Thankyou to the wonderful H for facebooking a link to this blog, which has entertained me greatly this afternoon, written by a lady named Joanna Kimball in the US.
Joanna currently breeds Cardigan Welsh corgis and has previous experience breeding Great Danes. She has considerable experience in the show community and, best of all, is a feisty, well written, opinionated lady who is prepared to speak her mind. (I'm impressed, can you tell?)
I especially enjoyed her article "I consider him a rescue." As someone who has fallen prey to the pet shop trap, and is now horrified at my support of puppy farms, I found her suggestions mind-blowing and just a little intimidating. She sets the scene with a series of potential situations where a kind-hearted person has purchased a cute puppy with the best of intentions:
Here's how it goes:
Person A shows up with a puppy. Person B says "Oh, such a cutie! Where'd you get him?"
Person A says "Well, I got him from a pet store, but they said he was getting so old that they were going to send him back to the broker!"
And goes on to point out that a rescue is a rescue. A purchased puppy is not a rescue. Purchasing a puppy, particularly from a pet shop or a online dealer who is prepared to sell to anyone with the right amount of cash, regardless of character, contributes to a number of issues, such as those being fought by the Oscar's Law movement.
I am holding my hand up as someone who made that mistake. And actually, my mistake was even worse. I have bought puppies from pet shops in an impulse moment, without even needing the guilt trip to overcome an inherent sense of wrongness. And I will never do that again - everyone reading this has my permission to slap me if I do!
I don't know if I'd have the guts to take Joanna's line:
If somebody comes to you chirruping about a puppy, say "He's gorgeous, but you can never, never do that again and here's why." Will it offend people? Absolutely. Will they think you're mean and uncharitable and go away saying "I don't regret a single thing I did! I'd do it again!" For sure.
But the thing is, they WON'T do it again. The next time they stop in front of a pet store window, they'll hear your voice and they'll feel just a little bit ashamed, and they will NOT go back in.
But, I love her point about the fact that our society IS changing, for the better.
And if enough [puppies] are not purchased, that pet store will go out of business. Don't think it can happen? It does all the time. When I was a kid, everybody got every pet from a pet store, and there were little mom and pop pet stores in every town. Now, I can think of only four or five within two hours of me. Those are staying in business because they have the tiny designer dogs of the moment; I haven't seen a big dog in a pet store in New England in years. IT'S WORKING.
I hope it keeps on working. One day, if my friends who run rescue groups like NVSDR and Siberian Husky Rescue won't need to spend their time/energy/money on dogs that have been abandoned, I will be sooooo happy.