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Ugh. I just have to get this off my chest: I am visiting my hometown this weekend, and over the last 2 days, I've seen 3 friends who have all sounded just so disappointed when I tell them we are planning to get our future dog from a breeder, as opposed to a shelter or rescue or pound. I have explained my reasoning to them, about wanting a puppy from health-tested parents from a responsible, ethical breeder, and how we are nervous about a rescue dog with an unknown background, largely because we have a baby under a year old at home, and live very rurally. We contacted and met with a Spoo breeder a few months ago, were impressed with her, her dogs, and her home where the pups are raised. A litter we are interested in was just born last week and will be ready to go home in January. (So I am very excited!!) Obviously adopting any dog is a huge responsibility and commitment, and going to a good breeder means there is a price tag to match, which we are willing to pay for a healthy dog from healthy parents who are treated well. But still my friends are like, "There are so many puppies and dogs who will be great family pets whom you can rescue," or "Three thousand dollars for a DOG? You're crazy!" Yes, I feel like I'm nuts for paying so much when there are so many free or cheap rescue dogs, BUT my gut tells me that now is not the time to rescue a dog with an unknown background. I should note that none of these friends have small children to worry about. And sure, if I didn't have children, my husband and I would absolutely want to adopt from a shelter. I researched shelter dogs for a couple months before we decided to go the breeder route -- every time we found a dog that looked like a good match, there was some issue: it was listed as not good with cats (we have a cat), or not good with kids, or not good with YOUNG kids, or couldn't be adopted out of state, or the rescue agency never got back to me, or the dog had already been adopted when I called! We live very rurally and the closest small city is 70 miles away, the closest major city is over 100 miles away. Not really conducive to looking at shelters to meet animals before we commit to taking a dog home. Anyway, I'm tired of always having to justify to my friends and family why we're going the breeder route as opposed to rescuing. Has anyone else had this experience too? Thanks for reading my rant.
 

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Where do all those only get a rescue people think the dogs they find come from? Some sort of breeding right...

Personally I never bother getting involved with people like that. I once had a guy in Lowes come up to talk to Lily and Javelin. He asked me what rescue I got them from and I said they were from 2 different responsible breeders. He sneared at me and walked away. Good riddance I say!

Family members adopted two Puerto Rican street dogs. These dogs are both emotional train wrecks and loaded with various health problems. I actually tend to think for some dogs like these euthanasia is a kindness. It also bothers me that these dogs came from off shore. Don't we have enough dogs in need of new homes here already?

Go ahead and call me a snobby grinch if you want but for all three of our dogs (we also have a GSD) we wanted to know they were healthy and had spent their first weeks with breeders who nurtured them to be even tempered and healthy. They have all been performance sport dogs.
 

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I understand what you're feeling. There's been such a big push recently of the "Adopt don't shop!" slogan, it's like all nuance has been lost from the discussion of this very complex issue.

I would just say this: A breeder who vets and requires potential owners to sign a contract, legally agreeing to return that dog if their circumstances change, is not only not part of the shelter problem, they are part of the solution.

It's time to stop acting like there are only two choices—rescue or buy from an unethical breeder.
 

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My standard answer is "I am allergic to dogs, this is one of the few dogs I can have, are you saying I cannot have a dog?"
Honestly it's none of their business, not their choice, so don't try to justify it to them, do what is best for you and your family and find the best breeder and get your pup.
 

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When I was younger it bothered me more, but quite frankly I’m too old to be guilt tripped.

My first childhood dog was a cocker spaniel schnauzer mix, Charlie. He was such a sweetheart. Then came Rusty, who we found in the classifieds free. A true mutt. His mom (who had just shown up at someone’s house in the country) was a nondescript brown dog. Rusty was a fun childhood dog also. Then I went to college were my boyfriend (now husband) adopted Emily, a “red-bone coonhound” from the shelter. There is no way she had any kind of hound in her whatsoever, but she was red, sooo. Then a year later Zoe, a JRT mix most likely, that showed up at a family friends work. Good hearted family friend took her in but didn’t have the dog-sense to handle a 6 month old JRT so I got her. Then Diego about 5 years later from the pound and Jack the year after that from a rescue. Diego’s results are below (I wish we’d been able to get them for the girls!), and Jack was a bull terrier.

So no. I don’t have any guilt about my purebred poodle puppy that I’ve always wanted. I refuse to let anybody make me feel bad for making what I believe is the best choice for my family. It’s not just adults in this house anymore, and I need to know what I’m getting into. There was a time I adopted from the shelter, as well as fostered litters of newborn puppies and kittens, and I’m positive there will be a time for it in the future, but that time is not now for us. Diego is still with us at 13.5, and is and always has been the most bomb proof dog ever. New pup Starla will fit perfectly into our family, which I know because I know what we can handle and what we can expect.
 

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When I was younger it bothered me more, but quite frankly I’m too old to be guilt tripped.

My first childhood dog was a cocker spaniel schnauzer mix, Charlie. He was such a sweetheart. Then came Rusty, who we found in the classifieds free. A true mutt. His mom (who had just shown up at someone’s house in the country) was a nondescript brown dog. Rusty was a fun childhood dog also. Then I went to college were my boyfriend (now husband) adopted Emily, a “red-bone coonhound” from the shelter. There is no way she had any kind of hound in her whatsoever, but she was red, sooo. Then a year later Zoe, a JRT mix most likely, that showed up at a family friends work. Good hearted family friend took her in but didn’t have the dog-sense to handle a 6 month old JRT so I got her. Then Diego about 5 years later from the pound and Jack the year after that from a rescue. Diego’s results are below (I wish we’d been able to get them for the girls!), and Jack was a bull terrier.

So no. I don’t have any guilt about my purebred poodle puppy that I’ve always wanted. I refuse to let anybody make me feel bad for making what I believe is the best choice for my family. It’s not just adults in this house anymore, and I need to know what I’m getting into. There was a time I adopted from the shelter, as well as fostered litters of newborn puppies and kittens, and I’m positive there will be a time for it in the future, but that time is not now for us. Diego is still with us at 13.5, and is and always has been the most bomb proof dog ever. New pup Starla will fit perfectly into our family, which I know because I know what we can handle and what we can expect.
471354
 

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So I have always adopted rescue dogs. Always. And mostly senior and special needs dogs. I volunteer with rescues and do foster care for both senior dogs and in the past mom cats and kittens for the spca. But I do not feel guilty about my current dog not coming from a rescue org. There isn't anything to feel guilty about as long as you aren't supporting a puppy mill or the likes of that.

Although I do just have to point out, I have fostered hundreds of rescue dogs, now granted mostly smaller dogs and older dogs. But most have been wonderful dogs that have just had a bad life or a bad circumstance. There have only been 2 dogs in all the years I have fostered that I wouldn't have trusted in a family and had severe issues ( one was almost put to sleep as his aggression was so bad towards anyone but the person he bonded to). In the end that one was adopted to a single person who promised to crate him in another room anytime she had guests over. But like I said for the most part my foster dogs have been great. My rescue standard poodle on the other hand was not great, and I have posted about him on here before.
 

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You are not alone.

I think @ptp makes a great point about the general perception being a 2 category choice. I can't blame people for not knowing a 3rd option exists when "30 puppies rescued from a puppy mill" makes the evening TV news or the sad Sarah McLachlan In the Arms of the Angels infomercials at 1:00am guilt tripping you.

 

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My own psycho rant ..We are searching for a puppy or adult dog now. I am ready to give up. I’m checking petfinder daily. I am even checking other breeds. I fostered for rescue for years, we were among the first 100 shelters in America to join petfinder. we have purchased a dog twice, rescued twice. Both purchases were because we had small children at the time. right now imho puppy mill breeder pups sold to rescues. humane society listed one big puppy mill operation who simply formed a 501(c)3 non profit rescue and listed their own puppies as rescues. This afternoon there are 584 puppies listed within 100 miles of my town. Majority of actual puppies are not from NJ. “Found as starving strays in Texas” is Popular. Asking $300-$600 each. One group brings a batch up each month. 95 dogs listed today and new young pups every month. They drive up here and in one day adopt out by prearranged placements. Friend still in statewide rescue says multiple groups are doing this.it’s a business. Complication here is local shelters will mainly have pit bull mixes, or full bred back yard bred dogs. Some used in fighting. Add to this I see groups now placing dogs with a bite history. one group admited dog was a problem and they required you sign away right to sue if injured!
I have never seen so many problem dogs with behavior issues that make the unacceptable to most people being offered by a rescue. I think because the stay home, covid issues emptied shelters, and legit breeders are now planning litters, asking down payments ($200-$1000) for 2021, 2022.

This New Scam Is Tricking People Into Buying Puppy Mill Dogs
 

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trust me- you will be happy with your choice.

I have two rescue dogs -
Deacon the lab ; Agression towards dogs, fearfullness to adults, reactivity, is healthy as far as we know.
Zeus the "American bully" ; Arthritis, Chronic UTI's, awful skin allergies, awful dental, is dog selective, possessive.

All results of awful breeding, a well bred pure bred is the way t go.
 

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Do people who choose to have their own children as opposed to adopting from an orphanage get guilt tripped?
Not usually, as they shouldn't, because it's a complex personal choice that no one really has the right to comment on. Why is it different with dogs for people?
Adopting is awesome, but its merits shouldn't automatically mean that any other choice is taboo.
 

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Oh I have such a hard time with such things. The older I get the more feisty I get about such things. So pardon my bluntness but I get mad on your behalf that people treat you that way. Don't let others 'should' on you. Here's how this ol' dog trainer looks at it:
- if your gut is telling you to go to a breeder, that is the end of the subject. Trust your gut. It rarely lets you down
-all these judgey-judgersons need to listen to what Thumper said on Bambi "if you can't say nuffin nice, don't say nuffin at all". If these folks are friends, they should act like it. It's a personal choice & not up for debate.
-are these folks going to live in your house & live with the consequences? Nope. So once again, they need to just shhhh... the world has enough negative in it without all that mess.

As you can imagine, my dogs come from breeders. I won't make any apology for it. I like to know what I'm getting. I like the predictability. When I get a dog, I have something in mind for that pup: My Giant Schnauzer was bought for her guardian skills, my Collie for her herding instincts & gentleness because she is the watcher of the tiny Chihuahuas & chickens (although the Giant is skilled at this too), my SPOO was selected & purchased for his unique skill set within the breed, he has guardian instincts & is working side by side with my Giant Schnauzer as body guards, estate guards, etc... So pray tell how I'd go to a shelter & select a dog with greater certainty that I will find success? I've trained shelter dogs in large numbers for free & I've seen the "surprises" that you can get.

And aside from all of this, this is the land of the free the home of the brave, it's perfectly okay to go get your puppy from a breeder & I love that health testing is important to you. Let yourself enjoy your choice & nuts to the poo-poo-ers.
 

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If you think that people are being critical now about a dog, just wait until you rear a child. Please don't bother caring about what non-stakeholders think. If you and your husband agree about dog or child, then that is how things are.

Your reasoning sounds perfectly logical. And that's hard when we no longer live in a logical world.
 

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I used to think rescue was always best when I was younger. Because we are led to believe that purebred and mixed rescues are brimming with perfect dogs that are exact matches for what families need. Our family adopted our border collie from a rescue. She was generally a good dog, though not really ideal. She did have some health issues and got bad dementia as she aged. But overall I felt it was a successful experience. And then I tried to find a dog to adopt a few years ago and I had a wildly poor experience. I learned that rescues don't like to adopt to anybody who isn't their perfect ideal candidate and they'd rather hold onto dogs for years than take chances with less than perfect homes. I also learned first hand that getting a dog with an unknown background can lead to extremely unsafe and unmanageable situations in the new home. I had multiple incredibly heart breaking experiences. It caused incredible anxiety, and depression.

After that I was not willing to try it again. My heart could not take it. I also learned that when you need something really specific, you cannot trust rescue descriptions. If you need a dog that is dog friendly, kid friendly, small animal friendly, non reactive, etc... there is no guarantee that your new rescue won't turn into your worst nightmare once they've been in your home a few months and settled in and their true personality starts to show.

I feel like I have PTSD from my experiences trying to rescue. If the perfect rescue dog drops into my lap in the future I will consider it again, but I now feel zero regrets about going with a breeder. When your life requires a dog with specific socialization and behavior, it just isn't sensible to expect that from an adopted dog with an unknown history. Even people who are super involved with rescue dogs will say this. There are plenty of great dogs in shelters. But when you need a specific type of dog to fit into the role you need, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going to an ethical preservation breeder.
 

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Been there. I looked for a dog to adopt: must be small, safe with cats, safe with children, good with other dogs, not a terrier (I find the average terrier personality hard to live with). Any dog meeting those criteria had a waiting list half a mile long.

Cats are easier - come kitten season in normal times it is fairly easy to find happy, healthy kittens in rescue - but adoptable dogs are in extremely high demand in the UK. And here too dogs are being brought in from overseas, some with extreme fear of humans. I have nothing but admiration for those able to take on a damaged dog and, with care and love and patience, gie it a happier life, but where I live I am surrounded by children, adults, cats, dogs, farm animals, etc, etc, and I want and need animals that I can trust from the start.
 

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I was walking Annie, lovely, pure bred Annie, who most people said was the calmest, happiest, most confident puppy they had ever met (people often thought she was a 2 year old mini poodle). A woman stopped and admired and cooed over her, age maybe 5 months? "Oh, what a nice puppy, she is so lovely. So pretty, such a nice temprament" "Thanks, she is wonderful". "What rescue did you get her from?" "None. I got her from a great CKC breeder. "
She snatched back her hand, took a big step back, and her eyes widened. It was as if responsible dog breeder shopping was contagious, and a religious heresy. She stopped admiring my puppy. People are silly and the "Thou shalt RESCUE" preaching had gotten a bit out of hand.

First - how many purebred poodle puppies with great temperaments are in rescue in Canada? Well, you can go on a 2 + year waitlist with poodle rescue. But I would guess the answer is somewhere close to 2 per year in the entire country- most well bred poodles have a return to breeder contract, so don't end up in rescue. The dogs available are either generally old, have multiple difficult to manage health conditions, have aggression issues, or all of the above. Nicer dogs are usually rehomed to a friend or a family member long before they hit rescues. Yes, I am and will be prepared to deal with all those things if they arise with Annie, but I do believe in setting myself up for success. Many of the things I want to do with a dog (hiking, camping, dog sports, etc) are difficult to impossible with an old or sick dog, or a dog with aggression issues.

Second - I would have qualified for basically no shelter or rescue dogs, even if I wanted one. I lived in a rented apartment with no fenced yard and worked. 4 strikes against me there.

Third - I am picky. I needed to be. I wanted a pure bred poodle since I do have allergies and was in a small apartment, no way to keep the dog out of my bedroom. I needed a small dog and cat safe dog, good with travelling, trustworthy offleash.thats a lot of asks! Even if I wasn't picky, dog are in such high demand that the local humane society imported them from the US and overseas, and they never last long. Rescues are in high enough demand that the shelter/rescue can afford high criteria.

I am not saying I won't get a rescue in the future, most of our dogs growing up were what we called "second hand dogs" - no formal rescue, but rehomed with us to have a better life with a more suitable family. Most had some major quirks that needed working through, and would have been easier to deal with as a puppy. But the appearance of those dogs in your life can't be predicted, and for now, I wanted a dog that could do the things I wanted to do. If and when I get another "second hand dog" it will be at a very different time in my life when I can handle a young, poorly trained large breed working dog, who needs a lot more structure and a few thousand hours of training, which are the sort of rescues/rehomed that usually appeal to me.

For your guilting friends - they can get their own rescues. One of my best friends adopted, after great difficulty getting one (months of applying for every small breed that came into the humane society), a small, older mixed breed non shedding dog. He had major food aggression, was returned to the shelter multiple time for aggression, was prone to snapping, was overweight, could barely walk, etc. She has worked wonders with him, but ... He is still not a dog I would ever trust. Now, a few years later, she has a new baby. I expect the dog will end up at her parents house once the baby begins to crawl. It's not the sort of dog you could trust to put up with a child poking it at all, and I anticipate either the dog goes, or it snaps and bites and gets put down. Your kid comes first, and if I was in your situation, I would only consider a puppy from a good breeder, or a well vetted rehome from someone you know, not a rescue. Your kid comes first. Dogs are lovely, but it's not selfish to set yourself up to have the best chance NOT to have to rehome the dog, and NOT to have to put the dog down because it snaps and bites a baby. Doing otherwise, is, IMO, irresponsible dog ownership.
 

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I met a woman last weekend walking her newly adopted rescue spoo. This boy was a mess and his new owner is clueless. I know exactly what breeder he came from: his poor rear assembly and low arousal threshold are hallmarks of a particular breeder who has been discussed here. The breed specific rescue that adopted him out has been bailing out this high volume breeder for nearly a decade, taking in around 90-120 of her dogs each year. No wonder - the rescue charges around $500 in adoption fees for these poodles (versus $200 for their other dogs), which is a big chunk of their annual revenue. The owner of the rescue is pretty savvy when it comes to marketing. She requires potential adopters to visit in person, because it increases donations. She apparently also told the new owner that this 26" boy is a 4.5 month old moyen and show prospect. The new owner is besotted. The boy barked his head off the entire time we spoke.
 

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Liz and others, I really hate seeing "rescues" buying puppies from mills. It is one of the best ways to keep the mills in business. The only way to shut down that chain of supply is to not allow mills to have any outlet for selling. A business that can't keep its inventory moving can't last very long, can it? So that woman you met with the new adoptee sounds like she would buy a literal lemon and the Brooklyn Bridge from a used car salesman if she met one on the curb.

Also Raindrops you made a really good point about rescued dogs in that it can be nearly a year before a rescue trusts the permanency of his new home to really display all of their maladapted behaviors. Owners of these dogs tend to be very happy with the dog and then end up feeling they have to rehome it again because they are ill equipped to deal with behaviors they had at least had hints of from the dog's history but thought they could control or avoid just by being nice to the dog. Dogs can't really read into the story of their lives to understand why the first people gave them away so they have no clue those behaviors won't fly with the next batch of people.
 
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