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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dog Rescue: A Disturbing Trend

I've noticed in Northeast Ohio and have blogged about a very disturbing subject: Dog Rescue Prejudice.  In particular Breed or "Type" Rescue.  The latest trend is dismiss, degrade and vilify breeders of any kind of dog and people who show dogs in any venue (conformation, obedience, agility, etc.)  They are The Problem, they are the Anti-Christ of  the dog rescue world.

It's even gotten so that purebred dogs themselves are defamed; that only the mighty mixed breed or mutt, or worse, "pit-type" dog is the only dog worth caring about.  Remember, folks, I'm a huge proponent of "pit-type" dogs. Every dog should get a fair shake.

I have gotten into some pretty heated debates with people in the rescue community in the last year or so.

I've been getting a lot of heat about even thinking (out loud) about adding another Australian Cattledog from a responsible breeder to our family. That'll learn me to open my big mouth.

"You're contributing to The Problem."

Really?  How?

I don't want to breed.  I highly doubt I would ever be grandmother to a litter.  My heart couldn't handle it. If I showed my dog, I wouldn't want to stand him at stud.  It would be: "Hello Championship, freeze your semen and good-bye balls."

If people researched having kids the way I've researched about adding a puppy/adult dog to our home, we'd probably have smarter, healthier kids.  It's not a willy-nilly decision!  As much as I love Elke, and as sweet as she is, she has some issues which could stem from those first four, unknown months of her life. I know I lucked out with Artie.  Sheer, damn, dumb luck. But I also knew he was a cattledog and I knew that some behaviors are genetic, are endemic to most cattledogs. I had a general idea of what to expect from him.

"Get a shelter dog."  I've lucked out with my one shelter dog.  I'm not knocking shelter dogs. I contribute a lot of time, effort and money to my local shelter. The Spousal Unit has lucked out with many of his shelter dogs. We've lucked out with dogs from rescue organizations, good breeders and retired show dogs. There have been a few clankers throughout the years too but for the most part, we've been lucky.

I'm very vocal about rescue groups, people in "the fancy", dog clubs etc. all working together to help dogs.  To help people with issues they are having, to recommending them to positive, helpful trainers or classes, etc.   Interestingly enough, rescue folks, far too many really good dog trainers and behaviorists out there started their journey, ironically enough, with a purebred dog.  Gasp!

When so many of these rescues are crying for transport, funds etc. I ask them: "How many friends, connections, acquaintances do you have among purebred dog people?"

"Well, none --- cuz they're a bunch of stuck-up snobs."

Really?  Some are pretty stuck up, I'll grant you.  But most are very nice folks to downright awesome people!  Most people I know who are responsible breeders, show folks, trainers etc. try to help dogs and people connect.  So many of them have such a vast wealth of knowledge about training, behavior, nutrition, pet-friendly places, dog management, etc. Do you honestly think, because you rescue dogs, that these people know nothing?

You're begging for a long transport?  Gee, shucks, if you'd made some connections with your local Kennel club; why, son-of-a-gun, one of those folks might be going to a damn dog show and save you some mileage. Instead, you're begging your fellow rescue folks who are so bogged down and overwhelmed most of the time with THEIR dogs who need help.  You're all stretching yourselves so darn thin and then you trash a whole bunch of people who might be able to actually give you a hand.

I've known way too many people involved in purebred dogs who've fostered a mutt litter, transported dogs (sometimes hundreds of miles) spoken up against BSL, gas chambers, high-kill shelters, puppy milling etc etc. The Hershey puppy mill in California and that horrible Rottweiler hoarding-milling situation (n Texas I believe) are two prime examples of where "The Fancy" rolled up their sleeves and helped hundreds of dogs.

So all you high and mighty types in the Rescue community, I say to you: How many responsible breeders or owners do you really know?  And I would ask why?  Chances are, other than me and maybe a wee handful of others I'd say: None.  You've seen the crappy end of the lollipop. Backyard breeders, idiot owners, cruelty, neglect, etc. etc. etc.

You whine, bitch and moan about Breed or Type Prejudice ("Pit Bulls get all the bad rap in the news...") and then you slap the same stuff on Those Dog Show People and Those Breeders as a collective group of bad-asses.

Ninety-nine percent of them are not The Problem. They don't live in some airy-fairy land of, "Dogs aren't dying daily by the thousands."  Far too many of the purebred or dog show folks I've known for the past 25 years have endlessly given their time, money, heart and help to dogs in need and vehemently fight the good fight again BSL etc.  Far too many have a Pit among their Poodles, a Mutt with their Malamutes, a deaf, 3-legged Beagle with their Bouviers.  They love dogs too. They could be some of your greatest allies.

Why would you unilaterally dismiss an entire group of people like that?  Since when do you not judge a person by their deeds and if they "walk the talk?"  Whose nostrils are sunburned from your upturned nose now?  Who is the snob, really?

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