Posted on April 20, 2009
YOU CAN’T IGNORE THE TRUTH
When I started my search for a dog, in my mind there were only two options: SPCA or the classified ads. While in my mind I was a huge supporter of the SPCA, I seemed to have it in my head that only a new puppy would suffice. After viewing ad after ad in the classifieds for various young puppies of all breeds and varieties that were supposedly “happy, health, often prize winners and humanely bred,” no dog seemed to be the right fit. I didn’t respond to a single ad, and instead opened my browser to Google and searched for “puppies vancouver bc“. What I found was, in a word, shocking.
Instead of page after page of adorable, clumsy puppies looking for homes, I found page after page of beautiful, wonderful, amazing dogs that all needed to go to loving homes. There were dogs of all ages, breeds and temperaments and all were either living in shelters or in foster care around British Columbia. There were quite literally thousands of dogs with nowhere to live.
My mind was made up on the spot that I could not ignore what I just learned. I couldn’t justify bringing home a “new” puppy when so many others needed a home. I was hellbent on adopting.
It wasn’t long before I found a rescue organization based on Vancouver Island that specialized in small dogs. It was there that I found Jordy’s profile, fell madly in love and a month and a half later, have his long, furry body stretched out on the floor beside me as I type this.
I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it was hard leaving Jordy’s foster home yesterday afternoon, knowing that he was leaving many of his foster brothers and sisters behind who didn’t have homes. As I’ve been going through the rigorous adoption process (the hoop-jumps are well worth it), I’ve been doing a lot of reading and educating myself. While I had no idea that so many rescue groups were operating around the Province, I certainly had no idea how much of a pet overpopulation problem we as a society must deal with head-on and adequately.
As I spoke with the director of Jordy’s rescue foundation during my home visit a couple weeks ago, I was horrified by some of what she’s seen. The irresponsibility of people astounds me, from excessive and inter-breeding to euthanizing a beloved family pet because two weeks on the beach in Cabo is too long to pay a petsitter.
Pet ownership is not a right; it is a revocable privilege.
Photo: miss604 on Flickr
Much has to change in British Columbia before countless other animals end up in shelters for the rest of their lives. Most will die before they get the chance to live in a true and loving home.
1. Neuter or spay your pet! It is the responsible thing to do. Overpopulation is at a crisis level in British Columbia. A pet is not a cash machine and you have no way of ensuring that your pet’s offspring will go to a proper home, rather than tied to a heavy chain in someone’s overgrown backyard. It happens all the time.
2. If you are considering bringing a pet into your home, please adopt from either the SPCA or a rescue group. There are thousands of amazing dogs all around the Province waiting for a forever home – Jordy was just one of many. Rescued dogs are often far more appreciative and affectionate than other dogs.
3. Do your research. Can you afford to take adequate care of an animal and do you have the time, patience and effort to devote to the newest member of your family? Cats and dogs need love, affection, emotional stability, exercise, nutrition and healthcare just as we do.
4. Petition for change! They say there’s a sucker born every minute, and pet stores are banking on the hope that you will be the next sucker through their door. They $1,000-$3,000 to the cash register every time a dog goes to a home without even so much as a background check on the person purchasing. Boycott your local pet stores and the puppy mills that supply them. All pet stores will tell you what you want to hear in that your dog has come from a loving breeder, but that just isn’t the truth. The few responsible breeders that exist in this Province should, in my opinion, be required to register with the Province and those found breeding their dogs without having registered should be subject to substantial fines.
Please sign the petition I have created in this regard. Every voice counts.
For more information on how you can educate yourself on adopting a pet in British Columbia and put an end to animal neglect, here are a few sites worth visiting: