Personal Work: DOG RESCUE
This past June my partner and I began volunteering with a local dog rescue organization called Furever Home Dog Rescue (FHDR) based out of Randolph, New Jersey. FHDR transports puppies all the way from a high-kill shelter in North Carolina. And when I say “high-kill,” I mean that these dogs are given 1 week to be adopted or they are put to sleep. In order to save their lives, a chain of volunteer drivers takes them 600 miles up the east coast. A foster home is arranged for them prior to their arrival where they are cared for until a family chooses to adopt them. Immediately upon their arrival in New Jersey, I take some photos of the dogs that are added to their online profile to help them get adopted.
It has been an awesome experience. I have always been a proponent of adoption, but working with the whole rescue process has strengthened that resolve. I decided to make a post that contains a few reasons on why ADOPTING a dog is a great idea! So, here are some adorable photos of a few puppies that we’ve rescued this year along with some reasons why you should consider the same!
1. You choose to not support puppy mills.
The infamous puppy mills are infamous for a reason. Puppy mills are facilities licensed by the US Department of Agriculture (or sometimes not even licensed at all) to breed pets for sale. Think about that for a second: they are a relatively large-scale business and making a profit is their bottom line. They are not animal lovers like you or I and they care far less about the animals themselves. The animals are cramped the majority of the time with little opportunity to play or exercise. They live in crowded, unsanitary conditions. The mothers are forced to produce litter after litter after litter, and the hundreds (sometimes thousands) of puppies in these facilities get almost no human interaction. Have you seen any documentaries on the industrial farming of chickens and livestock? Yeah, think that. Are they legal? Yes. Is it humane? Not really. Are these puppies the healthiest, most well-cared for option? FAR from it!!
There’s a very good chance that those cute puppies in the pet store came from a puppy mill. Please heavily weigh your options if you’re considering buying one. If you’re not into the idea of adopting, at least check out your local breeders if you’re shopping around your local pet stores. You will get a better-cared-for puppy that way!
Over 1 million dogs are euthanized every year in the United States alone (some estimates say more than 2 million). “Euthanized” isn’t even the right word because it implies that you’re doing the creature a favor by essentially putting them out of their misery. No–the vast majority of these dogs are killed because there simply isn’t any room for them in the shelter. There’s nothing wrong with them. They’re not sick or even debilitated (and if they are, they are often put down immediately). They’re dropped off and are given a time stamp. And if they’re not adopted before the time stamp expires…they’re dead. There are animals constantly arriving and there just isn’t an infinite amount of resources to care for every single one. So they have to be killed in order to make room for the new animals, which will hopefully be adopted, or…
So how do we stop this terribleness from happening? We choose to ADOPT the shelter dogs when we decide to add a four-legged family member! (And get them spayed/neutered!) There are easily hundreds of dogs within a 50 mile radius of wherever you are. There are so, so many options.
3. It’s cheaper.
While adoption is almost never free (the shelters and rescue organizations need some help with all of the costs they incur while taking care of their animals), it is MUCH cheaper than buying an animal from a breeder (and also a pet store, but let’s eliminate the pet store from our considerations!). Adoption fees can range from as little as $150 to about $500 being the max. The average cost is probably about $200 to $300. Compared to a pure-bred animal, this cost is quite inexpensive. Pure breeds cost 10 times that amount or easily much more!
4. You get a completely unique animal….that is probably healthier.
My parents have a beagle. Literally just yesterday, I saw a dog that looked exactly like her. While I thought that was cute, it’s also…not that cute. Wouldn’t you rather have an animal that is 100% unique, that doesn’t quite look like any other dog out there? I do! Atlas and Blaze (our 2 rescue pups) are incredibly handsome boys, and there’s no other dogs like them! The vast majority of dogs in the shelter are mixed breed, and it’s actually fun to “talk dog” with other dog owners and speculate about potential bloodlines.
Also, if there is a breed that you really love–it is highly likely that you can find an animal that fits the bill in need of adoption. If they’re not available immediately, you can talk to your local shelters and rescue organizations and ask to be notified when one comes in. There are even rescue organizations that are built around saving one specific breed. They are not as common, but if you’re willing to expand your search radius, you might able to find one!
But if you’re thinking of going pure-bred, you should absolutely research the health maladies that affect whatever breed(s) you are considering. This is a simple matter of genetics as the gene pool for these dogs is so much smaller. Breeding pets with similar genetics is a sure-fire way to pass on the genetic defects they share. There are some breeds that are so incredibly prone to cancer that more than 50% of the dogs die from cancer within that breed. These “cancer genes” cannot be bred out because you don’t know the dog has them until well after the breeding age, so unfortunately, they’ve already been passed on if the dog has bred. Even genetic disorders like hip dysplasia that a perfectly responsible breeder could try his best to avoid–they’re often times not avoided because most breeders are breeding to make money. Do your research so you know what you’re getting into! It’s a fact that mixed-breed animals are much less likely to suffer from the genetic problems that are prevalent in pure-bred animals.
5. You can make your life easier.
Depending on which dog you choose, you can make your life MUCH easier. Raising an 8 week old puppy is not much different from raising an infant. You will be getting up in the middle of the night. You will be cleaning up many, many accidents. House training and other obedience training at home is definitely work that’s not to be taken lightly if you want a well-behaved companion. My partner and I got our two boys, Atlas and Blaze, when they were each about 4 months old. The foster families had actually done a good job of house-training them and there were relatively few accidents compared to starting from scratch. It was really nice! Thank you, all you foster families out there!
By adopting a dog that is out of the puppy stage you are avoiding all of this work. What’s more, you get to see the adult personality and you don’t have to wait to see how your dog is going to behave beyond the playful puppy stage.
On top of being house-trained, older adopted dogs are also often spayed or neutered already–as well as fully vaccinated–and sometimes even microchipped. This will save you literally hundreds of dollars in veterinary bills!
So, there you have it. Some of my favorite puppy photos that I took this year, and my top 5 reasons for why ADOPTING is AWESOME! Please share this post to show your support for adoption and help encourage others to SAVE A LIFE!