My Story

Why I will never “buy” a dog

09/28/2013 - 35 comments

Simon was born on Dec. 31, 2001. We’ve had him since he was 12 weeks old. He will be 12 years old this December.

This is the dog you define other dogs by.

This is the dog no other dog could ever live up to.

simon-dog

Other dogs will surely be less expensive than he has been, but it’s not his fault. He was born in a puppy mill and is the epitome of why they should be outlawed.

  • Severe hip dysplasia.
  • Seizures.
  • Allergies.
  • Tumors.

If I added up all of his excess medical bills (outside of the realm of your typical dog) we have easily spent over $13,000 on this dog. His hip surgery alone cost around $8,000.

I don’t regret him.

At all.

He has taught us so much.

Why you shouldn't BUY a dog

But the other day we were in the local garden center and they happen to sell puppies. I actually try not to shop there because it breaks my heart every time I go in there, yet I can’t help but go look at them.

Mixed breeds.

Pure bred.

Heartbreak waiting to happen.

They seem so defeated. These puppies who are already outgrowing their cages.

Puppies who came into this world for no reason other than profit.

Puppies who despite their inclination towards extreme medical problems want nothing more than to be with people.

Puppies who have the potential to become that dog that you define other dogs by.

golden retriever

There is a part of me that wants to rescue them all.

Buy them and find them all amazing homes.

The problem is that while those dogs will be saved, many more will follow behind them. Dogs who get adopted by people who don’t understand the increased chances for medical issues these dogs come with. People who can’t afford $8,000 on hip surgery. People who would rather just dump a dog than deal with any problems that may come up.

golden

No one should ever “buy” a dog. But for many people, window shopping turns into buying a puppy the same way you buy groceries. And as long as there are people willing to buy puppies on a retail level, there will be sleazy, uncaring people breeding puppies in deplorable conditions with no respect or regard for their health.

All the while our shelters fill up with unwanted animals.

Animals who want nothing more than a full belly and a pat on the head.

Animals who will repay your simple kindness with unconditional love.

They may not look like the ideal dog you had in your head, in fact, they may be the goofiest looking dog ever.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t be the runner up in contest for best dog ever.

toby

Toby had 4 days left before he was to be euthanized. A local rescue group pulled him out of the kill shelter and put him in a foster home. He is a goofy-looking mutt with wiry hair that no one wanted. He was around 9 months old when we adopted him from the rescue group. He was housebroken, knew minor commands, adores kids, doesn’t chew things up, doesn’t get into the garbage, and his worst habit is to bark and charge with excitement at the front door when the doorbell rings.

Spend 5 minutes on my couch and he will have you wanting to take him home.

I just wish I could adopt them all.

So I implore you, if you are ever considering adding a dog to your family, check out rescues, shelters and Petfinder.com and avoid any place that sells puppies on a retail level. If you have your heart set on a purebred dog, there are breed-specific rescue groups, and if you must have a puppy you can get with reputable breeders who breed dogs for show. You will pay more up-front, but it’s an investment in the health of that dog and one less customer for puppy mills.

Have you ever adopted a dog from a shelter or rescue group?

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35 Comments

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  • Reply Robin Gagnon {Mom Foodie} 10/19/2013 at 6:38 am

    Things seem very different in my area. When you mentioned seeing puppies available in a garden center, well, my jaw dropped. Canines are only available at pet shops, shelters, rescue organizations (with most of the dogs imported from other areas of the country) or directly from breeder or owner of mother.

    My dog came from a woman I know personally who bred her German Shepherd with a stud from Germany. Hannah’s mother was a family pet, and it was her only litter. The breeder got pick of the litter.

    I don’t quite know what I will do when my old girl passes. I would definitely want another purebred female German Shepherd… which means I will probably end out dealing with a breeder. I looked for a purebred GSD to adopt a few years ago to hang out with Hannah. NONE (other than one very old senior) were available in my area to be met in person, and I don’t feel comfortable having a dog I have never met shipped to me.

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 10/19/2013 at 9:57 am

      We had that problem when we lived in California. I had a fear of dogs then and we wanted a puppy. We drove HOURS to shelters and rescues and no puppies to be found anywhere.

  • Reply RadiantLux 10/16/2013 at 8:22 pm

    It’s great you love your dog and regret nothing. Getting pets from shelters is certainly popular.

    My husband and I got a dog when we got our first house. At 3 1/2 he started having seizures. The brain damage from the seizures prevented him from making new friends, including my 3 children which came later. At age 8, I changed his diet to a raw meat mixture. He thrived. My kids were sad that our dog wanted nothing to do with them. At age 13, I nursed him through pancreatitis and he lived another 1.5 years. When my 15 year old dog died and we were ready for a new dog, I tried to adopt a 1-2 year old GSD, which was my dream. I wanted an adult dog because I wouldn’t have to house train the dog, but not too old. We have 3 kids now, unlike when we got our last puppy. I responded to ads on Craigslist. The shelters and rescue groups gave me unbelievable runaround. I think their standards are so high that it takes too much time to research potential homes. I think they get overwhelmed. The process put me on the defensive. I felt very judged.
    I happened to find a GSD breeder close to home. I got to see where the mother lives and how she is treated. We are very happy with our super healthy dog.

  • Reply Alison 10/14/2013 at 1:03 pm

    My husband wanted to buy a boxer. But I won and we adopted Waffles whom we found on Petfinder.com! Love him to pieces and I think I will always adopt and not buy a dog!

  • Reply nichole trexler 10/13/2013 at 1:10 am

    Daisy. Her name is Daisy. We weren’t in the market for a dog. We had stopped at the mall to stretch our legs. But there she was, 12 weeks old, in the mall pet store. 1 month, to the day, that we lost our 1st born child. We asked if we could hold her, and she licked Jason on the nose. Tears formed in his eyes and without saying a word, I walked to the register… She was $1500.00 and she was ours. We needed her. I hate puppy mills, but I needed her! After the financing paperwork, toys, food, and the $100 crate, we loaded into the car for the final leg home. She threw up the entire 2 hours, all over Jason’s lap, and he didn’t care. We needed her. She was the reason I breathed every day, the reason I got up, every day. I can honestly say I wouldn’t have survived without her. She is 12 years old now. She’s had cherry eye surgery twice, has hip problems, and tumors, she has severe separation anxiety and pees in the house sometimes… Best money ever spent.

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 10/13/2013 at 10:54 am

      Sounds a lot like our Simon. He actually got carsick for the first year of his life but we moved across country and after throwing up for the first 2 hours or so he seemed to get his “car legs” and hasn’t gotten carsick since.

      It’s so hard to have such an awesome dog yet be angry at the way he was born. Because I can’t imagine life without him, yet I wish that the place he was born had never existed.

  • Reply Jenn TheRebelChick 10/12/2013 at 11:13 pm

    I always feel guilty when I read posts like this because I have bought all of my dogs since adulthood – but never from puppy mills. Living in Miami, the kinds of dogs I like are not in our shelters, and there aren’t any rescue groups that I was able to find. But believe me, they did NOT come from puppy mills. The AKC helped me find responsible show dog breeders and while I paid $$$ for them, it was worth it to know that I wasn’t contributing to the horrors of puppy mills – and that I was going to bring home healthy pups. Foxy was a show-dog quality puppy but I just wanted her as a pet. Her parents were both show dogs and actually certified as having no history of hip displaysia (sp?), that’s how serious her breeders were. :) Bailey and Toby both came from breeders who raised show dogs, but they were both the runts of the litters and too small to show so they weren’t quite as expensive. It’s definitely not the same as rescuing at all, but those dogs need homes too. :)

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 10/13/2013 at 10:49 am

      Jenn,

      This is how all dogs should be “bought”. Not in a pet store or at a flea market or from the newspaper. The problem is more about education in that people don’t realize what goes on and they buy on impulse from a pet store then find they can’t care for the medical issues or didn’t anticipate the care required or get bored of or are just plain irresponsible and the dog ends up in a shelter.

      If everyone were like you shelters wouldn’t even need to exist.

      I don’t think everyone is called to “rescue” a dog, and you obviously did it right adding your new family members – and treat them as such.

  • Reply Jen 10/09/2013 at 9:36 pm

    Yep. She bit my one of my kids then me. Good times.

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 10/10/2013 at 9:57 am

      Well there are some dogs who shouldn’t be adopted to families. Some that shouldn’t be adopted out at all except to a professional. Some can be cured with proper behavior training but that’s part of the problem too. Even the most vicious dog is generally that way because of a human being. It’s not in their innate nature to be mean. Some are more easily provoked, but dogs are pack animals who thrive on interaction and attention. We destroy them. Literally and figuratively.

  • Reply Lorie Shewbridge 10/06/2013 at 10:12 am

    What a terrific article. You said everything I feel.
    You know how much I love Simon and Toby, and all doggies, especially rescue dogs.
    None of my five have been bought, they are all rescued from abuse or abandonment (except Nano, who was a gift from a friend).
    I cannot wait for the day when Puppy Mills are shut down.

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 10/10/2013 at 9:54 am

      I know. I wish all commercial/retail and unlicensed sales of puppies were outlawed. It would end puppy mills in a blink of an eye. If you could only get one through rescue or legit breeders. The costs would go up because of supply and demand BUT it would be a long time before that happened because there are so many homeless dogs now and they are still breeding. And there will be some irresponsible people creating new strays.

  • Reply Cathi 10/05/2013 at 3:43 pm

    Well said Kim and quite obviously from your heart. We had numerous four legged family members over the years and all were found at local shelters. ;)

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 10/06/2013 at 9:52 am

      Thanks Cathi. There are so many homeless pets that are amazing and sweet and just want to be loved.

  • Reply silvie goldstein 10/04/2013 at 5:08 pm

    Lovely post. I feel the same way about Silvieon4, JD and Wendy, my 3 rescued Bichons. I wish a had a magic wand to dissolve all puppy mills into nothing.

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 10/06/2013 at 9:51 am

      I know, if I had it in my power to just wish puppy mills away, I would.

  • Reply Shell Feis 10/04/2013 at 4:28 pm

    My parents purchased my childhood dog at a pet store, but since then have rescued all of their animals. I have always done the same, and will definitely always do the same. There are so many dogs out there that need love & it kills me that I can’t save them all. {Also, those are two of the cutest & sweetest looking dogs I’ve ever seen!}

  • Reply TerriAnn @ Cookies & Clogs 10/04/2013 at 1:38 pm

    Our little girl came from a rescue/foster home. We love her like crazy despite her two (2) $4,000 ACL/CCL surgeries.

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 10/04/2013 at 2:28 pm

      Too bad we can’t get them social security numbers and put them on our insurance LOL

  • Reply Billie @ Rowell Reviews 10/03/2013 at 1:42 pm

    Every time I see Simon, I just think how regal he looks, majestic! Toby is definitely adorable, maybe that’s what other people consider “goofy”. I haven’t gotten an animal from a shelter, etc. but I will when the chance comes. Mostly my animals come to me as give aways or strays. Like my Harley, my brother’s roomate had a litter and he was the last guy left. Someone was supposed to pick him up and didn’t. My brother said he would have to go to the shelter and stopped at my house first. Harley never made it to the shelter, lol. :)

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 10/04/2013 at 9:19 am

      We have never had a stray come our way. In this day and age there is so much networking through our local animal control and rescues, but usually if we find a dog it ends up being a neighbors.

      You actually cut out the middle man with Harley – so cool! We had a Harley. He liked to pee on my stove….he went to live on a farm though because our house was too small and we had a new baby. We actually rescued him from these people who put an ad in the paper. It was a very strange situation. We didn’t plan on keeping him, but tried. He just needed more than we could give him so we found it for him.

  • Reply Shannon 10/03/2013 at 1:19 pm

    Simon! You know I love me some Simon. I wish I could meet him in person and hug him. :) My Mandy was adopted from a shelter. She was close to her last days because she was large, female and black. Black dogs, especially large ones are put down more than any other shelter dog. Sucks because she was awesome on a stick! She brought me so much joy! She is in heaven now (cancer) but I hope to adopt another dog one day from a shelter. Her sister, Chloe, was adopted from a friend who no longer wanted her. Love my babies.

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 10/04/2013 at 9:15 am

      I think some of the most awesome dogs are the ones who have the most struggles. I love black dogs, I had one growing up and I am still drawn to them.

      If you are ever near Indiana let me know, Simon loves hugs!

  • Reply MtnGirl 10/01/2013 at 7:30 pm

    I’m a cocker spaniel girl myself – I got a puppy from a puppy mill (later they were arrested and closed down in the state of Texas!). LOVE that dog! Got a puppy from a backyard breeder who was a total idiot! LOVE that dog too! And my husband rescued an older dog from a shelter – he makes me sad because he’s a great dog who can’t hear, but was found in the city wandering the streets. I wish I would’ve had him since he was a puppy…. I will admit that I do LOVE getting a puppy….

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 10/04/2013 at 9:12 am

      Yeah puppies are cool, especially with kids. There is a rescue group near me that has a puppy RIGHT NOW. I am soooo tempted.

  • Reply Nichol 09/30/2013 at 6:18 am

    Our family wants a dog, but living in the city I just don’t find it fair. No place to run etc. We will eventually sell our home and adopt a dog. I agree, go to the shelters, they are just overloaded, breaks my heart. For now, we have our kitties and wanting 1 more.

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 09/30/2013 at 9:23 am

      I actually think a dog can do fine in the city if you have time to exercise them. Most dogs want to be with their people, so if you aren’t home a lot, then it’s smart to wait but the city isn’t a deal breaker necessarily. But it just depends upon your lifestyle.

  • Reply pam 09/30/2013 at 5:18 am

    Amen! Most of my dogs have been pound or rescue. A couple from not-so-reputable sources back when I was younger and had no idea about anything. A few from good breeders.

    A reputable breeder is a treasure… they only breed for the betterment of the breed and those litters are few and far between. If we didn’t have the good breeders all that we loved about specific breeds of dogs would change and fall away…

    You really have to do your due diligence, though… I know a breeder who is a well respected dog show judge, a Phd, etc.. and breeds constantly. It’s disturbing.

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 09/30/2013 at 9:21 am

      Yeah, research is key, definitely.

      We thought we were doing the right thing with Simon. We lived in CA at the time and they advertised “no puppy mills” but said they worked sort of as a broker to help families find their perfect puppy. We didn’t know any better. Turns out he came from Missouri through Hunte Corp. We took them to small claims court and CA had a puppy lemon law so we got $1,200 back from them but we paid $800 plus $8,000 for his surgery.

      But again, I can’t imagine life without him. So you live and learn and hopefully help other people learn too. Just a bit poorer LOL.

  • Reply Karen R 09/29/2013 at 5:52 pm

    Toby is a cutie! Our dog, Brandy, came from Petfinders. My dh wanted a Collie. He browsed pictures of Collies from all over the country. He found Brandy, who was 2 at the time, and fell in love with her. She is a great dog. I personally would never buy from a breeder, puppy-mill or reputable. I have a problem with keeping a female dog pregnant with litter after litter. What kind of life is that? Sad to me.

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 09/30/2013 at 9:17 am

      Yeah it is a sad life for those dogs, and some don’t know how to run and play and enjoy life. It’s terrible.

      That’s awesome about your Collie! My husband loves collies.

  • Reply Cindy Brooks 09/29/2013 at 5:15 pm

    I’m so glad you mentioned reputable breeders! I agree whole heartedly about not buying “puppy mill” dogs. Our last dog was a pound puppy. We loved her for a full 13 years.We’ve found that getting a puppy is sort of like buying a house. There’s an emotional attachment right away that tells you it’s right. I think you can see in a dog’s eyes that they will love you and want to be in your family. A year ago we decided it was time for another dog. There is a wonderful shelter in our area, but I had my heart set on a fluffy, white puppy. Lucky for us there is a local breeder who raises Bichon Frises. We visited them and were able to talk with them and see their facility. They limit the number of litters they raise and have detailed records of each dog’s history. We fell in love with the dogs that first visit. When the puppies were born we we able to visit several times and play with them before choosing our dog. It turns out that she chose us. Every time we visited this little girl was the first one to give kisses and want to play. Our Glacier just turned one year old and we couldn’t be happier!

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 09/30/2013 at 9:16 am

      I don’t begrudge anyone who is a responsible pet owner from get the pet they want. Too many people don’t view adopting a pet as adopting a family member and commit to that animal for life, and they need to be educated. They are the ones who encourage pet shops and puppy mills because they don’t understand where the dogs come from.

      I love Bichons!

  • Reply Robin (Masshole Mommy) 09/29/2013 at 4:50 am

    Right now we travel too much to get another dog. I don’t want to board him/her for that much time every year, so I don’t think it’s fair to get one right now – even though the kids want one SOOOOO bad.

    When we did have a dog, we got him from a breeder, but that was many, many years ago. If I ever do get another dog, it will be a rescue dog for sure.

    • Reply Kimberly Grabinski 09/29/2013 at 11:16 am

      Yeah it’s definitely harder to just go and do what you want when you have a dog.

      I want another purebred golden puppy, and we are prepared to pay up to $2,000 to get one, but we would exhaust all rescue avenues first to find a “young” golden before going that route. I also want to adopt a couple of senior dogs. We did that once and he only lived about 3 years but he was an amazing dog. One day I want a whole house full of dogs, but with 2 young kids, 2 is enough right now!