The Puppy Shopping Problem

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Brianna Wilson
  Staff Writer

Everyone loves going to the local pet store to play with all of the purebred puppies. There are so many options to choose from, so many breeds. There are so many wagging tails and wet noses. It’s almost impossible not to share the excitement of all the people and puppies around you.

You pick out which breed you would like to play with and then test it out for about fifteen minutes. If you decide you want to purchase the puppy, you must pay a ridiculous amount of money to these pet stores to buy a purebred puppy.

After your purebred dog dies from old age, you will return to a pet store and buy another purebred puppy. This cycle continues for as long as you have the money and desire to have a purebred dog.

The desire for purebred pets has created issues beyond ridiculously high prices. Sadly, these expensive animals usually have health problems based on their specific breeding. Purebred bulldogs can no longer give birth naturally because they are so inbred their heads are too big to fit down the birth canal. They must give birth by cesarean section.

Pugs frequently have serious breathing problems, especially later in life, that make it difficult for them to function in hot weather. German Shepherds often end up with hip dysplasia and have trouble walking as they get older.

Cavalier King Charles spaniels often have a condition where their brain is too big for their skull which causes severe pain in the neck and shoulders and damage to the spinal cord. Almost every purebred dog has some health problem that is common among their breed, but people continue to support the inbreeding and cruel conditions that often produce these purebred animals.

People would prefer to spend thousands of dollars to support the puppy mill industry that thrives on the neglect of animals rather than adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue one that is in need of a home.

Nobody talks about wanting a mutt or going to the animal shelter. Nobody wants to take home the stray walking next to the highway or the dog eating food out of the trash behind their local fast food restaurant.

It is so easy to get caught up in the aesthetic of a purebred dog. Everyone gets so excited about how they have a Labradoodle or a Cockapoo. It is easy to ignore the overall health of the animal because of how cute its rolls are or because it has super long ears, but those curly tails and droopy faces do not make the animal more loving or loyal. If this is true, then why not get a dog that needs some extra love.

A few weeks ago I lost my dog. Her name was Gabby. She had a long body, short stubby legs, and extremely long hair. She would have most closely resemble a dust mop if you weren’t paying close attention, but she was the most loyal, kind-hearted dog I ever had.

She loved me more than I ever deserved, as most dogs do. When I found her she was living with thirteen other dogs, drinking dirty water full of leaves from a kiddy pool, and eating food that had been dumped on the ground. She was covered in mats up to a foot long, but I could already tell how kind and sweet she was.

If I hadn’t shown up, who knows what would’ve become of her. This is the reality for so many dogs. Dogs at the shelter wait for someone to come along and give them a family and a home, but for so many that day never comes.

According to the ASPCA, approximately 1.5 million shelter dogs are euthanized every year. Many people would argue that if that many dogs are being put down then they can’t make a difference, but I made a difference for Gabby. If you can change the life of one dog, then shouldn’t that be more than enough?

Going to the pet store is choosing a breed. Going to the shelter is choosing a companion.

When you go to the shelter you can pick a dog based on their personality and the dog’s compatibility with you. It’s about finding a friend. Going to the pet store is choosing a dog based on the breed of the dog or its size. When you go to the shelter, the dogs have a name and a description of their personality. When you go to the pet store, there is a tag that says their breed and gives some facts about that breed.

When given the choice, would you rather choose a friend that needs you or a breed that will eventually be taken home by someone else? For shelter dogs, finding a home is a matter of life or death. It’s the difference between a life of love or a life cut short. I know where I stand because I know the love and loyalty that can come from a rescue dog. I hope, eventually, others will too.

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