A friend recommended a cute article in the New York Times today called the “Puppy Diaries.” It is to be an ongoing series chronicling the travails of raising a new puppy.

The story was well written, humorous, and featured a Westie. What more could I want?

Plenty.

I could want to see people stop supporting breeders when they are fully aware of the option to adopt. The author made it sound that because they were moving from their perhaps 20-lb. Westie up (in weight/not necessarily worth, mind you) to a golden retriever, they “had to” go the route of a breeder.

Ever consider rescuing a golden?

There’s Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota

There’s GRREAT—Golden Retriever Rescue, Education and Training

There’s NORCAL Golden Retriever Rescue

There’s Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue

There’s The Golden Retriever Rescue of North Texas

There’s Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary

etc., etc., etc.

If you’re not in the market for a golden but you still have brand loyalty to a particular breed, there’s The American Kennel Club’s Breed Rescue.

My point is, two minutes of Internet research provided numerous valid options for pet ownership other than supporting breeders/puppy mills. It was quite disappointing to see this short-sightedness being touted in a publication like the New York Times. I shudder to think how many people will ooh and ahh at the cute puppy pictures and then go out and follow in the author’s breeder-supporting footsteps.

While there is overpopulation among domestic animals, it is our moral responsibility, as their human caregivers, to give homes to those creatures who are already here, not custom make our own new dog/cat/hamster, what have you. Each time someone does this, another animal is euthanized in a shelter or pound.

Do previously owned animals have more issues than fresh-baked ones? It depends. They can, especially if they were abused or neglected, but that just takes love and determination to overcome in most instances. And I can absolutely tell you from having owned a Westie from a breeder (20+ years ago before I’d ever heard of rescue organizations), behaviorally and health-wise, she was on equal footing with all of my subsequent four Westie rescues, two cat rescues, and even finch rescues. The breed itself is known to have a propensity toward multiple ailments, and continued breeding isn’t improving the situation an iota.

I know there will always be breeders out there, both scrupulous and heinous in their animal-care practices, so I also know I’ll always be able to find another furry family member who needs rescuing.

I wish the article’s author many years of joy and happiness with her new puppy, of course, because thanks to the breeder, it is another dog in need of a good home. But I wonder about the millions of dogs who look pleadingly through the bars of a cage in a shelter or, if they’re really lucky, have a temporary home with a foster family.

Remember, there is BIGGER picture to consider, too. The Earth has limited resources for us all, animals included. Rescue, care for and love those who are here now. Please don’t create more resource consumers just because you have a selfish need to “buy new.”

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