Rescue or Breeder – Where Should I Get My Next Pet?

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Answering The Call

Let’s talk about the age-old question of whether to buy from a breeder or adopt from a shelter? Following is my humble but heartfelt two cents’ worth. Heads-up, my perspective comes from being up close and personal on the front lines of pet rescue for many decades, so you surely can guess on which side of the debate I firmly stand. But stay with me — I also add a twist.

NOTE: my post does not condemn, but intends only to enlighten and encourage. Please accept my words in the spirit of care and concern for animal welfare that they are given? And please indulge me this moment to advocate for rescue on behalf of those helpless animals that cannot speak for themselves?

The Epidemic Is Way Too Big — How Can I Possibly Make Any Difference?

Think of the backyard BBQ where there are lots and lots of yummie hotdogs on the grill, all cooked and ready to eat. And they’re darned good hotdogs. But a customer walks up and says “I don’t want any of those hotdogs. I want you to cook me a brand new one,” leaving the perfectly good ones on the grill to spoil needlessly. We need to become aware of the ones still on the grill. Simplistic analogy, but you get my point.

As long as shelters continue to be overflowing nationwide — and sadly they are — and homeless animals are being killed simply because there’s no room for them in those shelters, and as long as more and more animals are being discarded by owners out onto the streets and left desperate for us to save them from tragic deaths, I say with the deepest conviction that we should always adopt from shelters and rescue organizations, or invite that little stray into your home — you know, the one that’s been hanging around gazing into your window, hoping desperately for a bite of food or a moment’s kindness?

Who Rescued Whom?

You know, I have found that oftentimes these little souls choose us and not the other way around. It’s happened to me many many times over the years. I encourage you to be sensitive to that notion next time a stray happens across your path — could be you’ve been chosen. It may just be a little angel that God sent to brighten up your life.  🙂

As long as there are vulnerable, desperate lives crying out for our help, it seems unconscionable to me that anyone would special-order a puppy or kitten from a breeder, as if a purebred pet that isn’t even born yet is of more value than a homeless pet, its life literally on the line, usually through no fault of its own. This is my heartfelt belief. But wait — there’s a compromise.

Let’s Do Both!

The twist to my perspective is this: If your preference and desire is genuinely to purchase a purebred cat or dog, by all means, go ahead. It’s not my place to condemn, and I don’t. I’m just asking you to ALSO still adopt a homeless pet. It need not be a choice of “either-or” but how about “hey, let’s get one of each!” Create a happy pet family while being a part of the answer for homeless animals! it’s a win-win and you’re a hero!  yay!

Can you wrap your head around the numbers?  Literally millions of homeless animals are put to death every year because no one chose to save them. Millions … Millions. Let that sink in. Here’s another fact: we could prevent every single one of those needless, heartbreaking deaths if every household would rescue just one homeless pet … just one.  And when you’re hearing such huge numbers thrown around, I get that it’s easy to forget to look at each singular face. Remember, every life matters. Every single one.

What Does Your Conscience Tell You?

Adopting a rescue pet requires a person to become aware and then engage the heart. Folks cannot act appropriately out of a caring conscience when they don’t even know of the epidemic facing abandoned pets every day. I’m in no way saying that folks are hateful and selfish if they don’t rescue. What I am saying is that many folks simply are not aware of the desperate need. That’s what this post is for — to help share.

Awareness Is Key.

I believe in the fundamental goodness of humankind, and I believe that, as more people do become aware, more people will help. I personally want to help educate and enlighten. This BareFootPets blog project is only one of my personal contributions toward the cause.

Certainly in answering the question of “buy versus rescue,” your conscience needs to play a part. It must play a part — to get to the more compassionate answer. You must pro-actively decide to be a part of the solution for rescue and animal welfare.

And you should know, helping is not a burden — helping means saving a little life, giving it a home, loving and caring and protecting it, and receiving abundant love and gratitude in return. This is not a burden — this is a blessing.

From Your Insides Out.

Let me promise you that, once you open your heart and home to a helpless abandoned pet, to watch that little soul come to life again, to see hope and joy, and trust begin to show in his eyes again, and to feel his unspoken yet profound gratitude for the gift you gave him, you will be changed from the inside out … forever. The healing starts with one little life at a time. Be a part of the answer, be the kindness that reaches out to a life that may not survive if you turn away. Am I tugging at your heart strings yet? I’m not trying to be dramatic, but I am trying to emphasize the importance of each life. All life is sacred, and we as humans are obligated to protect and do no harm.

I borrowed this featured image for this post from a fellow rescue organization (Alleys Rescued Angels) who posted the image on Instagram, and I want to give full credit to them for stating it so beautifully — There is no greater legacy to leave than a beating heart that would not have had a chance, had it not been for you.

I Choose To Stand Against The Dark Side Of Humanity.

I have seen things over the years in pet rescue that have nearly stolen my faith in humanity. I have seen every day how vile and ugly human beings can be toward animals. And I’ve suffered greatly for what I’ve seen. But, rather than indulge depression and defeat and a shredded heart, I choose to use that heartbreak to become the difference, to become part of the answer. I choose to let the answer begin with me. If one homeless pet lives because someone read this post and saved him, that’s a big start. That’s a success. That’s an answer to prayer. And it will grow from there. I have faith, and I believe.

Why BareFootPets(TM)?  

The main reason I started the BareFootPets blog project is to share as much first-hand knowledge as possible that I’ve learned in my lifetime of pet rescue — to support and empower pet owners in caring for your pets so that they are less likely to be abandoned or surrendered to shelters or let out onto the streets because of health or behavioral issues. I’ve seen even many purebreds discarded when they became too much to care for, or didn’t behave just as the owner had hoped.

So education is also key, and I point you again to this whole website, where I have designed all of the tips and posts and videos and products to help you preserve and protect your relationship with your pet. I believe if we can better care for our pets, we’ll be more likely to keep them with us in our homes for their whole lives; and then this, along with rescue, together will help to reduce the numbers of homeless pets desperate for that last chance. Sometimes my efforts seem so small and insignificant, but then I look in the face of one of my rescue pets, and I realize that it means the world to that little pet, and that’s where it all needs to begin, with each single little life. It feels amazing to be part of the answer, to be the hero.

Try it.  Be a hero. Choose life for a desperate animal that can’t choose for itself. Thanks for letting me soapbox.

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God Bless and Happy Pet Parenting!

With love and good wishes,
jeannie.   ?

About jeannie:  I’ve been pro-actively involved in pet rescue all of my life. I founded Milagro Senior Pet Refuge© (Phoenix) in 1998, and BareFootPets (TM) in 2008.  Animal welfare has always been and will always be my heart’s work. If my only legacy is that I save a handful of precious souls that would not survive otherwise, I’m good with that.