I had a break-in last year, and I decided to get a guard dog. After careful consideration, I purchased a pedigreed German shepherd puppy. With his obedience, intelligence and loyalty, Jericho is everything I need in a dog.
He is my not-so-little prince, and is still growing at about 3 ½ months of age. He follows me wherever I go, and we go for walks twice a day in our neighborhood. Most of the other dog owners I encounter are just like anyone else. However, some of them get on my nerves.
They ask me where I got Jericho. When I tell them I bought him, they love to tell me all about how they got theirs from a rescue or a shelter. It’s obvious from their tone that I’m being judged for picking a dog to suit my needs and not "saving a life."
A few of them go into lecture mode, and I am already tired of it. I thought I was going to run into breed snobs. I never dreamed the majority of arrogance I would encounter would be from rescue people.
They saved a dog’s life and are giving it a loving home. Who would argue with that? No one is against saving pets that previously had a less than pleasant existence. The problem with this is that no one looks past the sparkly rainbow sheen to see many of the problems with adopting a troubled animal.
“Saving a life” is all that matters to them. No one seems to care that Jericho is my first dog, or that a shelter dog can be deadly in inexperienced hands. No one cares that I needed a guard dog, or that it would have been unreasonable to expect the level of obedience and loyalty I need from a rescue animal.
Jericho is a service dog because his job is protection, but people only care that I didn’t “save a life.” Rescues make good companions, but I needed more than that. I had to make sure I had a dog with the history and characteristics to meet my needs. I could have adopted any dog, but not any dog would have been capable of this job.
“You should have gotten your dog at a shelter.” “All breeders are evil.” “Yeah, I got a rescue dog because I wanted to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.” The judgmental comments from total strangers only get worse. They never ask why I chose my dog. They just assume that I am mean and stupid.
I am taken aback at blunt comments vilifying legitimate breeders, and people who purchase pedigreed pets instead of going to shelters for animals. Rescue dogs are not for everyone, but people don’t want to hear that. They want to look down on me from their mountain of self-righteousness and tell me how to live to the last detail—right down to what kind of dog I should be allowed to have.
This isn’t about other dog owners, or saving dogs. This is about conceited people who want to feel better about themselves by putting me down with passive-aggressive remarks. People who want to adopt shelter dogs should do it—it’s a good thing if they know what they are doing and it's what they need. They just shouldn’t be so arrogant about it.