The market in puppies is a dismal one for the dogs
It’s been an interesting week since Discover Dogs and I’ve had to do a lot of thinking and grappling with strong emotions raised by seeing the current dismal situation for dogs.
After last weekend and the good, positive feelings I came away from Discover Dogs with, by Tuesday I’d come back down to earth and the tough reality of the harsh world of dog rescue. I regularly follow and watch online the work of a whole lot of rescue centres, from small independents, to the big, well known, well funded organisations. Over time, and through a lot of background research, I’ve formed my own opinions of those who do great work, others are a little mediocre but talk the good talk, others say little but do loads; there are those that may have started well but that I think now have lost their way and finally, a few that are definitely not a place I would go near and probably never were. So, on any day, my time spent online can lift my spirits and dash them the next, but it is my choice to look into this world of rescue. Unlike the dogs who find themselves there, no choice, no options, dependent on the humans who control their lives, for good or bad.
I was sent a link to a small, excellent rescue that had a couple of three year old sisters looking for a new home. One is partially sighted and they must be rehomed together as she relies on her sister. Now, I don’t know what the circumstances are behind the dogs finding themselves in rescue – in this case they are in a foster home, at least that will be less stressful for them than suddenly finding themselves in a kennel – but it made me think about all the breeding dogs that I know with health issues, including blindness, which would have passed to their puppies and what a precarious future dogs like this face. Not everyone would be willing to provide the right care and home for a dog that goes blind, many dogs would find themselves given up on. The principle that a dog is a family member for the full extent of their lifetime, come what may is just not a principle that too many who buy puppies adhere to in our society nowadays. If it was harder to buy puppies, if they were not available as impulse buys in petshops, or online, would it make people think long and hard about what the lifetime of a dog may bring. I think it would.
Then, on the same rescue site, I saw a cute puppy, I was drawn to the picture as he is a schnauzer-poodle cross – 12 weeks old when he was given to rescue. Discarded a few weeks after being bought because he barks. Because he behaves like a dog. Like a puppy. Not like a toy, or even a trained adult dog. This was the case that really made me angry. But he is just one puppy among the thousands of dogs who find themselves given up on. What on earth do people think a puppy is going to do? He must have been an impulse buy. And he, through absolutely no fault, just because he is a puppy, was looking for a new home (he’s found it now) before he was four months old. I won’t write here what the real words were that went through my head earlier in the week, I will leave you to imagine them.
This is the modern world of dog ownership, dog buying and discarding. It must be better for the dogs. We cannot allow a world to be the norm where dogs are subject to such fickle human behaviour. It has to be much harder to breed, sell and buy puppies. We all have a role to play, through demanding better laws, enforcement of those we have, accountability of the authorities who have the responsibility, through educating those who want a dog in their life….there is so much we all can and must be doing. Dogs are currently victims of a shallow, selfish society that is not one I fit into. I want it to be so much better for the dogs and will continue to try to make it so. And not go mad with frustration along the way.