Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Why People Want Puppies
If I've heard it once, I've heard it a dozen times: "We want a puppy so it can grow up with our kids." What people don't realize is that a two-year-old dog can grow up with a child just as easily (and often without the need to housetrain) as any puppy.
I wish more people would look at the grown-up dogs. We have so many deserving animals--beagle mixes, cattle dogs, black mouth curs, rat terriers, and more. Our Shelter does put pit bulls and pit mixes into the adoption room, but its hard to find homes that work for these guys and gals. And the labs--oh, the gorgeous, lovable--and sometimes crazy labs. We ALWAYS have Labs. Anyone who wants their own Marley needn't go to a breeder--just go to a Shelter in the huntin'-strong south.
Puppies go out fast from the Shelter, but since most bitches haven't had any pre-natal care, and the after-care for puppies is often minimal for surrendered litters, these puppies have the cuteness but not the strong immune systems of puppies from reputable breeders.
Meanwhile, the adult dogs languish--the gorgeous Queensland Heelers, the rough-coated Jack Russells, the Walker Coon Hounds, the Blue Ticks and Beagles, the Huskies (and do we get Huskies--) often seem invivisible.
What I wish our Shelter would do: 1. Make our adoption areas more customer-friendly. 2. Identify breed types more carefully on intake forms. 3. Take better photos of animals for those who are searching for pets via the Internet.
What I wish our clients (those looking to adopt) would do: 1. Do some basic research and planning before coming in to look at pets. 2. Decide in advance who will be the primary care-giver for the animal (dog-walker, pooper-scooper, vet chauffeur, groomer, etc.). 3. If you don't have a fenced yard, realize that you will need to walk the dog for both its exercise and elimination needs. 4. Realize that a dog or cat requires some financial commitment and time. 5. Understand that puppyhood is a brief blip in the time-line of your dog. 6. Consider taking on an older dog. Just because they may give you only three or four--or six or seven--more years shouldn't be a deterrent. That's more time than many marriages last!
Illustration by Garth Williams from "My Big Golden Counting Book," by Lillian Moore. Golden Press, Racine, Wisconson, 1956, 1957. 1974 printing. Counting.