Rather than saying 'adopt don't shop" I prefer to say, 'Help a creature or human in need". I think it is great to adopt animals out of shelters or rescues-I think my track record shows that. But I am not someone who will judge another human being for finding a good breeder to buy the dog of their choosing-for whatever reasons. A few weeks ago someone unsubsribed from my newsletter and cancelled her monthly $20 donation she had paid since last year, writing a note to tell me she would not be supporting our organization further because I am buying a dog from a breeder. She went on to say, quote, "There are many purebred Labrador puppies in rescue/shelter situations that need you. Breeders are useless and greedy." I thanked her for her past support, and also thanked her for taking her energy elsewhere. I wonder if this person and others like her decline going to baby showers if the person didn't adopt, but insted bred their child.
I have had wonderful creatures in my life, some from shelters, rescues and many from breeders. While I would never support a puppy mill or large scale breeder, I value the breeders I've known in my life, since childhood we have always had dogs, both purebred, some mutts. To me they are creatures. I never point out, "Oh this is my rescue dog. Or this is my rescue horse." If that is how you want to introduce your animal, fine, but I don't see the need-they are creatures.
When I got this note, my first reaction was...surprise. First of all, it is not based on facts. To lump all breeders as 'evil' well, I state that is unfair , ignorant and untrue. I can tell you after 15+ years of taking in neglected and needy animals, that the humans on the other end come in all shapes and sizes. And I can also tell you that I have come into contact with good breeders and some not so good...BUT I have come into contact with many judgemental people in the 'rescue' world. There are people doing good work for animals in all sectors.
My reaction was also to want to explain to this person why I thought she was misguided about breeders. It happened four weeks ago. But I chose to walk away. Then I found myself second guessing about posting pictures of Bear, our new pup that will be here in four weeks. I continued to post pictures though, and I will continue to do that. I am not going to hide behind fear of the social Puppy Police-those people out there that spread their judgements as they sit in front of a screen. And if any of you out there feel the need to go, by all means do.
I should say, when you are giving money, no matter how small or big the amount, you have the right to change your mind if that organization doesn’t lie up to what you thought it should. Our mission here is clear-to help elder/needy animals and to share them with elder people. I can assure everyone that the elder people who lay their hands on my animals aren’t wondering if I adopted them or bought them from a breeder. Bear the pup is a dog I am purchasing, from my funds, not the non profits, but he will be part of our therapy work.
Ironically, I saw her note on the day I buried Papi, one of umpteen elder cats that have been brought out of shelters. I wondered how many graves this woman has dug in her life. Is the grave I dug two years ago for Huck, our beloved lab, any less graced and blessed by Earth because he was from a breeder? Of course not.
What an insult to my work, my heart, and all my animals.