Everybody thinks they have the best dog – and none of them are wrong.
– W. R. Purche
Anybody who knows me knows that I am passionate about dogs, rescue dogs in particular. Our family has always had rescue dogs: old, young, lots of issues, not many issues at all and I have furthered this tradition in my life in Mexico.
Mexico itself is rife with stray dogs. It’s expensive to get dogs spayed or neutered and therefore, they have puppies on the street that go on to have puppies and so on and so forth. Animals are left on the street when they become too expensive to look after, or the owners simply get bored of them. With a real lack of shelters or animal protective services, the sight of stray dogs is something you become both immune to and to come to expect.
My own dog, Riley, was three weeks old when I got her. She’d been abandoned and tied up in a plastic bag near the school where I work and came to me in a cardboard box, small, shaking and afraid. That first day, I was unsure about adopting her. She was tiny, a lot of responsibility and realistically, shouldn’t have been away from her mother yet; but, I picked her up and cuddled her to me and her little head snugged into my neck, a sign she knew that she was meant for me, even if I didn’t know it yet.
I fell in love with Ri after one day at my house. My constant shadow and companion, she now has a warm house, lots of food, many many humans to constantly cuddle her and let her lick them to death. She, in short, was one of the lucky ones. She’s 9 months old now and doesn’t remember those days she was tied up and left for dead. She’s lucky she thinks humans are only kind.
This week, another stray dog was put in my path. Found by one of my students, Anika is 8 months old, starved and has had a much tougher time of it than Riley. After having to scavenge for months on the street, she invariably eats the food I put down for her as soon as it’s there, often getting the hiccups because she swallows it so quickly, like she’s afraid I’ll take it away. She cries the house down when I leave because she believes I’m never coming back. She cuddles close at all times, sitting on my feet as work or leaning her head against my leg as I’m cooking. While I’m not sure I can keep Anika (we’re on a trial basis at the moment to see how she copes with Ri but there is no way I would ever abandon her on the street), it saddens me that this is the plight many rescue dogs face world-wide.
The culture of buying pets, especially puppies, from pet shops is something that should be stopped. Not only do you not know where these dogs have come from (overbreeding farms, for example), you are giving money and supporting a process that is harmful and sends the message that street dogs or rescues are not worth as much as these animals that you are willingly paying for.
After seeing the difference in my own two, I am a massive advocate for #adoptdontshop. Give an animal a chance. Reject the culture that says puppies only. Reject the notion that rescue dogs are worth less or more trouble. It’ll change your life.
For more information on this, I particularly love wolfgang2242’s instagram and the collection of posts he has about his own rescue wolf pack.