Rescue Me

For I am mean and stupid, and everyone tells me so because I didn't get the dog they thought I should get.

and in involving puppy mills and pet stores have generated a fair amount of conversation about dogs.

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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sara April 13, 2012 at 03:19 AM
You know... Why doesn't someone write a blog about how great rescuing an animal is or how pitbulls are not dangerous in the right hands? This post, and the comments are all teeming with negativity. Why feed the troll(s)? Just write a piece to contradict any ignorance presented. JMO
DK9 April 13, 2012 at 05:31 AM
Hahaha.....comparing a pitbull to a tiger is only more clear evidence that you are ignorant and uneducated when it comes to dog breeds and behavior. I highly reccomend this be your only and last 'article' on the subject of dog ownership. Facts: German Shepherds have more bite pressure than a pitbull and also have an overall lower score on temperment tests as a breed than pitbulls do.
DK9 April 13, 2012 at 05:42 AM
Obviously you are already very guilty and feel the need to defend yourself with all of these untrue and fabricated excuses for your poor decision making skills. I feel sorry for your pup, who is simply a 'guard dog' to you, and I truly believe that you do not deserve to experience the incredible fulfillment, joy, loyalty, devotion and unconditional love a homeless dog is so desperate to give to someone.
Deborah Bell (Editor) April 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Then how do you account for the reputation pit bulls have? I adore dogs; I had one bad experience one time, and it was with a pit bull. Judging by what I've heard from other dog owners, I'm not the only one. I'd like to hear what you have to say.
Deborah Bell (Editor) April 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Goldie, Tamara isn't intolerant. She's just highly opinionated. She has her view, which she puts up in her blog, and not everyone will agree. But that's what makes it interesting (if annoying, if your opinions diverge.) Please feel free to disagree, though. That's what makes the world go 'round, and the comments section of blogs some of the most interesting stuff to read!
Tamara Winfrey April 13, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Sara this is America (at least, until SCOTUS rules that it isn't). What's stopping you?
Tamara Winfrey April 13, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Pit bulls are the train wreck of dog breeds.
MicMar April 13, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Best way to say you can see both sides is to spend some time at a High Kill shetler. Once you do that you can use fresh perspective to write this blog and maybe then you will understand why the back lash. Are there some animals that have so wronged and abused, unsocialized that they cannot be adopted out, yes. I had pretty much the same opinion of the general public on Pitties until, not when I started volunteering at my local High Kill shelter, but when a stray PB found it's way into my back yard with my dog. I was completely off my rocker scard! I latterly threw my kids in the house shut all the door and honestly thought that my own mutt mix was a gonner being in the same space as the PB. Turns out that Sash (the PB) was too tired, thirsty, and hungry to do much else but lay down in the shade.. I took her a bowl of water and some food which she gobbled and slurped right up and then she crawled in my lap. Shocked doesn't even begin to describe my reaction to this sweet girl. She had been tied up to something in her yard, evidence by the broken rope (no collar, no leash, no tie-out, just a rope) around her neck. Bottom line, don't judge based on situations that you have no experience in. From the rescue/shelter standpoint, back yard breeders and puppy mills are the enemy/issue. RESPONSI;bLE breeders that only breed their dogs once a year (or even better, every other year) and have as strict a screening process for their buyers and rescues do their adopters
MicMar April 13, 2012 at 02:20 PM
are not the issue. Again, I implore anyone who does not understand the animal welfare community's perspective to spend a couple days in it.
MicMar April 13, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Oh, and you might want to check with your homeowners insurance. Most group GSD's right up there with PBs on dangerous dog breeds. They will not only NOT cover you in the event there is an accident, but will just flat cancel your policy when you tell them you own one. This is just an FYI........
Sara April 13, 2012 at 02:53 PM
There's nothing stopping me. However, I have not worked at a shelter and I think that some of the more passionate commenters have. I can offer what delights all of my adopted pets have been but it doesn't touch the back story of shelters and why some of the commenters are so opinionated.
MicMar April 13, 2012 at 05:05 PM
As far as temperament testing on specific breeds, please visit this link. http://atts.org/breed-statistics/
Regina Hope April 13, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Tamara- The above statement just solidifies how little you know about the Pit Bull Breed. I have been volenteering at a shelter for a year now, and during that time I have met some of the most amazing pit bulls not to mention wonderful kind hearted people there. Everyone says they don't want to hear people "educate" them on the subject, but that is exactly what you and other's with this mentality need. Did you know that the Pit Bulls' Were Historically Hired As Baby-Sitters back in the day? Pit bulls get a bad rap because of irresponsible owners today, and we who have grown to love them will stike up for them every chance we get. So keep it coming.
Tracee April 14, 2012 at 05:24 AM
What is wrong with a Pit Bull? You got a German Shepard. Go educated yourself and see which one really has more bites recorded. Comments like that is what get BSL passed. BY the way, a lot of communities ban Shepherds as well.So if you don't want your little pure bred puppy dragged off to be killed because he looks a certain way, maybe you should think about what you say. Discrimination is wrong!
Tracee April 14, 2012 at 05:32 AM
I have been attacked by a German Shepard and chased by chi's when I was little. I am more scared of them than any other breed. Smaller dogs like Poms are nicknamed baby killers. Shepard's have unpredictable temperaments. Any dog can be aggressive in the right hands. If you walked in my house today, my Pittie mix may lick you to death and beat you with her tail. My toy poodle mix will jump on you and scratch your legs. My little Pom will bark and snarl and then cower. We believe that she was abused. If you try to pet any one of my dogs, the only one that will nip is the Pom. They were all 3 rescues. They were all 3 found in different situations and only one is pure bred...the aggressive one.
Leanne Baker April 15, 2012 at 02:32 PM
There are no bad dogs, just bad dog owners. Pits, GSD, Poodles, Chis, Labs...they all can and will bite if they feel they need to. I have purchased dogs from breeders and unfortunately one from a puppy mill. We couldnt keep her. Even after a very long time and hard work she just never came around. We found her a great one person household. The GSD died within 2 years due to cancer. We now have a mixed breed mutt. I have been looking for a Lab puppy or Golden Retriever puppy. I cannot find one anywhere remotely close to me, unless I want to pay over 400.00 dollars. There are NO rescues anywhere close by either so they wouldnt consider me because I live to far and the application and interview, etc...its like a job interview. I do understand their reasoning but they should also loosen up a bit. Our local animal shelter is for people who live inside the city limits onlly, to drop off I mean. And the do not vet them or know anything about them so when adopting you have NO idea what you are getting. It really is sad. Most people in my area just take the dogs out to the country and dump them, or dump them on the interstate median. We have rescued so many on our county road and found homes for them. Someone even dumped 2 purebred Pug puppies. I understand people's fear of Pits. I admit, I'm a little fearful of them myself. I do not know much about the breed as I have never owned one. I have had Labs and GSD and know those breeds very well. I have even bred Labs. My 2 cents worth.
Leanne Baker April 15, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Oh yeah, I also want to share this link from a rescue. This is why I dont adopt from them...sadly I know...but if I were to pay this kind of many for a puppy I better get some good papers on the darn thing...LOL...kidding of course. But this is just wrong, IMO http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/22627453
Leanne Baker April 15, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Oh, and one more thing, Tamara, your pup is gorgeous. I bet he will be stunning when he is an adult. If he has great bloodlines he would make a great stud as well.
PitMommy April 17, 2012 at 01:08 PM
I don't care how this woman got her dog. More power to her, my family had 3 pure-breed Shepard, and a pure bred English Springer Spaniel, all amazing animals. I personally have an glorious rescue pit/mix that is great with people, cats etc. Only thing she isn't good with is her poor rope toy... she beats the crap out of that thing! She protects me, listens to me, cuddles with me and is a great girl. Assuming a shelter can't be a loyal or obedient companion and guard dog is like assuming an adopted child is going to end up in jail or pregnant at 14, that is just ridiculous, you get what you give. Obviously, you're not going to get a timid shelter dog and expect a guard dog, but you're not going to get a timid pure bred Shepard and expect a guard dog either. (Not all shepards are great guard dogs, there is testing that goes into selling a dog for guarding, hunting, tracking, seeing eye qualities, etc.) Just in case anyone is interested.... here is a list of all of the 75 banned/restricted breeds. Yes, that is 75!!!! So since Pits make up 1, who are the other 74??? Is YOUR dog on the list? There is a good chance it is! http://peekaboo420420.hubpages.com/hub/List_Of_75_Banned_Or_Restricted_Breeds_Is_your_Dog_On_The_New_List
Leanne Baker April 17, 2012 at 05:34 PM
That list is bogus. I see its from an organization for the western states. The west coast states do have higher restrictions then the midwest obviously. But to put breeds like the Labrador or Golden Retriever on that list is ludacrous. They are the number 1 dogs registered with AKC. I have owned several and never have they given a reason to be banned for any reason, well maybe size reasons. Like I posted, there are NO BAD DOGS, just BAD DOG OWNERS!
Renee Vogler April 17, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Tamara why pick on pit bulls and ask why not a tiger? I have a 3 year old female pit bull that was hung on a rope and used as bait during dog fights. She came to us bloody, bruised and with 5 bullets in her. Fast forward 2 years, an amazing vet, numerous months of healing and a loving family and she is now the most wonderful dog we ever had. Do you know a human who would endure that and still wag their tail and happily greet children and adults in the park or on the street? We have another pit rescue with no medical issues but who is also snuggling on the couch with my 7 year old as I write this. Not only are you naive about the dogs in a shelter and what they are capable of BUT you have no clue about pit bulls. Speak about something you know....like stereotyping .
Renee Vogler April 17, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Pit bulls are more capable of a more educated opinion than you are Tamara
Saanco3 April 20, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Actually there are "bad dogs" out there. Dogs have been bred for certain traits. Some of these breeds are bred for the aggressive behavior. They did research spanning 50 + years on silver foxes. They would separate the timid pups from the more aggressive ones. They did this with every litter and bred timid with timid and aggressive with aggressive. There is a remarkable difference in the foxes from 50 years of doing this. The aggressive ones are extremely aggressive. One of the people there just put her hand up to the cage and was bitten. The timid ones are extremely timid, as well as they started to change physical characteristics. For example, their tails would curl onto their backs. So yes some dogs who are bred certain ways can be "bad". Because of bad owners. As in regards to the lab being dangerous. Any dog can be dangerous. My niece had a lab. She was leaving to go to work, and she kissed the dog as she always had for many years. The dog then attacked her. The dog showed no signs. My niece had to have several plastic surgeries to fix her wounds. I am all for "rescuing" a shelter dog. I have for the most part only had shelter dogs. It doesn't matter where you get a dog from, all that matters is doing research. Research on the breed of dog, research on the shelter or the breeder. If you get an animal from a breeder you should be able to see the parents of the pup. Puppy mills in my opinion are the worst thing ever. If you do not know what a puppy mill is, do some....
Saanco3 April 20, 2012 at 05:13 PM
research. There are a lot of reputable breeders out there. You need to be cautious of the ones who do not let you see the parents or walk freely around to see all the animals. That means they are hiding something. Dogs from puppy mills tend to be more difficult to "rescue". Since they have been locked up in a cage their whole lives or their parents are siblings, you never know what kind of issues they will have. I will shut up now. Your GSD is gorgeous. But what is up with his ear?
Saanco3 April 20, 2012 at 05:15 PM
One more thing. I think you need to remove the chocker coller if he is already trained. Get him a harness instead. JMO.
Saanco3 April 20, 2012 at 05:16 PM
choker* collar*
Tamara Winfrey April 20, 2012 at 05:51 PM
@Saanco3 His ears have straightened themselves out since that photo. He is still at an age where the cartilage is developing. We're looking at harnesses. ITA about meeting the parents & walking around freely to see all the animals.
Saanco3 April 20, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Ohh, I thought it looked cute like that (his ear). I really like the harnesses for pets. ITA= ???????
Tamara Winfrey April 20, 2012 at 10:44 PM
ITA = I Totally Agree
Saanco3 April 20, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Oh, ok. Duh on my part. lol


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