10.25.2011

Why Do They Buy?

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.
Often... today.

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!

103 comments:

  1. Amen, Ashley!! I've never owned anything BUT mutts and strays. They're the best.

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  2. Thank you for doing what you do. Thank you for being the person you are. Thank you for being a light in this sometimes dark world. Thank you. Your posts, your efforts, and your determination are an inspiration.

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  3. I bought a purebred Persian once. She came complete with worms & ringworm, and she died before she was a year old from FIP. She had papers, what good did they do me? Or her? She was sickly her whole life. Never again.

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  4. LOVE this one! I took a "purebred" basset hound from a friend because she was going to drop it at a shelter, after only having it a few weeks. She was great, but genetically screwed. That dog ended up costing THOUSANDS, and had to be put to rest at only four years old because of a bad, unhealthy heart.Adopt adopt adopt!

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  5. My husband and I purchased an AKC registered "healthy" great dane puppy in 2002. Within 1 month we spent over $1,000 in treatments for worms, coccidia, and a URI. At 5 years old she developed bloat and that surgery cost $2,800. She went to the Rainbow Bridge last year after years of crippling arthritis. I loved her so much and I will never regret having her be a part of our family but I knew I would never purchase another dog from ANY breeder.

    This past Spring we decided to look for another pet. The first place we looked was our local Humane Society. Then we started looking at our local pound. In May we found our newest family member! A 10 week old Great Dane puppy who was picked up as a stray! She is now 8 months old and 90 lbs! She has helped to fill a hole in all of our hearts.

    Thank you Ashley for all that you do! You are an inspiration to so many!

    Blessings to you!
    Liz
    Memphis, TN

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  6. Hm, yes, I totally agree. I only have 1 dog purchased but not from the store but from a lady that had show dogs and they produced a litter of only 4 puppies. And I paid $400 for it. His name is Lucky like the name of your blog. Why did we buy ? Because we wanted a Sheltie. He is a wonderful dog, but not that smart. When did we buy ? 10 years ago when we were not very well informed with the shelter drama even-though before we adopted a shelter cat - Mitzy. After Lucky, we got Lucy our kittie from South LA shelter and Annie, a westie doggie girl from West LA as a result of Pet Pardons ad. Both these 2 who we adopted last are the happiness and joy of our family. Needless to say I go to West LA shelter every week with goodies for animals there, and pray to God for them all to be adopted.

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  7. Totally agree! Keep up the good work! We have to keep trying to get the word out and educate people to the reality of puppy mills and greedy breeders. My rescue is the best dog ever!

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  8. ‎"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." This hits home with me. My first dog was a french bulldog that I paid 2000 when I was about 20 yrs old. After a few weeks of having him, he stopped walking. I called the breeder and she refused to talk to me. Her house was gated and she wouldnt let me in. My dog's spine is shaped like a rollercoaster and he suffers EVERY DAY because of her. Does she care? No. She got my money and continues to breed. The only thing I can do now is educate people on my experience. Harley is a true miracle for even being alive today. We go everyday and people ask me what's wrong with him. That opens up this conversation. Hopefully, I can educate people to NEVER buy and always adopt/rescue. Thank you for writing this!

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  9. Ashley, there's a rescue thread running through the ether, and it seems that we are all managing to grasp it at the same time. I was just having this EXACT same discussion with some other rescue people on FB. About how to stop the demand, because once there is no longer a financial incentive, then we can finally hope to stop puppy mills, backyard breeders, and even "responsible" breeders.
    What the hell is a "responsible breeder" anyway? As long as dogs are dying and they continue to breed, it's irresponsible.
    As usual, you've explained the problem clearly and logically. I'm sharing this everywhere. I might just share it every day for the rest of my life.

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  10. For the most part, I agree with this post. And I definitely see where you're coming from. As a person that has to look daily at the faces of all the pets who are dying because you don't have space to save them and nobody wants them, it's easy to defame all breeders, and I don't blame you for that.

    But not all breeders are like that. Some breeders are truly breeding for the betterment of the breed. They put so much effort into socialization, health checks, bringing new genes into their lines, making sure each of the puppies they breed (though they don't breed many, because they only breed a litter that they truly believe will make the breed as a whole healthier) find a perfect home. These breeders are also usually involved in rescue because they love their breed and they understand that by creating more puppies they are making it more difficult for all the other dogs out there to find homes.

    These are the good breeders, and I'm not saying that there are very many of them. But they certainly don't deserve to be lumped in with the people who are breeding because they want a quick buck, or because "my bitch needs to have a litter before she's spayed", or because "my children need to see the miracle of birth", or because they're too damn lazy to desex their dogs.

    When the fight against pet homelessness is won (it may not be our generation, but with dedicated people like you, it will be one day), those truly dedicated breeders will be the foundation of our dogs.

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  11. I wanted A pure Bred Boxer. And I wanted Proof that it was! I don't think that there is anything wrong with that. And obviously so do allot of other people. Some people just want a pet and are not going to breed or put their dog in shows. And I think that those people should adopt from shelters. But their are those of us out their that want to breed or do the dogs shows etc..So for some of us those papers are important.

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  12. For the people who are saying that papers are important and that papers prove something... it's actually not true. The organizations who give out these papers often don't really care about how pure the dog is. You send in your money, and you get papers. They don't mean much. And I think there is something wrong with wanting a purebred pet for shows and breeding purposes. All those puppies that are born, are equal to one life that will perish in a shelter. Dogs are companions, and angels on earth, and I don't think they should have to face the health risks of not being spayed/neutered because people want ribbons.

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  13. We have a rescue dog, she is a staff. We named her Lola. She was mistreated by her previous owners, you can still see some of her scars. Jade, our family dog before was also a rescue dog. Even our cats are rescued. Don't believe we would ever buy an animal from a breeder or pet shop.

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  14. I bought my purebred cats from the petstore because they were sick and being neglected to death. They were put on sale and left to sell or die. Sometimes buying from a store is a 'rescue', too.

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  15. I have to say Ashley, normally I agree with you, and I even agree with much of what you said here. However, I think you went too far. Demonizing others to try and help your cause is never the answer. The problem is people that don't care about their pets, abusive people, puppy mills, and those that breed just because they want their dog to have puppies because puppies are cute. To throw all the blame on one group and act like that entire group is composed of puppy mills is beneath you. There are many targets here, and they all are the cause of such great sadness. You are right about one thing though, the marketing of expensive purebreds is still a disgrace to life itself.

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  16. Different countries - I know! But I am happy to give my money to my breeder. They are extremely dedicated and are working hard and doing their best to make their (my) breed become even better. They are always there for us (the puppy-buyers) and they always take their puppys back if it´s necessary. This weekend they went across the country to search for one of their puppies (now 2,5 years old) that went missing. They searched,slept in the car, knocked on doors and put up posters to help the owner (the dog was eventually found). Their breeding is very good too - I´m searching for a dog with special mental features. I follow their bloodlines and combinations. I want a working dog. I´m not giving up on a dog that has entered my home, so I need to be very picky and to give myself the best chance to get a dog that will meet my needs. I will not have 5 dogs or so at home - then I can´t give them the time I think every dog is entitled to. I´m happy to give my money to such dedicated breeders. Their dogs would never end up on rescues because they don´t breed more than they can manage (they keep in contact with every buyer - if the buyer wants it, and sometimes even if the don´t want it) to take care of - and they always take their dogs back (if necessary). This is how breeders should be!

    Don´t ever buy a mutt from a private person - they shouldn´t get a nickel for letting their dogs reproduce.... :-( And that is not because of the dogs are less worth, it´s because they are irresponsible breeders! And buying from them gives them money to continue! They shouldn´t be allowed to advertise online. It should be as hard as possible for them to get customers.... So they don´t breed their dog again.

    I give money to my local rescue and I´spent time and money to help them get dogfood to their dogs. When I have an opening to take another dog in, a dog that can be a companion dog, I would gladly take one from them. I have adopted two times earlier as well, when it fits into my life. I have the time for 2 dogs and feel comfortable about it. But I will always have a purebred as well.

    /Jenny

    Ps! We - so far - don´t have any puppy mills in my country. If we get them - they need to be shut down! Purebreds or not!
    Ps 2! I wouldn´t buy from any purebred-breeder either. I do my research around combinations and bloodlines within a breed to try and get the traits I´m looking for - and I´m willing to pay for what I want.
    Ps 3! My adopted dogs have been loved members of my family. They - as individuals - have meant as much to me as my purebred dogs.

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  17. My Rat terrier "PeeWee" was a puppy mill puppy. Inbred for his perfect markings. I was his 4th home at 9 mos. old. He suffered 7 years of horrid seizures, some lasting 2 hrs each despite the medical care we gave him daily. Our lives evolved around his med schedule. Someone was always there to give him his meds. The truth is he gave us the world. His liver finally gave out and I had to make the choice to relieve him of his illness. It was so difficult but he is always with me and those that he touched. And that was quite a few people. What a delight and a privilege it was for PeeWee to be with us.

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  18. My story isn't of dogs, but of cats - yet still relevant to this story. We have two Torti-point, purebred Siamese. Chloe (age 11) was PURCHASED from a breeder for $400 by my boyfriends now ex-wife (against HIS better judgment). Chloe came with papers and is a great cat. I love her very much. Now we have our Miss Lzzy-beth. I saw her on a website when I was looking at Siamese. She was a breeder cat, tossed out when her owners moved. She was unsocialized and did not like humans, yet something in me told me she needed me. So, we adopted her for $65 with all of her vet needs met and her health thankfully 100%. But her heart was broken. She'd never had the love she deserved. Speed forward over a year and with a lot of time and patience- she's beautiful, happy, healthy, and DEMANDING kitty. She stares at us begging to be petted, she is always in the same room with us and she is truly a wonderful addition to our family. She has a long ways to go yet (she still won't come to be petted on our laps and still runs when we try to pet her on OUR terms) but she's come so very far.

    What I'm saying is that Chloe came with papers that have since been lost. Lzzy came with baggage. Is one better than they other because one was from a breeder and cost $400 and the other has no papers and came from a shelter? No way! Our "twins", as we call them because they look so much alike, are equally wonderful. Papers mean NOTHING! Breeders and puppy mills want one thing: MONEY! A dog or cat from a shelter will show you love like you can't even imagine because maybe for the first time, you showed them even just a little love!

    ADOPT! ADOPT! ADOPT! Shut down the breeders and mills. Believe me, you CAN get a wonderful PUREBRED in shelter but more than that, you can get ANY pet at a shelter - purebred does not make them better than any mix-breed or "mutt". It never will.

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  19. @Anon 9:25pm,
    You actually did an excellent job of representing so many of the people I'm referring to here. Needing papers for proof, and needing that proof in order to breed your dog for profit --despite the knowledge that millions are killed-- well, that's the problem. There are already too many breeders. There's no excuse for you to breed your Boxer... while thousands of BOXERS die in shelters each year.

    @Anon 10:12pm,
    A lot of people convince themselves that they "rescued" a pet from a pet shop. The sad reality is that you actually PAID that pet shop to KEEP buying and selling these sick animals.

    @Anon 11:21pm,
    I'm not sure how I lumped everyone into the "puppy mill" group? I believe I only mentioned the term puppy mill once in this post. I talked about irresponsible breeders. And the vast majority of these breeders are highly irresponsible in their reckless actions. Also, I didn't demonize these people... I discussed how society and marketing have skewed people's perceptions. We have to present the truth in order to change opinions and actions. Clearly, nothing else has worked so far to stop the buying.

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  20. Ashley you are so right. Unfortunately my mom was one of those people brought up to believe pure bred dogs (with papers) was some kind of status thing. So I found her a young pug from a rescue group. Later she was given a boston terrier from a girl that was dumping him. Both came with 'papers' so that made her happy - even though both were immediately neutered. I could care less about papers but I do have a big soft spot for the dachshund breed. However, I'd never buy one - instead I get the poor badly bred babies that are dumped at animal control. Right now I have 2 with back issues and 1 with thyroid problem and 1 so unsocialized we are still working out his issues after a year. This is what happens to a lot of those cute pet store puppies people buy -they end up 'defective' and thrown away.

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  21. @Anonymous October 25, 2011 9:25 PM: Well then get one from a shelter and pay for some papers. Its not difficult to get your so called "proof". Can you also prove your papered dog is not INBRED?

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  22. Although I don't condemn her, my sister breeds dogs for one reason, it is HIGHLY lucrative, as in $100k+ per year, tax-free (buyers must pay cash). She treats the dogs very well, taking care of them is very time-consuming, and vet bills can get expensive. I've asked her how she can live with the fact that she's contributing to the needless deaths of shelter animals and her response is "Those animals are there for a reason and those who adopt them are just taking on other peoples' problems". I obviously disagree. She has no student loans, didn't have to spend years in college and otherwise would be lucky to be earning $30k a year IF she could get a job. For people who don't care about all the animals that needlessly die, it's probably the most lucrative legal activity they could do to make money. For people with limited career options, The earning potential of breeding is right up there with selling drugs and prostituting, without the adverse consequences and negative perception by most others. I believe the solution is to regulate the "industry". States require salon workers to be licensed in order to cut your hair or do your nails, they certainly do the same for breeders!!!

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  23. I have two dogs with papers: retired racing greyhounds. I love each so very much! I personally think ANY dog breeding whatsoever is irresponsible. I mean if you want a purebred anything there is a rescue available on petfinder. For example, many people give up boxers simply because they didn't know they drool so much. Or Siberian Husky's because they are jumpy and energetic. Or Lab's because they need so much exercise....WHATEVER! Is having papers worth a member of your beloved breed being killed in a shelter?

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  24. To Anonymous on October 26th at 8:10am, your sister is no better than a puppy mill. She is obviously selling a LOT of puppies to make 100K a year. She may take decent care of the dogs, but she doesn't actually care about animals at all. She makes 100k a year, doesn't pay any taxes & probably gets government $$ b/c she appears jobless. I wouldn't be proud to even know that person, much less call her a friend...& even worse a SISTER!

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  25. Our only purebred dog was when we raised a Seeing Eye Dog. Inga failed her final testing due to hip problems and we ended up spending 15 great years with her.

    Mutts and rescues for me from now on!

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  26. I LOVE reading your blog! My pittie mutt has been the most loving and loyal dog ever. I try and educate people about the amount of dogs that are killed each year and some really aren't aware. Blow my mind!

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  27. I have to admit that yes, both of our Chihuahuas came from a breeder (and thankfully they are both healthy). But this was before I immersed myself in the whole dog culture. Now that I know what I know, our next family member will definitely be a rescue and will always be a rescue.

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  28. @Anon 8:10am,
    Your sister's actions are not only immoral, reckless, and DEADLY, but also HIGHLY ILLEGAL.

    There's something called TAX EVASION. If your sister runs a business and makes a profit, yet-- she makes customers pay in cash to avoid paying taxes, then she COULD BE & SHOULD BE IN JAIL.

    For you to defend her actions, and refer to this business as "lucrative," well, that's exactly the problem I'm referring to here. Greed over morals.

    Tax evasion is a very common practice amongst breeders. If you purchase a dog from a breeder, and they make you pay with CASH, then you just made an ILLEGAL TRANSACTION.

    Is it fair that everyone else should work hard and be required to pay a large portion of their salaries in taxes, while breeders can contribute to millions of deaths each year, while sitting on their butts, breeding dogs, and making 100K salaries WITHOUT paying taxes???

    Those actions should not be defended, and the public should not support this deadly line of "work" and its ILLEGAL implications.

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  29. I will say there are some breeders, responsible licensed breeders. But ugh, so many crazy people out there breeding dogs to make money. Or under some idea that they are helping when they should be educating.

    I would love to see a nationwide spay/neuter law so that only regulated licensed breeders could create dogs. I'm pretty sure we'd have the stray dog problem under control in no time.

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  30. The only "purebred" dog I've ever owned was my Lhasa named Brandy. She had no "papers" and I didn't care one iota. I didn't even care she was "purebred". I had a neighbour who was moving and could not take her with so they offered her to me. She had gotten out once prior to that, and I took her in. In spite of a strong effort to find her owners, I never did - so she stayed with me. Well then ... they happened to drive by and see her in my yard - stopped, and she was gone again. So when they moved, they knew I loved her, knew I'd be a good home.

    Breeders infuriate me. Here, they sell them out of the back of pick up trucks in the Walmart parking lot. It makes me ill.

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  31. Amen, Ashley!!! AND TO PROVE YOUR POINT: I adopted a puppy mill breeder Boston Terrier (for a whopping $150 -- and yes, spayed, hw tested, shots -- so therefore "bargain")and people I know with REGISTERED, PAPERED Bostons tell me she is the most beautiful Boston they've ever seen...then ticking me off and saying "oh, I see why the "breeder" (cough, cough) kept her!

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  32. I admire your passion and dedication - you're doing a great amount of good for homeless pups. I actually love to read your posts as a reminder that I need to get out and do more, and generally agree with you wholeheartedly. I would never, ever get a dog from a breeder and I volunteer with a local rescue, at local shelters and as a foster home (and an advocate with everyone I come across).
    That said, while I find it difficult to accept that people are willing to breed dogs while there are so many dying in shelters I believe it's important not to imply that every breeder is irresponsible and do not vet their dogs ("the rescue puppy/dog is fully-vetted, unlike the breeder dog"). There is a minority who genuinely care about 'their' breed and take an awful lot of trouble over their dogs - always taking them back if they don't work out in a home and often being involved in rescue efforts for that breed.
    I will always adopt and keep encouraging everyone I meet to adopt, and I do try to persuade anyone who is breeding their dogs to stop. And I'll keep reading your great posts to gain inspiration. But let's be wary of tarring everyone with the same brush.

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  33. In my immediate family if one of us said "T H A T bitch" we were referring to the neighbor that put down the family dog when they moved to a 'fancy' neighborhood. Any of us would have taken him, he'd protected our houses, checked-out my dates and was a lot of company. If we have a purebred animal it is by accident---they are from the 'pound'.

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  34. I am very involved in dog rescue and obviously wish that more people would adopt. One thing I would say is that the demand for dogs doesn't necessarily match the supply that can be found in shelters. I wish I could talk someone that applies for a little fluffy dog in to take a black lab or a pit bull, but it won't happen, and the reality is that the right dog for their lifestyle is probably a little fluffy and not a lab or pit anyway. I think if all breeders stopped, right now, there would be more demand for little fluffies than there would be little fluffies available, even if transportation to the right place in the country was no issue. But truthfully, the mutts are way cooler dogs than the purebreds :)

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  35. Although I strongly agree that people should consider rescues FIRST, that puppy mills are wildly immoral and should be strenuously prosecuted, and that getting a dog should be about seeking companionship and love, not about showing off status.

    That said, I don't think breeding, or purchasing from a breeder is inherently irresponsible, particularly if the goal is (1) to acquire a specific trait or skill that most dogs lack (e.g. newfoundlands' swimming abilities), or (2) to improve the breed - and, overall, the species.

    I've had rescues my whole life, and the first time I got a purebred was in 2008 - a puppy from an excellent working line who had been returned to the breeder for aberrant behavior (killed a chicken, which is a BIG no-no for a herding/working farm dog). He was going for $50 - although the breeder would have kept him had she not found a home - and has been worth so, so much more.

    Anyway, as much as I loved my previous mutt rescues (and especially one mastiffy special-blend who literally came in from the cold one winter night), I decided to pick a known-breed dog this time around because I wanted to assure (as much as I could) that my companion would be possessed of the personality and breed abilities (in this case, an aloofness toward strangers, independence, intelligence, skills in herding and scenting, and an ability to work around horses) that I desired for my lifestyle/line of work.

    And he's brilliant. He's got an incredible nose, he's crazy smart, strong enough to work with me, but not so strong I can't handle him, aloof with strangers but great with friends, works wonderfully with horses, isn't gun-shy, and has an amazing sweet (if a bit high-strung) temperament. I've depended on him, on countless occasions, to use his scent work to help me in the forest and in the foothills. No health problems to speak of - he's been sick once, from drinking too much pond water - and I wish more dogs existed in the world like him.

    Could I have gotten lucky and found a special-blend dog in a shelter with these qualities? Absolutely. Did I consider rescues first? Yes. Did I feel compelled to give Blue a chance? Yes. Am I indescribably grateful that I did? Absolutely. I love this breed and I love this dog. I'm not going to breed Blue, because I'm not interested in taking on that kind of responsibility and I don't think he is either - but I feel strongly that he's a truly exceptional animal who would be a boon to the lineage of the dog.

    - Allie

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  36. I think more people would adopt if they weren't faced with the process of references, home checks, giving blood samples, etc. The stories of good people being TURNED DOWN from saving a dog's life, or years of misery alone make me certain that both shelters and rescues are broken. Certainly, look out for the dog's best interest, but isn't getting the dog adopted also in the dog's best interest? You can actually buy a gun more easily than you can buy a dog.

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  37. Ashley,

    I must confess I have both. My rescue was first and then my husband convinced me to buy our second. I love them both equally and they are family but I have already vowed that we will never buy another dog. Adopting is the only avenue I want to follow and my hopes are someday to be able to save MANY longing for new and better lives. I see the gratitude in my rescue's eyes (Kaese) and it SAYS IT ALL!!!!

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  38. Despite my personal feelings about breeders, I made sure to repeatedly say "most breeders" in my post, so that I wasn't lumping them all into the same category.

    However, those "responsible" breeders represent a VERY SMALL portion of the breeding industry. There are hundreds/thousands of breeders in most states, & very few of those actually act in a responsible, ethical, or legal manner.

    In addition, let's be honest... most of the people who buy from breeders are not seeking a "herding" or "tracking" trait. Most seek a "look."

    Regardless of which traits they seek, there is a shelter dog who could fulfill their needs. Even still, I know many people --who are very aware of this information-- and they still bought from breeders for the "papers." Many of those people have told me that they didn't want a "hand-me-down rescue dog." This goes back to societal views... and the desire for the things we "own" to represent our status and worth.

    Again, I want to change perceptions. I want people to be accountable, by understanding that EACH PERSON'S DECISIONS & ACTIONS have an impact... which can either contribute toward the problem, or the solution.

    Most people believe that THEIR OWN ACTIONS have no consequences. Maybe they realize that shelter pets are dying, but they don't see how THEY PERSONALLY could be responsible in any way.

    It's not about blaming people. People just need to understand the weight of their own actions. Buying from a breeder is a choice--with consequences. If you sugar-coat the consequences to mask the reality of what's really happening to MILLIONS of shelter pets, then behaviors will never change.

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  39. Not only are there puppy mills but also catteries. Basically the same thing only for cats. One of our 12 cats is a purebred that came from one of those horrible places. Jinx, our Oriental Shorthair, was tossed by the breeder at the pound with his sisters at 2 weeks old because the jerk had bred his mother to death. He couldn't be bothered to bottle feed the kittens so he tossed them. We fostered Jinx and after bottle feeding him for four weeks we decided to keep him. We never bothered to collect his papers even though they were offered. Why should we? None of the others is a purebred and he certainly doesn't know that he is. His tastes are pretty basic - catnip, a fleece blanket and sardine crackers.

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  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  41. Beautiful Story Ashley. Incredibly emotional. Very hard to read. I thank you so much for doing everything that you do. I actively donate to several animal organizations every month, and am very happy to do it. Most importantly, because of your story, rather than buying my second dog (I have a purebred Weimaraner)...I may adopt now. Thank you.

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  42. Normally, to read such a collection of rhetoric, I'd need to be at a political website. Interesting how one piece of slanted opinion can gather so much reaction, is it not?

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  43. Wow. This post pretty much ensured that i will never adopt a dog from lucky dog. This piece is divisive, myopic, and immature.

    There are many reasons one may get a dog from a breeder. There are many reasons one may not get a dog from a shelter.

    Over my lifetime, I have owned several dogs. Some purebred, some rescues, some from a shelter. You are not a better person if you get a rescue dog. This is something that rescue dog owners like to tell themselves, but they're not.

    Also breeding dogs is not "lucrative". Puppy mills can be lucrative, but the VAST majority of breeders do it as a hobby. There's no way the math adds up to lucrative.

    Saying "i said most ____" is a cop out used by high schoolers. You wrote a hit job on breeders and dog owners who bought from a breeder. Own it.

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  44. To Anonymous at 2:19p.m., NO ONE should be breeding as a hobby!! Flying a kite is a hobby, surfing is a hobby, building model airplanes is a hobby...bringing lives into the world that will need years & years of care is NOT A HOBBY! You want a hobby, get a paintbrush & start painting!!

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  45. Again, stop with the ridiculousness. You sound like an extremist. A hobby is something that someone is committed to doing, but is not necessarily profitable. For some, hobbies can be bigger in their lives than their jobs. Hobbies are not necessarily passive activities. Some people breed dogs, some people build incredibly detail oriented sailboats, others remodel their house.

    Just as a word of advice, you are not arguing from a position of strength when you cherry pick meanings of words and turn the fight into one of semantics over substance.

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  46. I have nothing but love for the people who dedicate themselves to the protection and advocacy of pets, but that article was WAY over the top. The sweeping generalizations not only about the breeding industry, but about the perceptions of wealth in the US were ignorant to say the least. I know that it must be frustrating when you dedicate your time and effort to something that so many people CLAIM to support and then watch as nothing ever seems to change. That being said, it will never help the cause to come off sounding bitter, judgmental, and better than everyone else. I own two dogs. One was purchased from a pet store and the other from a breeder. I have papers on neither (although I could) and they are both healthy happy animals. I do not feel that I killed a shelter dog because I bought mine. That remark is oversimplified and juvenile and designed to force an emotional response. Well it did; anger. Not at the treatment of animals in this country (which I already have), but at the writer of the post for wasting my time with overly sentimental and unnecessarily judgmental drivel.

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  47. It has nothing to do with a position of strength. Breeding dogs to make some extra money to go on vacation isn't right. There's no middle ground here. These "hobby" breeders & their not-so-distant cousin, the puppy mill breeder, are the exact reasons organizations like "Lucky Dog Rescue" exist. Bringing lives into the world isn't something to toy around with. Many of those "hobby" breeders' (read..Back yard breeders) dogs will end up at the shelter. Do they care?..NO They are just happy that they got some extra tax free cash.

    I'm no extremist, but I feel like if someone is going to breed dogs (or any animal for that matter) they should know a LOT about that breed & it shouldn't just be something they're doing to pass the time. The family dog shouldn't be an ATM, it should just be a dog.

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  48. My dogs are mixed. But not from shelters. Why? Because I can't. Because I don't take them to the vet for shots every year. They are happy and healthy. How do I know? Because of the economy I can't afford medical care for me or my dogs. Should I give them up just because they don't see a vet? Should I be put down just because I don't see a doctor. And haven't for the last six years. Can't afford insurance. I don't think so. If something would happen to them then I would beg, steal, or borrow the money. But we have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies.

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  49. If you have an animal from a pet store, congratulations! You just supported a puppy mill!

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  50. Roscoe's Rescue, Inc.October 26, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    @ Devin Blanks: If you are reconsidering your decision to purchase and are now leaning towards adopting from a shelter or rescue, this article served its purpose.
    @ the first Anonymous posting after Devin's posting: What I see "interesting" is your unwillingness to claim your feedback. If you are accusing the author of "slanting" the facts, you are sadly ignorant of the truth basic supply-and-demand economics. That, I admit, may be no fault of your own - but making an anonymous critical claim such as that is definitely your fault.
    @ the 2nd anonymous post after Devin's: Divisive? You bet. The truth usually is. Myopic? Ha! Actually, this article gives the overview quite well. The issue is that few people who buy from breeders want to admit that. Immature? Hm...kind of similar to those who throw stones yet refuse to "OWN IT" by signing their post?
    This article does not say you are a better person if you get a rescue dog. This article says that you are a better person if you educate yourself about the truth of pet overpopulation and breeders.
    Breeding dogs is not "lucrative"?! Where do you live?! The VAST majority of breeders do it for the cash money that they do not report as taxable income. The math adds up to lucrative. If you do the research, you will see the evidence. And, "my sister-in-law breeds her chihuahua...etc. etc. etc." does not constitute research!!
    "Own it"?? Why don't you?

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  51. @Anonymous (10/26, 2:19pm): Please do yourself a favor and go participate in the killing of purebred dogs at your local Animal Control facility. Your personality and disposition towards dogs seems well suited for it.

    @Everyone else: If you know of someone who is about to buy from a breeder - backyard or otherwise - and spend $600 or more, tell them to INSIST on a 1099 tax form from the seller. 1099's can be issued for ANY payment of $600 or more and create a paper trail the IRS can use to shut down tax evaders (like the selfish sister noted previously). If the breeder isn't charging $600+, then hopefully their enterprise won't be lucrative enough to sustain!

    Five doors down from me a family of Mexican immigrants (no racism, just observation) has a huge piece of plywood propped up in their yard with "PIT PUPPIES FOR SALE" scrawled on it. They chain the momma up out front all day long every day. She looks so tired, I can't believe she's still being bred. I want to act like a right-to-lifer at an abortion clinic and bring signs to their house with pictures of piles of dead pit bulls in garbage bins on them and statistics about the numbers of pits being put down in our local "shelters" EVERY DAY (Alameda County [Oakland], CA). I want to stop any and every person who approaches that house for a puppy and demand they look into the eyes of the dog that will die because of their ignorance, carelessness, and indifference. And the sad irony is, the breeder will most likely drop off the puppies they couldn't sell at the "shelter" and then they'll become another carcass in a dumpster that society forgot.

    Humans are savage beasts!

    @Lucky Dog Rescue: Your article is spot-on! All of those who have complained that your tone was "over the top" or insisted that your position is immature are simply the types of people you're encouraging sane, intelligent people to steer clear of - no wonder they didn't like what you had to say! Would the "bitch" with the Prada purse give it up easily for a $10 thrift store purse? Not a chance. People will justify their stupidity to the bitter end (oh, incidentally, is that time when you can't take all the material goods with you, only your soul!). Keep fighting the good fight!!! =]

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  52. Breeding dogs of any kind = death to countless others. Perhaps there are "responsible" breeders, but bringing life into the world when it means that others will die because of it is the exact opposite of "responsible". So to those of you who will argue that your breeder is responsible…. keep telling yourself that so that you can sleep better at night, but keep in mind that while you sleep comfortably in your bed, thousands of dogs are spending their final night on a cold concrete floor … It’s perfectly responsible. Well Done!

    While there are those who will argue that there is nothing wrong with breeders, there are others who never knew the harsh reality of their impact, and once educated, will no longer support these practices. And that’s why posts like these are so important. So thank you Ashley, you are saving countless lives! And I appreciate you!

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    Replies
    1. You tell it Marsha! And let's take it even further! People should stop having their own kids and go out and adopt! How dare anyone bring a child into this world when there are children that die every day because their parents weren't educated enough to prevent their birth! Blah, blah, blah. I happily own a healthy, beautiful and smart purebreed and will keep buying from breeders I like until I die. I am well aware that there are plenty of good dogs all over the country that are there for no good reason but guess what, it's not my fault. I spay and neuter and am an educated dog owner. I do more than most bleeding heart rescue owners do and I'm not going to go out and adopt a dog just because someone tries to guilt me into it. This shaming approach doesn't do much for your cause. Quit patting yourselves on the back and go do something more useful.

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  53. @piper:
    You said it best when you said "People will justify their stupidity to the bitter end." You are doing a fine job. Once again, by calling a woman with a Prada purse a "bitch" you use a sweeping generalization. You brought up some good points with the Tax forms and the pit breeder near your home, and then trashed your own argument by being petty and juvenile. Remember that you get more bees with honey than vinegar.

    Also, just be aware that I am on your side. I agree with most of the points being made in the blog. I just do not agree with how they are being made.

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  54. Just to be clear, the attitudes that have been shown in follow up to my comments are the exact reason why people shy away from shelters. There are quite literally crazies and extremists that flock to them. You're only perpetuating stereotypes and creating caricatures in peoples' minds.

    As for the continued disagreement over the word "hobby", I think I explained myself pretty succinctly, but you chose to be hardheaded. Allow me to try once again, the MAJORITY OF BREEDERS ARE NOT MAKING A PROFIT AND DO NOT BREED TO MAKE A PROFIT. When I used the word HOBBY I was referring to the actual meaning of the word, not what you may think the word means. Now, kindly remove your foot from your mouth.

    hob·by1   [hob-ee] Show IPA
    noun, plural -bies.
    1.
    an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation

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  55. The irony of the statement that "Breeding dogs of any kind = death to countless others" is that its a logical fallacy.

    If no one bred dogs, there would be no dogs in shelters. Fine. But if no one breeds dogs and there are no dogs in shelters, then no one would have dogs. hmmm....

    The entire issue comes down to moderation and morals. Obviously there is an oversupply of badly bred dogs and it is a shame that so many are put down. However, the solution isnt an absolute, nor is this type of incitant drivel helpful.

    A few years ago, shelters were fantastic places... but unfortunately, and i am pretty active in the dog scene in my area, which has a Lucky Dog Rescue, and shelter folks and their supporters are using less and less logic and more demagoguery and divisiveness. Its really just doing a disservice to the entire, well-intentioned movement.

    Let me tell you 2 little anecdotes that really flesh out the problems I have seen:

    My parents wanted to get a dog after our [rescue] mutt died. I am their adult child, but I went through the dog selection process for them because it matters to me. We all went to several local shelters (including Lucky Dog) and we were confronted with a shocking level of pedantic and didactic lecturing. After filling out multiple similar questionaires, before even being able to see the dogs, we were confronted by 17 year old volunteers who thought they knew better about what kind of dog we needed. We were even disqualified once because some insufferable jerk on a power trip decided that my parents (who live comfortably) did not understand the costs of dog ownership because they answered the "how much does owning a dog cost?" and they said some amount per month that was too low. DISQUALIFIED. You can adopt a child easier. Instead of having to constantly prove themselves to over-bearing dingbats, and after several visits, they turned to a very responsible, breeder... who wasnt making money, but was very active in the rescue and showing scene for that particular breed.

    2nd scenario: My partner and I wanted a dog. We went to a few shelters to explain we really needed a hypoallergenic dog. They spent more time lecturing us about how no dog is actually hypoallergenic and how its just a bunch of bs (was that the author of the blog that we spoke to??) and how we were terrible people and blah blah blah. We went to a breeder, got a standard poodle, and no allergies.

    The only reason I have continued to follow this thread is because I do care about the larger shelter movement and I think people, like this author, that run a popular blog and since Lucky Dog works in my area and a lot of people like them, have a responsibility to be fair and even handed.

    I see shelters, their employees, volunteers, and supporters as needing to engage in some introspection. I have not seen this level of radicalism in shelters until recent years.

    Also, keep in mind that snobbery based on pure breeding is no different than snobbery based on whether your dog came from a shelter.

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  56. By definition you are correct breeding can be a hobby and so can smoking crack. But we all know that just cause you can do something and it gives you pleasure doesn't mean you should.

    - Deanne

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  57. Oops, I forgot to mention the missed appointments in my diatribe against modern shelter activity.

    So, in any case, they are very difficult to work with these days. Not only that they assume everyone is stupid and even out to defraud them.

    I dont understand why the attitude that is espoused in this piece is necessary. generalizations, factless accusations, and outrageous hyperbole just dont serve any useful purpose.

    I've emailed my local Lucky Dog - I hope they end their association with you.

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  58. Wow do you bashers and bullies (and idiots) take your jobs seriously! Such a shame that Ashley or anyone else needs to defend a blog post like this one. Nobody was attacking anyone until random "anons" began making rude comments. I wish everyone got to spend one day in a rescuer or a shelter worker's shoes. To see the terrible over population. To see the desperate eyes of broken dogs when people walk through, and then decide to go to a breeder instead. It shouldn't be about looks, or "bloodlines". It should be about SAVING a dog or cat that NEEDS you. It should be about opening your home to a great cause, and setting an example for others.

    And I'm sorry...but if there wasn't money involved in breeding, 99% of people wouldn't do it anymore. So yes, that 1% are truly great people who want to "better the breed" and are ethical and whatnot. Using the term "most breeders" is absolutely acceptable in this case and far from misjudged or immature.

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  59. Anon 1:28pm,
    You certainly contributed to the feedback you seemingly condemn, now didn't you?

    Anon 2:19pm,
    Do you think that your comment hurts me? "This post pretty much ensured that i will never adopt a dog from lucky dog." That's actually a huge relief!
    I'm not sure what the purpose of your "anonymous" post was. Telling me to "Own it," while not owning your own comments-- THAT'S high school. My name is clearly stated next to every post... I'm not hiding. I own what I write. However, I do not own your inaccurate perception of what I write.
    I didn't write this post expecting everyone to agree with me. I'm fine if you don't. But if you disagree so strongly, this clearly isn't the place for you. It's best for everyone if you leave.

    Also, Anon @ 4:22pm,
    You emailed your local Lucky Dog?? This IS NOT a franchise. Seriously, get a life. Why do you continue to come back here? Because you have NOTHING BETTER TO DO. Sad. So sad.

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  60. @anon 4:07:
    Wow! You are obviously brilliant, and write so beautifully. I know a lot of people just like you… they all have the insatiable need to always need to be "right" regardless of the topic. You should be proud of yourself for writing to your local rescue & asking them to end any affiliation with Ashley. I mean, who wouldn’t attack a cause that saves lives every single day?! People who dedicate their entire lives to something they believe in are obviously beneath you & don’t know what they’re talking about. I can just hear it now…. bragging to your friends & colleagues about telling these rescue workers where to go! Well done! You’re a great person! And yes, you’re (obviously) right.

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  61. Hey Mr Anonymous who took the useless time to email your local Lucky Dog (which, by the way, I'm not associated with),

    I hope you realize that I can see the actions of your IP address on my blog. Before and after writing your rude, hateful comments here, you clicked & read nearly EVERY SINGLE BLOG POST I've ever written. Do you have nothing better to do??

    But wait... there's more...

    I was pretty shocked to find out that you're writing your nasty comments from a surprisingly HIGH-PROFILE GOVERNMENT BUILDING in a pretty important city. Is this what our tax dollars are paying you to do? to visit charity blogs & berate them? To send emails to unrelated charities to try to ruin nonexistent associations?

    I'm extremely disturbed to know that you've spent the last couple of hours on my blog.. while you're being paid tax dollars to work for this country. Please, do your job and leave my blog alone.

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  62. @anon at 3:04 did I read that right? You can't vet your dogs because of the economy? Listen, a dog just died in my county because it was 13 mo. past due on its rabies vaccine. I know it's hard to keep your dogs up to date in the current financial climate, but that's why there are rescue groups out there with programs to help. If you are really not able to provide standard vet care for your pets, please email me privately at yelodoggie@yahoo.com, and I will do my best to find you some financial aid for vetting in your community.

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  63. Ashley, i've been trying to say this forever and you just put it in the best words possible.

    One of the only types of people in this world who can be an extremist and it be "okay" are animal advocates. When it comes to saving lives, there is no extreme.

    If you have ever purchased or bred a dog, and still believe it was okay now, then you are telling everyone else it's okay to do it as well. You cannot be an animal lover with this mindset. You can buy a dog, and even have it fixed, but you are still telling everyone else it's okay to buy and breed because of your actions.

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  64. "Anonymous said...

    I bought my purebred cats from the petstore because they were sick and being neglected to death. They were put on sale and left to sell or die. Sometimes buying from a store is a 'rescue', too.
    October 25, 2011 10:12 PM "

    Are you really that stupid? You opened up a few more holes for more sick animals to be bought by people who fall for this ploy. They want you to feel bad so you'll buy them and fund them to bring more sick animals into the world. I don't blame you for not wanting to post your name. My rescue dog saved my life and the lives of my entire family; once from a burglar and again from a house fire. She more recently found a lady who was calling for help and saved her life. Shelter dogs are the best and most grateful.

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  65. @Skyla and others...

    These arguments are so flawed. When it comes to saving lives there are no extremes? OK... Here goes. As an animal owner, for every doloar that you have ever spent on that animal, whether it be for its adoption fees, food, toys, vet bills, or whatever, that was a dollar that could have been used to feed a starving child. So by buying or adopting a pet ANYWHERE, you are contributing to the starvation of children. That makes you a murderer.

    How does that argument look? Pretty oversimplified and juvenile, right?

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  66. @Marty,
    Please don't continue to come here.. calling everyone who doesn't agree with you "juvenile." THAT is juvenile.

    You clearly disagree with this post. You clearly disagree with this cause. Sooo, continuing to come back to a blog you don't support over & over & over again seems pretty silly.

    There are plenty of good causes out there. Obviously, this isn't the one for you. Please, turn your immense negativity and rudeness into something positive, & use the time you're wasting here to HELP someone else.

    PS- Your last argument was beyond ridiculous, and it did NOT prove the ridiculous point you were trying to make. Again, please use this energy elsewhere.

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  67. @Marty: Thanks for misreading my humor in writing "bitch" in my previous post. I was trying to point out that any person who would cling to an expensive, branded, bauble COULD be a bitch, but more subtly, I meant bitch as a double entendre because bitch also means a female dog. But honestly, I don't expect everyone to understand my train of thought so I'm sorry I flew right over you!

    Regardless, I'm intrigued by your argument @7:47. My opinion on the children vs. animals issue is this: until they start euthanizing adoptable foster children and until I can get a tax write off for raising companion animals, the argument will never be oversimplified and juvenile. I think its abhorrent that we treat any animal like less of a being than a child. [Yes, if my house was burning and my child and my dog both needed to be rescued, THERE WOULD BE NO CHOICE. I'd rather they both die than one be sacrificed to save the other. My vote would be save them both or save neither!] We coddle children like they are little gods, projecting so much hope onto them when so little is necessary (or oftentimes deserved). It's sorta like feeding my snake a live rat. I don't want to kill the rat, but if I don't, the snake will die. So, no matter what I do, I'm a "murderer." I realize there is only so much money to go around to charitable organizations but maybe the distribution of our taxes is a good model to draw from. I don't want police protection IN LIEU of fire protection - I want them both. Or maybe its like health insurance. I want medical AND dental so I consider myself blessed to be able to afford both. When people are forced to leave one thing behind in order to obtain another thing, its challenging. But really, does calling the people involved in this discussion "murderers" in order to make your point really exempt you from the realm of petty and juvenile arguments? I think not...

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  68. Goodness, all I did was follow a Facebook link from a friend who works with DC's Lucky Dog Rescue to a blog called Lucky Dog Rescue Blog. Certainly, this is an understandable mistake to make.

    I don't know where you got the idea that I visited every single blog post you have, that is certainly not the case.

    Of course I know you have my IP address, I know how the internet works. But, you may not know, but IP addresses don't really tell you where I work, you just know where I was when I made those posts. But really, what does it matter? Do you really think my comments are that out-of-line? do you really think I was being "hateful"?

    My initial reaction(s) was based on the belief that you were affiliated with friends and friends of friends who are doing good work here with a charity of the same name. Had I understand you run some shelter a thousand miles away, I probably wouldn't have given it much of a thought.

    I've already said a lot, and I understand its pointless to continue, but I wish you had spent more time reading what I wrote, rather than reacting to think you need to understand as you go forward that you stepped over the line with this post in a big way. The stuff you wrote was hurtful to many people who get dogs from breeders for real, personal reasons and have nothing to do with your erroneous preconceptions. Plenty of people, who make the choice not to get a dog from a shelter love dogs, plenty of breeders do too. What you claim you hate about the stereotypes you rejected, you were doing with your diatribe. I wish you understood that.

    I actually agree with the gist of what you said about "papers" and to some people, purebred dogs are waaaay too important.

    Perhaps, your perception of the status quo is based solely on a very small sample of your own personal observations - but trust me, your assumptions and conclusions are just WAY off based. Its too bad you insist to double down on them with more hyperbole, instead of moderating them a bit and be a bit more reasonable in the face of very legitimate criticism.

    I don't mean anything personal, you just hit a big nerve with this post for me, and these things matter a lot to me - because, like you, I care a lot about dogs.

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  69. woah woah woah. Piper, you can't be serious. kids and dogs are the same? you would rather your child die if your dog was going to die? come on. you're just saying that, you don't mean it... do you? do you actually have children?

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  70. Anon 8:45pm,
    Emailing your local Lucky Dog to hopefully ruin any association they may have with my charity? Yes, hateful, unnecessary, and vengeful.

    Regardless, you did no damage to me. But the fact that you wanted to, based on one post... is childish and says a lot about your character.

    Your number of clicks and page views took me quite some time to scroll through. If you were really so disgusted with what you read here, why continue to search and click to read more? Doesn't make much sense, and it doesn't give you much credibility.

    It doesn't seem that you are involved with animal rescue or the pet industry. Therefore, maybe you can't say what actually happens in this field.

    I can handle criticism. You didn't criticize. Instead, you basically made some useless comments and a threat.. that you had emailed your local rescue to hopefully break their (nonexistent) ties with me.

    I run a charity. I bust my ass to do good things for a living. That makes your actions seem very questionable and hateful. And again, I think you have better things to do at work or wherever you are, than come to an animal rescue blog to argue. You made your point. Kind of.

    Please, at this point, put your negativity into something positive.

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  71. @Ashley:

    I'm sorry If you feel that I shouldn't visit your blog because I don't agree with you. I thought that was why you were posting in the first place. That being said, for the most part I do agree with you. I can't stress this enough. I appreciate the work that you do and the time and effort that you put into educating people. You made some valid arguments in your posts that have made me think. I was disagreeing with some of your methodology. I will stop commenting now, however, since Piper has just lost the argument by saying that she would let her child die. I can not combat that kind of ignorance, nor do I wish to try.

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  72. Interesting blog. Your words and assumptions are way too radical.Some good points and great intentions but way too over the top. Lost me half way through.
    What about horse breeders, cats, alpacas, cows, chickens,budgies,rabbits, the list goes on and on. If people did not breed them out of mostly hobby and a love of that certain breed,our society would have no use for any them , therefore they would dissappear from the face of the earth.The only ones that would exist would be ones we raise for meat, That would suck.
    Many, many , many people raise and breed animals responsibly, you really did lump all of them together in a very bad light.
    In my life I have purchased 3 pure bred dogs, ALL 3 of the breeders, kept in touch with me for the dogs entire lives.The pups where tested for as many inheritant faults as possible. A resposible breeder would never allow a pup to go to a pet shop nor breed a litter unless they had a waiting list of responsible owners.My point 3 out of 3 where over the top responsible people who did it for the pure enjoyment. Although they charged money no way they did it for profit only. I admire your cause and respect your intention but please dont mislead people into thinking all breeders are bad, Puppy MIlls, and Pet shops are on a whole different level, Go get them but give responsible breeders a little more respect please.

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  73. @Marty,
    I actually like when people who disagree with me come to my blog! I mean that! And I also like having educated debates on these topics. It helps me see things from another perspective, and I always appreciate that.

    However, I don't like when people come here just to argue. And maybe that isn't what you were trying to do, and if not, I apologize.

    It's been a long day, and after an emotional (but super happy) adoption, I came back to the computer to find a lot of arguing back and forth. I tend to get a little frustrated with those few people who come here just to bicker and attack my blog readers. A lot of really good-hearted people come here, and I don't want them to have ugly words thrown at them.

    Obviously these rescuers get angry about this topic. We are passionate, and there are lives on the line. Millions of lives. When you've seen these dogs die senseless deaths, and you've seen the senseless reasons why it happens, you become very upset that someone could defend this reckless behavior.

    Again, maybe after an emotionally-draining day, I misunderstood your comments. That's always possible. Either way, thanks for caring about the animals.

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  74. Oh come ON. I wasn't trying to do damage to you. I thought you were blogging on behalf of a charity I cared about and I didn't want them to be associated with your views. They're not, so have your views all you want, I suppose. its your blog, you can write whatever you want. But you also opened up the comments and have at least a following around me, so don't be surprised when you draw a diverse set of opinions when you write things that, I have to imagine you knew when you wrote, are kind of inflammatory.

    How do you know what I'm involved in? You jump to a heap of conclusions.

    As for the clicks and page views, they weren't me, my friend. Im responsible for maybe 8 combined between this afternoon and tonight. Maybe its a software error or maybe more people read you than you realize.

    Seriously though, you have the SAME name as a very big rescue group in this area, with multiple locations. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of other people have the same confusion I had.

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  75. We have a husky rescue from Kashechewan, way north in Ontario. It seemed she might benefit from a companion, so we bought a registered Golden Retriever. The pair get along great, but I gotta tell you, she is far more obedient and perceptive. The Golden actually is kind of stupid. He's loveable, don't get me wrong, but he doesn't figure out the obvious. Will not spend money at a breeder's again. I can see someone who wants a hunting dog or a particular kind of dog for a certain purpose will be more likely to get a dog that will suit his purpose if buying a certain breed. However for the average pet lover, those papers aren't worth the ink on them.

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  76. You're still here??

    Speaking of jumping to conclusions, it seems you quickly jumped to a conclusion about my associations with your local Lucky Dog Rescue, and then, you wasted time writing an email based on your inaccurate assumptions. Hmmm...

    Yes, this is MY blog. I'm allowed to state whatever I like here. And considering the number of times you alone have visited my blog in one day, I guess I should be pretty proud of it.

    Of course I realize there will be people who disagree with me. That's fine! If I wasn't okay with that, I could've easily deleted all of the negative comments here. But I didn't. I could've quickly deleted any comment that didn't share my views. But I didn't.

    What I didn't appreciate was the fact that you felt it was okay to come to MY website and try to belittle and threaten me and my charity. That wouldn't hurt me!!! That would hurt MY RESCUE DOGS. No dog lover I know would ever do such a thing.

    (You can say you didn't. But you did. At least, you tried.)

    Thanks again :)

    PS- you so quickly blame your friend for all of your page views. That was really kind of you.

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  77. Still here! Why are you so quick to twist my words? I said nothing about a riend, but I did say the clicks and page views of all your entries couldn't be attributed to me.

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  78. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  79. Your website is broken or you don't know how ip addresses work or something. I can't explain it. I will own up to may e 45 page views... But 40 of them were THIS page and of the 45, 30 of them were in the last couple hours. Like I said, I don't know who or what accounts for the activity beyond that, but it certainly wasn't me.

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  80. Honestly, I don't care!!! I actually think it's awesome that you care so much about my blog to keep coming back time after time after time-- EVEN NOW!!!

    But the fact that you do continue to come back here... only to say that you haven't visited my site a ridiculous number of times today... well, I think that disproves your silly point. You're being completely ridiculous.

    By the way, you're welcome for that tax-dollar paycheck. You know... the one that paid you to play on facebook, find my blog, and visit it all day long. You should be proud too.

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  81. You have some bizarre points of view. How do you know what my job actually is? Maybe I research animal issues for a profession. Much like I imagine yours is, my schedule isn't a strict 9 to 5, I work when there is work to be done. In fact, I have to take my work home with me often. Since you are insisting on being an Internet creeper and stalking me, you can be be rest assured that for the amount I'm paid, if divided by the hours I work, my employer is getting a bargain... Even if you adjust it for time on Facebook and time posting to strangers' blogs.

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  82. Stalking you??? You are coming to MY BLOG repeatedly! Over & over & over again! YOU are the stalker! You are the Internet creeper!!!

    I just check MY stats for MY blog, and YOU ARE THERE! Super-creepy!!!

    You aren't an animal researcher. If you were, you would've used that info to prove your pointless points. You're a government employee, with nothing better to do than visit my blog.

    Please, just go. You are a ridiculous excuse for a human being.

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  83. Here is a great look at pure bred dogs by the BBC.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhXHFOrBbEc5

    I suppose you really have to examine the reasons you even want a dog. There are breed specific rescues if you want a particular type of dog. And with the internet you can find what you are looking for from a rescue group.

    Why would you buy a dog? I invite anyone to go to a shelter or pound. Yes, it is depressing and what you see is not necessarily what that dog will become once it is washed, fed properly, nursed back to health, exercised and loved, probably for the first time. They bloom. This is a very rewarding experience.

    Educating the public and changing society's mind is the key to no more homeless pets.

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  84. No, you're super creepy.

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  85. I'll be deleting every pointless comment from you from now on. So please. Go for it.

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  86. Oh I so don't want to get into this here but I feel I need to clarify that I would not LET my child die. My preference would be to have my child AND my dog survive the hypothetical fire, and I would do everything in my power to acheive that outcome. I do think, however, that being forced to CHOOSE one over the other would be too difficult a task for ME to do. My child and my pet are both my family (incidentally, both were adopted because I believe it is a selfish thing to create more living beings when so many alive are un-cared-for so I chose to foster & adopt a child already living rather than create a new one. I'm not particularly smitten with my DNA so I've never been driven to create a "mini-me," but I love my child wholly and would lay down my life for her. And I'd do the same for my dog because I know he'd do it for me.) so like I said THERE IS NO CHOICE. But let me add, that children are not perfect angels in a vacuum. Timothy McVeigh was a child. Saddam Hussein was a child. So was Pol Pot and Hitler and Stalin and (I could go on and on)... How soon we forget that "blessed" children often become wretched adults. Luckily though, dogs (and other animals) lack the depth of character humans possess. They offer love unconditionally which I believe should be repaid en kind whenever and where ever possible. I love my kid and my pet, period. If I lack credibility because of those feelings, so be it. But I would NEVER let my child die if I could prevent it.

    (I wonder if the argument was about choosing between two children [which I don't have so I couldn't know], instead of a child and a dog, others would understand how being forced to choose between them would be nearly impossible?)

    In closing, I hope you will please forgive me Ashley, for being emotionally charged and thereby stoking the fires of discontent in these comments. I mean not to offend anyone or demean your awesome article with my opinions. I'll respectfully back away from the computer now and go walk my dog with my daughter. =]

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  87. @Piper,
    Please don't apologize! Your opinions are more than welcome here, and you didn't upset me in any way!

    Like I said, my frustration was with those who came here just to argue. Opposing opinions are fine.. but there are always those people who only want to attack the "crazy" rescuers, belittle us, and say that my blog "wasted their time."

    Yet, THEY waste time coming back over & over again,, to a post they clearly disagree with. It just doesn't make any sense.

    Conversely, much like me, you are passionate, because YOU CARE. That's the huge difference here.

    Unlike the others who threw hateful, derogatory, and unnecessary words at you, you were here because you care about these animals. And your compassion is obvious and appreciated.

    If others were here arguing because they wanted to help resolve this issue --or even because they cared a little bit-- then their comments would've been much more well-received.

    Obviously, the only thing they care about is being "right." There was no desire for goodwill behind their words... only the desire to "win" a debate.

    The sad part is... they didn't win at all. No one "won." Instead, the animals continue to lose. That's why I'm sad.

    These people don't care at all. They waste their energy on proving points that will only continue the killing. Nothing good can come of that, but they aren't concerned with good. It's very sad.

    Again Piper, thank you for caring so very much. Your comments are ALWAYS welcome here.

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  88. sure, there are responsible, caring breeders, but the bottom line is that they are creating more dogs when there are already millions waiting for homes who will now be overlooked. You need a purebred? check with the rescues. I love my mutts and volunteer for the local lab rescue.

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  89. Lord, what happened here? Ashley works her butt off and for what? For rude comments? I have friends who have adopted dogs from what seem like decent breeders, but those are few & far between. Most people I know that used a 'breeder'...well let's just say they were not as happy. Health issues with the dog that were not answered by the breeder, little hidden issues they found out later. Anyway, I was coming on to post that I admit I made an error in judgement with our first dog (I was sucked into the old buying a dog from a farm when visiting my friend in rural Michigan - I adore the dog but realize now how wrong and ignorant that was!) and only in our 2nd dog adoption did I do a lot of research and end up with a shelter dog. I fee foolish that I didn't understand what I'd done the first time around (though I have no regret about this particular dog, we love her, love them both!) but I learned. I admit to my ignorance. What's wrong with the haters here? Can you never be wrong? Do you need to attack Ashley? Do you work half as hard as she does? Find another board to bully, ok?

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  90. ......Why waste your freaking time coming here just to bash on Ashley and all the others who agree? I,for one,agree with Ashley 100% with everything she said.I just can't believe that all of you haters have to bash on someone that is ACTUALLY doing something to help stop all this and you aren't.And it would say my name but i don't know how to do that so i'm just putting it here.

    Bailey

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  91. Aw Ashley, you have a heart of gold and steel. You are an inspiration to me and surely countless others who witness your tireless dedication to the animals and their well being. You are loved by many for being a beacon of hope in this discouraging world and all of the haters simply strengthen our resolve to protect and defend you. We know that without you, thousands of dogs would be statistics instead of well-loved companions. Thank you for maintaining your vigilance even in the face of irrational opposition. You are a special person that makes this world a better place. I, for one, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Peace ~

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  92. Wow, I can't believe I finally got to the end of this blog. It has been interesting to be sure. I was going to jump in a few times but kept reading, intrigued by the vanity of a few of the responders. I just let it roll and Ashley, between you and Piper, you had it all taken care of. I like your posts the best-I know that sounds juvenile, but sometimes I'm simply that simple. I can throw big words around, I especially like diatribe-is that a long "I" on the first syllable? Sorry I jest, but the end result of this thread just made me smile because for now it seems the good "girls" won! Not that this is any kind of game at all. Nothing with lives on the line is something to be trivial about. And Piper, I totally got your comparison the first time. I would want all of my family to be safe and choosing would kill me. Hopefully you will never have to go under the "Sword of Solomon" I think we have enough of every animals we need for the time being, same for children-opt to adopt. When the Universe sees an opening, it will be filled accordingly. Enough said, time for bed.~Macha.

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  93. Anonymous!!! U is ridicoulos, Gezzzz. Grow up pleaseeeeeee.

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  94. I'll chime in with my issues with adopting a rescue dog.

    I found several rescue dogs I would love to adopt. I've contacted the agency to inquire about them. The process for adopting a rescue dog is appalling. I have to fill out an application and hope it's approved, have an in person interview and hope I'm deemed worthy, make an appointment to have a supervised visitation with the dog and hope the agency deems us compatible, then allow a stranger in my house for a home inspection.

    Seriously... There was less hassle getting my permit for concealed carry. There's only so many hoops I'm willing to jump through to adopt a dog. All I want is a friendly companion for my wife, my son and myself.

    I don't care about papers and have no intention of breeding or showing. But I can go into a pet shop or a breeder, browse the available dogs, and go home that same day with the pet of my choice. Perhaps if the rescue agencies would lighten up a bit on these insane requirements, more people would adopt rescue animals.

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  95. I just wrote a piece on the plight of overlooked mixed-breed dogs, and I referenced this blog in it. I thought this piece was passionate and on-point. Because you can find ANY breed of dog at many shelters and rescues, including purebreds, the arguments regarding buying a dog fall on deaf ears with me. I don't even understand choosing a purebred over a mix if the dog is the right fit personality-wise, but I accept that it's all a personal preference thing that requires an "agree to disagree" attitude on my part. However, if a person knows there are good dogs dying in shelters, and rescues that have the purebred dog they are craving so badly, and still choose to buy from a store or puppy mill, they are absolutely contributing to the problem. End of story.

    For example...the gaggle of pit bulls bred by backyard breeders in my city, only to end up on Craigslist being offered for a large "rehoming fee" (aka, "I am dumping my dog, and to add insult to injury I want to make money from his misery"). 99% of the time they are unaltered and I guarantee most of those people don't REALLY care who gives them the couple a hundred bucks for the dog. People who buy from backyard breeders seem to tend towards being more inclined to see their dog as a "possession" to be sold off when they are done with them. Not all people are like that, of course, but it seems more common in those circumstances.

    The end result of all of this - backyard breeding and buying from them just to get a dog that looks a certain way - is death to good mixed-breed AND purebred dogs in shelters everywhere. That's a fact.

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  96. One of the best articles I have ever read on this topic.
    I try to educate people that I come in contact with; yet I don't know how many of them have gone on to buy a full breed dog from a breeder.
    Besides the prestige, people want what they want.
    They don't realize that after they've decided that they want a particular breed, that there are other options: 25% of shelter pets are full breed dogs; breed specific rescue groups exist and need home for their dogs.

    I have three rescues; all of my five dogs that I have ever had, have been rescues. I will never do anything but rescue.
    Think about making that your goal too.

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  97. Growing up I always wanted a pure bread lab, or golden retrieve. Such beautiful dog! But when I first moved out on my own, during college, I was living with my cat, and a man walked into my apartment and I decided to go get a dog. Never having had a dog in my life, and being a broke college student I went to a local rescue and asked for a dog. I looked around, and feel in love with the most beautiful Rottweiler/lab mix. I took her home, and for the next 8 years she taught me what love really was. She was amazing. She was so smart, so loving, so scared of everything...
    We never had dog's growing up, and I never knew why, because my parents were animal lovers. No stray ever went unfed around them. The day, my beautiful baby girl died my mother finally told me why. She lost her precious dog as a teen, and it broke her heart. She vowed never to feel that pain again. But Sam came along and reminded her how much she loved dogs. She has two now, both rescues, both spoiled beyond belief. I have my little boy, another rescue. Sam never knew she wasn't expensive, she never knew that she wasn't pure breed, She did know that she loved me, and that pretty much every person who ever saw her feel in love with her. What she left behind is more than most dogs could ever ask for. She left a legacy. Three dog's who never would have had homes without her are safe, in homes with families that love them. I miss her everyday, seeing a picture of her still makes me cry, but I also thank her everyday for Andy, Roland, and Jake. It doesn't take a Pure Breed to be special, It just takes love.

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