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.

Hi Mommy!

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:

British Columbia Rescue Organizations and Shelters (Canada’s Guide To Dogs)
City of Vancouver Adoption Program
No Puppy Mills Canada
PeTA ABC (Animal Birth Control)

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  1. Good for you! I signed your petition too. There has to be much more respect for animals, and pets specifically, and an appreciation for their vulnerability. Their protection is in our hands. Using pets for financial gain should no longer be considered legal or acceptable. I understand adoption fees from reputable breeders that go toward first shots, food, and spaying or neutering. But, the exploitation of any animal in a window for the sake of manipulating potential buyers is unfair considering it has no choice but to resign itself to the customer on the other end of the counter. The cashier often sees $$ and any more prudence after that is rarely considered.

  2. It wasn’t until we went to pick up Jordy did I see first hand what some of these poor discarded animals had to go through. It was great to see such a loving foster home for those little creatures, thriving in a wonderful enviroment. It is so sad that some of them won’t be adopted because they are blind, missing a leg, missing teeth or too old with kidney problems. You’re right…lets look after the animals that need a home now instead of pumping out more only to be abandoned when they become an inconvenience.

  3. I completely agree. It’s sickening to think that the majority of people out there have no idea how many animals come into this world. My aunt used to work at the Humane Society in Winnipeg, and it was heart breaking. She loves animals, but eventually she couldn’t work there anymore because it was just too hard on her. People don’t think, and when they do they only think of themselves.

  4. You are incredible! I have been thinking about getting a small pup and bringing it to work with me. The therapeutic value of animals is unbelievable… I wanna go your route to find one.

  5. Go you!

    My pup was from the classifieds. He was a mutt by a family dog who was knocked up and looked super scraggly in his photo, so we investigated. We were bummed we couldn’t adopt, but we DID try lots of places first and none of the older dogs were a good match. We *definitely* were opposed to pet stores/puppy mills. A neighbor has an adopted dog who was from a puppy mill and he has had a really hard time adjusting due to the conditions from where he came from.

    We will neuter our boy when he’s old enough. You are very right that pet ownership is a privilege, not a right.

  6. I totally agree!!! When Ben and I decided that we were going to adopt a dog, we went in search of rescue organizations and refused to purchase from a backyard breeder or pet store. I too went through a very rigorous process in order to take Buca home with me.

    I adopted Buca from a rescue organization based on the Lower Mainland called Bully Buddies. They match un-wanted pit bulls with responsible owners. My little beauty came to the rescue organization when mom, who had a horrible home crop job done on her ears and tail, was found abandoned locked in a car in June with 9 puppies. Some of the dogs they had rescued had been chained to trees in the middle of nowhere cause nobody wanted them.

    I’ll admit I was nervous about a pit bull, but I did my research and have discovered that they are giant sucks! Buca is convinced she’s a cat. She smiles at me when I come home from work and gives the best hugs.

    I’ve signed your petition.

  7. Fabulous Keira, what an amazing thing you’ve done! I usually try not share my stories of us executing warrants to seize dogs from the nasty breeders, it’s just too depressing, so thank you for posting this, you’ve helped me as well – love, love, love you! What did I tell the little guy? Oh yeah – Jordy’s got the best mom in the whole world!

  8. Pingback: Puppies « Sparkling Amber

  9. I love jordy :) what kinda of mix is he??? pom and ???

    ps: as I am not a resident of BC I couldn’t sign your petition :(

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