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!”
- “I got him from somebody selling puppies online, and when I got there the conditions were so bad I had to buy him!”
- “I called a breeder about puppies in the Want Ads, and she said that she had a puppy she was going to put down because he was sick!”
- “When I got there, I knew I shouldn’t buy him, but I bonded instantly with him and I had to take him!”
and they always, ALWAYS end with, “So I consider him a rescue.”
Well, I consider my hand to be a pumpkin pie, but so far reality has not responded to my wishes. That was NOT a rescue. That was a PURCHASE.
And it is a purchase that rewarded, usually amply, the person selling the puppy.
My next favorite part is when person B says someihing like the following:
- “Well, it doesn’t matter where dogs come from, as long as they find love!”
- “I am sure you couldn’t have left him behind!”
- “I am so glad that you gave him this wonderful happy ending!”
- “I can’t believe nobody bought him before you! Good for you for buying him!”
Do you REALLY think it doesn’t matter where dogs come from, as long as they get carried off into the sunrise, surrounded by butterflies and the sound of an autoharp? Seriously?
Do you think it does that person a BIT of good to have their PURCHASE given your stamp of approval?
Because here’s who DOESN’T go off into the sunrise:
- All the other dogs in that pet store, which can continue in business another day because YOU just paid their rent and salaries and covered the pittance they paid for that puppy.
- The next corgi puppy or Lab puppy or Shepherd puppy who gets ordered from Hunte Corp. because YOU showed them there’s a market for this breed, so we’d better get two next time.
- The other dogs in that breeder’s home, who will now be bred again because wow, she just covered six months of electric bill in a single day thanks to YOUR check, so she WILL breed those dogs again.
- The mother dog in the puppy mill somewhere in the Midwest, who will be bred again because Hunt corp got a ton of orders for corgis or Labs or Shepherds or Poodles this month.
- The other dogs in your puppy’s litter, who were sold to who knows what people with zero screening or any qualifications other than a credit card.
There is a sacred rule upon which our entire society is built: The end does not justify the means.
It is a GOOD thing that the puppy is going to have a good life. That does not justify the tens or hundreds or thousands of BAD things that had to occur to get him to that point. Your dog is a rescue if he came from a rescue.
A rescue is an organization desperately trying to put itself out of business.
Your dog is NOT a rescue if he came from a pet store.
A pet store is a place trying to STAY in business.
Your dog is NOT a rescue if he came from a breeder.
And that includes a good one; my puppies are not “adopted” or “rescued” or anything of the kind. I SELL puppies. The difference is that a good breeder doesn’t view anything she does as a business, and if she did she’d be the worst businessperson on the planet. She sells puppies based on the accomplishments of their parents and she loses money. A bad breeder is trying to make breeding their business, selling puppies based on the value of cuteness and maximizing profits however is possible. But even when you buy from the best breeder on earth, YOU ARE NOT RESCUING
And STOP mouthing those hideous platitudes about how it doesn’t matter where a dog comes from as long as it’s loved. You do no one any favors when you justify giving hundreds or thousands of dollars to a machine that grinds up dogs and spits them out dead. When you buy from a pet store or puppy mill or bad breeder, you create pain ten times the size of the good you’ve done. When you encourage that purchase, you’re scratching the chin of a business that can only be called evil.
If you did something wrong, if you made a mistake, even if you knew it was wrong and said heck with it, I’m doing it anyway, OWN IT. Say “I did some*thing really stupid, something I hope you don’t ever do, something I hope nobody ever does.”
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. They may attribute the wiggle in their gut as a desire for Cinnabon that’s greater than their desire to see a Beagle puppy, but the result is the same. A puppy does not get purchased.
And if enough 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.
And if enough pet stores go out of business, Hunte Corp will go out of business. And when that happens, thousands of puppy mills will simply shutter their doors. There will be a massive increase in dog auctions for six months and then they’ll blessedly go away. And THAT is the true end we want.
Don’t settle for anything else.