You probably think this is going to be a rant about people that go to breeders for puppies. It isn’t. It’s a rant about the constant bad feeling and negative and hateful comments I’m getting about not having gone to a rescue centre to get a dog. Some people have apologised after I explain that it wasn’t our first choice to go to a breeder, but others I haven’t responded to – it depends on the day if I have the energy and the time to explain myself. I shouldn’t have to explain myself of course, and it would be much nicer if people simply asked me why I didn’t go to a rescue, but this blog and a possible video on the same subject will mean that I clear it up finally and can link to this in answer to any further comments.
Let me start by telling you that I grew up with dogs, about 6 in total with 2 at any one time. All of them were rescues. All of them were high shedding breeds, and I suffered asthma and red blotches over my body for most of my teenage years. As an adult my allergies have got worse, so when we started thinking about getting a dog I knew I had to take that into consideration, coupled with the fact that my husband also suffers badly from allergies, so much so that I’ve seen him crying in frustration because he itches all over and has huge red lumps.
When I found out I could work from home, we both agreed that it was a rescue dog or nothing for us, and we certainly didn’t want a puppy, so we started researching hypoallergenic breeds. This is where I started realising that there weren’t many that were guaranteed, but we listed the breeds that were the most hypoallergenic and started searching online at all the rescues in the UK. I checked daily for months and found 1 potentially hypoallergenic dog but firstly it was a dog that was too large and would therefore require more exercise than we could provide, and secondly it was sold before we even had a chance to enquire.
With this disappointment, we started researching breeders thinking that we could maybe buy a dog that was no longer wanted because it was too old for breeding or something like that. This was about the time that I did start getting some flack about considering a breeder and I realised how controversial a subject it was. I still at this point didn’t really understand the issues, but because of the horrific TV programmes I’d seen on puppy farming I knew that anywhere we went we would want to go and visit and be happy with how they were treating the dogs and frankly if we weren’t happy would be reporting them!
We got in touch with 3 breeders, and found that there really isn’t much of an option to buy a hypoallergenic dog other than a puppy. Yes, there occasionally was one for sale but the breeders we got in touch with kept the older dogs as family dogs (they were all family businesses). Kev & I sat and talked about it and realised that if we wanted to be doggy parents, it could take years to happen, so we agreed that we would buy a puppy if we found a breeder we were happy with. We went to see Lomond hills and made sure that we asked many questions, got a good feel for the place, saw the potential puppy parents etc. We didn’t need to worry though, they clearly cared greatly for their dogs and they in fact were insistent that we spent an hour there seeing dog after dog and cuddling them to make sure that we weren’t allergic. The lady told us it wouldn’t be fair on a puppy to take them home then 6 months later find out we were allergic (normally puppies don’t cause allergies until 6 months onwards) and give them back, the puppy would be devastated.
Kev & I don’t have children, and the reasons why are not something I discuss on my channel or anywhere else. The only people who are aware why are those closest to me, but adoption isn’t something that is possible either and is an avenue well researched. My first rant then is why is it that people feel that Kev & I shouldn’t have the opportunity in life to raise a living companion from a young age? For us to have the chance to make decisions on how we bring them up and what rules we apply, what we feed them, the chance to feel proud at how well behaved they turn out to be because of our hard work when they are young? If I were talking to you now about how we were trying IVF or surrogacy, I’m pretty sure I’d have almost 100% support – nobody would be calling me an “evil disgusting person” then would they?! Yet there are plenty of children out there with no home.
Furthermore, these puppies will be out in the world regardless of my feelings on breeding, so surely its best they go to a loving home?!
Now, what you might be surprised to hear is that I don’t actually agree with breeders either. Yes, that sounds hypocritical. I don’t think it is – selfish maybe, but not hypocritical though I’m sure plenty will disagree. The day that it actually sunk in on why there is such controversy about breeders was on our first visit to see Watson when he was 5 weeks old. I knew that people have an issue with puppy farming and badly treated dogs of course but on this car journey I was thinking, “the only reason these puppies are being born are to make money”. It was an aha moment that wasn’t very nice. It didn’t change the fact that these breeders were caring and lovely, and we even had to sign a form to say we would socialise them and exactly what classes we’d be going to, that we had a garden etc. There was no doubt they wanted to do everything possible to ensure a good life for their puppies, but I knew that if it were me in that position I couldn’t A. Give the puppies away – you can never be sure that they will be properly looked after and B. I couldn’t be in that business knowing that these puppies go through trauma the first few days after they are taken away from their mothers and that this trauma is all for money making purposes, because people want fluffy cute puppies.
As I say, I was left with an impossible situation. I was ready to be a mum, and my work situation meant the timing was perfect and we had the money from a work bonus. Me not agreeing with breeders and therefore not buying our Watson would make absolutely no difference to anyone except us. There was a long waiting list of people wanting him if we pulled out. There were tears at first about not being able to get a rescue dog – it’s something I’d always wanted to do. Right now though, I have an amazing loving puppy.