'm not judging you. I'm just hoping you'll reconsider... when making your next pet decision. Because your heart is better than that.
Dogs shouldn't represent "status" or "wealth." Dogs should NEVER die, because someone wants to look cool. You wanna be cool?? THEN DO SOMETHING SELFLESS! DO SOMETHING AMAZING! ADOPT A DOG! SAVE A LIFE!
In terms of society, you'll never be "worthy." In the eyes of a rescue dog, you already are. Please, don't let them down... ADOPT!