I love dogs. I've owned dogs all my life – either as child with my famly, or an adult. Looking back, we've owned a number of different dogs, looked after them, trained them, and loved them. I don't think there is anyone who knows me that would call me an "irresponsible" dog owner.
It's only been the in the past few years that I've come across the term, "rescuing dogs." I think it's a modern term for what we would just do as matter of course, many years ago. I realize that there are many dog owners who are very irresponsible, and in too many cases, this has meant animals that are not cared for, are abused, and end up needing "resucing" from a pound or vet hospital.
The dogs I've owned have ranged from "Heinz 57's" to purebreds that are registered. When we first immigrated to Canada, we lived on a farm and one of the first things we did was get a dog. From a neighbouring farm, who's female had babies. That first dog was a male, and he was allowed to roam the farm – and visit the neighbours, and as a result, he fathered some pups. One of those pups became another dog that we owned.
Both Dad and Son were wonderful dogs, although when we had to move from the farm into town, the father did not take to it very well. Being used to roaming fields and forests, and off a leash, he didn't adjust well to city life at all. And as he got older, he got worse and probably out of frustration, became aggressive. His son however, adjusted very well and he lived a good long time with our family.
After he died, we went through a few more dogs – that lived good lives in our family. Some were purchased, some were got for nothing. One particular dog, a German Shepherd/Lab cross named Tara was a beautiful dog that I trained and could have her doing more things than most poeple's dogs. she would eliminate on the command, "Empty." I could have her hold a treat on her nose for half an hour before she'd eat it, only after I said, "OK." She walked very mannerly, knew how to "heal," and I could stand in a field and tell her to sit, while I walked 100 yards away from her, then did a circle, and she would sit waiting for me to say, "Come."
I loved that dog, and she loved me. She was not a purebred of any sort, but she had a wonderful life with me, and my three sons. When I had to go away, and could not take Tara with me, I would board her at a kennel – but Tara would not eat the entire time we were separated. She would go a week without eating if I was not there. It was perhaps one of the saddest things in my life when some "life circumstances" changed, and I had to move into a house where I rented a bedroom, and Tara could not come with me. By that time, she was getting old, and I knew that to give her up would probably mean a slow and painful death for her as she would likely just die from starving herself, if I gave her up to someone else. I had to make the awful decision to put her down.
In each and every case, when I have chosen a dog, it's based on my own subjective desires about what I want. And that is what I look for in a dog, and I don't really care where it comes from. I'm not interested in showing a dog at a competition. I just want a companion. I have my own price limits too. About 7 years ago, I took my son, who was about 2 years old at the time, to see some Maltese Puppies. David fell in love with one of them. I have no clue if the breeder was a "backyard breeder," I'd never heard of the term at that time. All I knew is that it was the closest place (and we travelled a good 200 miles) to get a Maltese puppy. Today, that puppy named Rudy is very well loved by my son. He is well trained, healthy, and for what it's worth, "registered." First dog I ever owned that was "registered."
Rudy came from a house – not a large kennel. I have no clue what the breeder did in how they selected parents. I know though, that when David and I saw Rudy, we both really enjoyed him (although toy size dogs are not really my thing). So we got him.
Before I got Beans the Boston Terrier back in May, I had become aware of this term, "rescuing dogs." At that point, the girlfriend that I had at the time and I had talked many times about getting a Boston Terrier together. I put myself on email lists and checked out a variety of websites, called a variety of vet clinics and SPCA agencies within a 60 mile radius. Over several months, none had any Boston Terriers that needed to be "rescued." Finally, one day, I saw a newspaper classified ad for Boston Terrier puppies – about ten minutes away from where I live!
We did our "due dilligence" and although Beans was not going to be "registered," we fell in love with him and purchased him. Was it fro ma so called "backyard breeder?" I guess…. But a very loving and concerned backyard breeder. A breeder that would not sell to us until she was satisfied that one of her pups would be responsibly looked after and have a good life.
There were other dogs, it is true, that needed to be "rescued" locally – but none appealed to me, none were dogs due to size or breed that I liked, or wanted to have. We wanted a Boston Terrier – or a Boston Terrier mix, and that could live with me in my circustances, and be a companion. And I we didn't have $1,800.00 that a couple of the major breeders wanted.
This evening, on our Facebook Page, I had posted information about a "Tiny Boston Terrier" that was available in Florida. I was a bit astounded at one of the responses I received from a "Michelle Trail" of California. She wrote,
Please don't sell puppies on FB.
I'm not. Some folk here are looking for puppies, so as I come across ones that are available, I let folk know – including Bostons that need rescued.
Michelle Trail's response:
1) If there are people who are responsible and fortunate enough to become a Boston owner, they should know the channels in which to acquire a guaranteed healthy puppy; 2) Whatever this "domesticsale.com" ad is appears to me to be some backyard breeder; 500 bucks for a Boston, rigtht and 3) I don't see any posts on your wall of people looking for Bostons.
Hey Michelle – if you don't like my page, you are free to "unlike" it…. not a problem. 1. This is simply an added service I'm providing. 2. I have no clue if they are "backyard" breeders, Dixie is apparently CKC registered. The price could be because she is so small. I've seen a range of prices from very good breeders – much depends on the market and the location. Economics. 3 – Scroll further down, and you will see them. I certainly did not delete them. 4. I'm not here to debate anyone – I'll do that in other forums, so again, feel free to "unlike" the page!
Also, as much as I am not for "puppy mills," many so called "backyard breeders" are very loving, responsible, and provide excellent companion dogs at a price that is affordable. In my particular case, I spent months looking for a Boston Terrier to rescue, but in my area, within 60 miles at least, there simply weren't any available that needed to be rescued. I got mine from a breeder who is very loving, very concerned about who she sold to, and this term "backyard breeder" is almost a derogatory snubbish term against some who don't deserve it.
Take it as you will. I would never purchase a puppy from a pet store – funny enough, those so called "puppy mills" that provide pet stores with so many puppies that are uncared for, are often 'registered" and apparently meet regulations. So much for regulations, huh? But I'm not a "regulation" kind of guy; I can love a puppy and a dog that is not worthy of "regulation." But I am willing to buy a puppy (or get one free) from a so called "backyard breeder." My first option would be to "rescue" a dog, if it matched my own subjective criteria – but failing that, please don't tell me what I should or should not do, and please don't try to regulate me and my affections. Oddly enough, those who want more regulation are the very ones who end up supporting snobbishness and huge prices… or go free. Michelle's response is quite telling – she keyed in on the price of the Boston Terrier available – $500.00. But, that particular BT was a "mini-boston terrier" and it's quite conceivable that any breeder would sell a Boston Terrier that did not quite make the minimum standards, backyard breeder or not – at a discounted price. Indeed, even the most careful of Boston Terrier breeders will have puppies that don't meet "standards" – what are they to do with them?
Please don't tell me what I should or should not do on my Facebook Page. I welcome you to like it, I hope you will, I have my own incentives for having it, and I really appreciate the people that are there. Please don't paint "backyard breeders" with the same brush, either.
And you may disagree, and that's fine – I look forward to your objections.