A couple of years ago I was living in St. Cloud, MN because my job moved me up there from the Twin Cities in late 2012. I was having a hard time adjusting to the new location, the new job, and a new school. I had made a few friends, to include my best friend, but there was still something missing. Mid-2014, most of my new friends, including my new best friend, left on multiple deployments – the life in the military, right? I started to share my sorrows with friends and family who lived in the Twin Cities, and they suggested that I get a dog. Once the seed was planted, it grew. Fast. The first question on my mind was, “Where do I even start?” And my research began.
No, no no!
I had grown up with one dog when I was younger, and we had to give him away because he was very naughty. His name was Stud and he was a maltese-pekingese mix from a breeder. He peed everywhere, he was not very good on a leash, and he barked ALL. OF. THE. TIME. Not cool. I knew that I wanted a good, obedient and healthy dog. I quickly enlisted the help of friends via Facebook: “Hey! Just decided that I’m getting a dog. Anyone have any good ideas on where to go?” The answers FLOODED in! This was great! Except for one thing…my friends weren’t telling where to get a puppy, they were telling me what kind of puppy to get:
“Oh, you HAVE to get Lab! They’re the BEST dogs! I’ll DM you the breeder we went through!”
“Doesn’t your sister have pugs? You should get a pug!! They’re so CUTE!”
“You have to get a Golden Retriever! They are the ABSOLUTE best dogs, and they’ll love you for life. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send you the info!”
Um…hello?! I’m not asking for assistance with what kind of dog to get! I was looking for more information like shelters or certain humane societies in the area that were looking for some people to come in and adopt. But it turns out, not a lot of my social circle are rescuers…they’re breeders.
Opinions, opinions, opinions!
I decided to forget all of my Facebook friends (no offense, folks) and do some research on my own for shelters and foster homes with dogs in the area that needed a “forever home.” I started with the only website I knew of, PetFinder.com. I sorted through and filtered my options like location, male/female, breed, age, etc. Once I narrowed down the basics, the results popped up. Cute, cute, CUTE puppies everywhere! Little, fluffy guys with huge brown eyes, big fur-balls with one blue and one brown eye, medium dogs with husky and lovable builds…everything! How was I EVER going to make this decision? Then I started noticing something on the side banner…
“PURE BRED English Pointer!” “PURE BRED Pug!”
“PURE BRED Labrador Retriever!” “PURE BRED Doberman Pinscher!”
All of these dogs listed on the side were not even born yet, but were being sold to owners who preferred a certain breed of dog. What about the dogs, who may NOT be pure bred, who were already born and ready for the home I was ready to offer? It was then that my search TRULY began.
Let me preface the remainder of this post with a warning: I, Nicquie Neely, am NOT a hater of breeders or people who seek out and buy pure bred dogs. I love all dogs, and all dogs need and deserve love. My advocacy in this post is for the dogs who are already born and don’t have anywhere to go. With that, let the rant continue.
Decisions, decisions, decisions!
It turns out that dog-buying is a tumultuous process. I found solace in the fact that I am not the only one who has taken this debate over not-yet-born-pure-bred and already-born-mixed-mutt. As one mutt-loving veterinarian states, it is “The Great Debate” when it comes to health. In her blog post on vetstreet.com, Dr. Patty Khuly sides with me in stating that “Since they are likely to have a lower risk for receiving a high dose of specific purebred genetic material that can lead to inherited disease, I believe they’re healthier than purebreds…” She goes on to list a multitude of symptoms, diseases and ailments that purebreds have that mutt mixes don’t.
In another article, Victoria Stilwell writes about the pros and cons of buying from a breeder and buying from a rescue shelter. She seems to have the same ideas that I have when it comes to the “great debate” – to include that buying from a shelter means that you’re buying a dog that is already born! Why make more dogs when there are already dogs living without a home?
Happy, happy, happy!
After weeks of research, debate and decision making, I found her.
The day after Christmas 2014, I adopted my precious dog Ginger. My life has been awesome ever since!