Rescuing a pet is a wonderful, rewarding thing. And I didn’t do it.
Let me back up.
Four years ago, I began my search for the perfect pup. This search had three important criteria:
1. The dog must be a girl because dog penises freak me out.
2. The dog must be a French Bulldog.
3. The dog must be less than 18 months old so I can train her from a young age to come to work with me every day.
I was well aware that finding all these criteria in a rescue dog was going to be hard, but that didn’t stop me from trying. For two years I applied for several dogs rescued by the French Bulldog Rescue Network but had my heart broken each time. I have a feeling that being a first-time dog owner and a young single woman living in an apartment (Millennial!) worked against me.
After a lot of disappointment, I began researching reputable French Bulldog breeders.
It took a lot of saving, applications and a little more heartbreak, but two years later I came home with my sweet Esther. The breeder I chose only has two litters a year, so being chosen from a large pool of applicants made me feel like I had won the puppy lottery (and let’s be honest, I did).
Despite waking up every day with my furry best friend by my side, I still catch myself apologizing for her. Why? Because she’s not a rescue. Even some of my friends tease me for “shopping instead of adopting.”
But, starting today, I’m done apologizing.
“Breeder” is not a dirty word. Are there bad breeders out there? Absolutely. I even wrote an article about one. That’s why you should never, ever buy from a breeder on Craigslist. Or get any puppy from Craigslist, for that matter.
Do your research. Interview your breeder. Ask to see where they raise their puppies. Bringing a new family member into your home is a big decision and should not be taken lightly.
So what if instead of continuing the rescue/breeder debate, we all focus on the actual root of the problem: reducing the number of unwanted pets? We can make sure our pets are fixed, donate to a local Spay and Neuter clinic or even use our internet skills for good by calling out suspected puppy mills.
Oh, by the way, just because I bought my dog from a breeder doesn’t mean I’m not interested in rescuing someday. But that’s because it’s the right decision for me. Rescuing may not be right for your family, and that’s okay, too.
Until then, I’m done apologizing for my dog. And if you’re a non-rescue dog-owner, you should be too.