I put up a post on our Facebook page ( www.facebook.com/dorsetdogfriendlyholidays ) the other day and was quite shocked to see the amount of response it received and the depths of feeling on the issue raised.
Some people were positively scary in the level of rage that they felt that anyone could have a different view from their own, so since this is such an emotive subject, I thought I’d write a blog on it and would really welcome your feedback (but please try not to be constructive and not quite as abusive as some of the responses we got on the Facebook page that nearly made me cry…)
So the post was all about where people had acquired their dogs, and whether they were from rescue centres or breeders.
The end result of the survey was – in my view – an understanding that there is in fact no right and wrong, it’s simply a matter of what works best for each individual and their family at the particular moment in time that they decide the time is right to get a dog.
Now those of you who are already gearing up to shoot me down and tell me that the ONLY right thing to do is to get a rescue dog, just hold on for a moment, because whilst I know that my next dog will be from a rescue centre due to the circumstances of my own life, I also feel that – like many of the people who commented on my post - getting my dogs from breeders was the right thing to do at that time of my life.
Many people commented that they chose to go to a breeder because they had done their research and wanted a specific breed of dog that they felt would match their family’s home and lifestyle. Now as we all know, dogs come in all different shapes and sizes, and like people, they have their likes and dislikes. Some people like to walk a lot, some don’t. Some dogs like to walk a lot, some don’t. Some people like to have regular visits from family and friends, including visiting small children, and like it or not there are some breeds that simply aren’t ideal for that kind of scenario.
Reputable rescue centres carry out extensive research and testing to try to ensure that dogs go to suitable homes – for the sake of their adopters just as much as for the dogs themselves as the last thing that anybody wants is for the dogs to wind up back where they came from but a little bit sadder and a little bit less trusting each time.
They will assess a dog’s suitability to be with children or other pets and the needs of any particular dog based on size, age, temperament etc.
However, rescue centres came under attack on my post for setting their requirements for dog-ownership too high and making it too hard for kind-hearted people who are trying to do something good to actually achieve that. According to people’s comments on their attempts to rescue dogs from shelters, you can’t go out for more than 4 hours at a time (even if you have a dog-walker); you can’t have certain breeds if you have small children/ if you don’t have a garden/ if your child has Asperger’s as a moment of frustration might frighten the dog/ if you live in a flat etc.
Well, a responsible breeder may be equally exacting about their own expectations of the kind of home environment that will be suitable for one of their puppies so I’m not sure it’s fair to pile all the blame on to the rescue shelters who, I feel sure, would come under attack even more if the public perception was that they just dish out dogs to anyone who comes asking for one.
My dog and I are both very lucky in that I get to work from home and hang out with him all day, but nonetheless, my personal view is that if you could have a chat with a dog sitting on the concrete floor in his rescue centre cage and ask whether he would prefer to stay where he was or go to a home where he would be walked and fed in the morning, before settling down for a snooze on his own cosy bed while the owners go out for a few hours – to earn the money to cover his food bills, dog-walker bills, toy bills, home comforts bills, vet bills etc, before returning to cuddle him, play with him, feed him again, perhaps take him for another walk and then all settle down together to an evening in front of the TV, I’m inclined to think he’d opt to be taken home there and then.
Hi! I'm Sam :-)