Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Random Rant: A Plush Pup Would Be The Best Option

Often times, people will reach out to me about pup related stuff. They may have a question or two about homemade dog treats and meals, recommendations for flea & tick solutions, etc. Scattered among these messages and emails are ones asking if we know of any shelters in the area who may have a (insert breed and size) pup up for adoption. In the past, we've referred people to various shelters. However, once in a blue moon, an emails rolls in that leaves me running around in circles...backwards.

The most recent was a few months ago. Someone reached out asking if I knew of anyone who had a small dog, preferably a "novelty" breed such as a Chorkie or Teacup Pup, who was low maintenance, didn't bark much and would be ideal for their small child as the pup would be a gift. The kicker was the last sentence.

"You know, a dog like your Lobo..."

By the time I reached the last sentence of their email, I was thoroughly annoyed.

What do I even say to that?

I wrote back and asked if they wanted to adopt from a shelter or rescue group. Their reply sent me over the edge.

"Whichever is cheapest."

After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I got up from my desk, paced, did some housework, prepped dinner, and cracked open a bottle of wine.

Two hours later, I replied. At the top of my reply, I included this photo.

Thank you so much for reaching out. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be much help in your quest. I did manage to locate the perfect pup for you. This. Yes, it's a plush. It's probably not what you're looking for, however, while I have your attention, I'd like to offer a bit of sound advice based on what you mentioned in your email. It might shed some light on why a plush would be the best option for you. 

First, our Lobo does not fall into the category of being a novelty breed and he's certainly not low maintenance. Lobo was rescued when he was on death's door. Thanks to a remarkable team of people, including the ACO involved, doctors and the community who donated money to assist with his medical expenses, he is with us today. 

One of Lobo's hind legs had to be amputated and the other, at some point, sustained an injury. His single hind leg is weak. He's not able to go up or down stairs, jump on furniture and he tires easily. Lobo also tested Lyme positive. Although under control, there is the possibility, down the road, his mobility will be less than it is today.

Lobo also has anxiety issues. It's not nearly as bad as it was when we adopted him, however, leaving him home alone for more than a few hours is not an option. We've also had to make adjustments in our home because of his disability. This includes, but is not limited to, covering most of the linoleum kitchen floor with scatter rugs and runners and removing the bed frame from our bed. 

If I didn't work at home, we would not have been able to adopt Lobo. I don't even want to think about that, so that's all I'll say.

Second, when you say, "whichever is cheapest," I'm going to assume you're not interested in forking out extra money to have a pup. Or, maybe, you're just unaware that having a pup costs money. Whatever the case may be, please know that pups need annual checkups, flea, tick, and heartworm preventative, grooming, nail trims, vaccinations, etc. If you neglect any of that, your pup could suffer from a slew of health issues such as skin infections, heartworm, Lyme disease, mites, mange, etc. Treating those health issues will require more money too.

On top of that, if they get sick, you'll have to take them to the doctors. They may need medications. Prescriptions are not cheap. Or, some pups have food allergies and require specially formulated food. You may even need to hire a professional trainer if there are behavioral issues. The list goes on. Are you prepared for that?

Third, while there are breeds who aren't as high maintenance as others, pups require a lot of time, attention, training, exercise, etc. If you slack off in any of these areas, you'll be faced with a multitude of potential problems. This could include separation anxiety, excessive chewing, barking, ripping apart furniture, urinating in the house, etc. Any of such behaviors will not be the fault of the pup. It's your fault. 

Last, but not least, pups are not intended to be gifts. Having a pup is a lifetime commitment. There are expenses involved and, as mentioned, they require love, attention, exercise, training, time, etc. Adding a pup to your family should only happen if you're able to commit to this in all areas.

Pups should never be given as gifts. Ever. I've visited countless shelters and have spent time with dozens of pups who were brought to the shelter because they were gifts. After the novelty wore off, the kid was no longer interested. Video games, sports, and everything else was more important than the pup. The parent/s didn't have time or weren't interested in taking care of the pup. End result, owner surrenders the pup to the closest shelter. 

My reply to your email may not be what you were expecting or hoping for. It may even piss you off. However, I'd rather skip down the path of unpopular than bite my tongue. I've seen too much, read too many stories and witnessed what happens when a pup is dropped off at a shelter. It breaks my heart. 

Thank you, 



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