I heard it again the other day. "I got him from a Breeder". I've heard this twice this past month, one Golden Retriever Pup and one Pit Bull pup. My heart sank. I didn't follow up on the conversation. The two puppies I met looked healthy and were obviously loved and cared for, but my thoughts are not always good when I hear that sentence.
Now, now, hang on, I will always say there are good, accountable, reputable breeders, the folks who genuinely care and go the extra mile for the dogs they bring into this world. And there are folks who will only get their beloved pets from these breeders. I get that, and I say hey, as long as it's all good in person, not just on paper, I won't be the one to complain. Puppy Mills, are a complete other story, my strong belief behind them, they need to be shut down completely, or severely regulated by top Authorities. Puppy Mills have time and time again proven to be despicable, rotten places where the parent dogs suffer horribly, and greed is the only motivation for such a place. Folks who don't do their research and who are moved by a photo on-line or a newspaper, without questioning are unknowingly, perhaps unthinkingly, keeping these places in business.
Most of the dog owners I meet love their pets unconditionally, and when the discussion comes up about Puppy Mills, the conversation can become grave and unapologetic. The passion of hate behind the mere thought of Puppy Mill can not be mistaken. No one I talk too, can think about these places without anger rising up in their eyes. I am one of them, It breaks my heart over and over every time I see a story about it. Makes a person want to pound their head into a brick wall, screaming, "why why why!?!" Because the unfortunate thing is, the general public across the nation, especially in places where Animal Education isn't a priority, or perhaps not even thought about, they don't want to see the horror, they want to see a cute puppy face and hit the order button. It's the process of being duped into believing something that is not what it really is. I could go on for pages but my rage might scare you off.
Well, Let me tell you why my heart sank after hearing the sentence "I got him from a breeder". It wasn't because I didn't think these two people didn't deserve the dogs they were holding. I could tell these two pups were happy and being treated fine. What got me sad, is thinking about all the dogs sitting in shelters, from age puppy to elder adult, who deserve the love these folks had to give. They spent breeder fees on a dog because, maybe it was extremely important to have a pure-bred, maybe they saw the advertisement and couldn't say no, maybe they've always had that breed and really didn't want to get used to something unfamiliar. I'll never know, I'm not sure I want to know. Whaoh, again, I am not against reputable breeders. I am, all for Shelter dogs, they need the chance we have to give.
As I take photos of loved pets, and thier owners say "she came from the shelter", or "he was rescued from a bad situation", I love hearing this, and I think that owner is so awesome for taking time to save a life that may have been over, either physically or worse, emotionally. That owner will always know that they saved a life from a sometimes dead-end, and the love they receive is three-fold. Then my heart takes a flying leap.