Looking for a Great Family Dog? Try Your Local Shelter

T’akaya the Brilliant Border Collie, adopted from BC SPCA North Cariboo branch seven years ago.

I am, admittedly, a dog person.  I think that often the only thing missing to complete a family is a great family dog.  I’ve been fortunate.  Not only do I have Winston the Wonder Chihuahua, I also have T’akaya the Brilliant Border Collie.  She is the very definition of a great family dog.

Every now and again, though, I get a yen to add a third dog, a puppy, to our family.  After all, Winston the Wonder Chihuahua is undisputedly mine, and T’akaya is a Daddy’s girl.  I really do love the idea of getting Norton his very own puppy.  Of course, the husband always reminds me that this is not the best idea right now, as Norton and another puppy would require a lot of supervision.  Norton won’t be ready to have a puppy that sleeps in his room for another few years.

Still, every now and again, I browse our local Kijiji site.  (That’s Canada’s equivalent of eBay Classifieds.)

What I see makes me insane.

Our local animal shelter periodically lists some of the highly adoptable dogs and puppies that they have on Kijiji.  Along with the shelter pups, I see something else that annoys me: “designer dogs.”

There’s a really simple name out there for your “Chaweenie” (that’s what a local seller called her Chihuahua Dachshund cross puppies) or “Boglen Terrier” (or Beagle/Boston Terrier cross).  It’s called a “mutt.”  And I’m sorry, but I have a really hard time with the concept of paying someone $500 or more for what is essentially a mutt.  When I was growing up, these puppies would have been given away for free outside the grocery store.  I have an even harder time with the concept of paying someone $500 or more for what is essentially irresponsible breeding.

You see, I have a few ideas about breeding… and this is as someone who grew up with parents who bred Chows and Miniature Pinschers at various points of her childhood.  Breeding should only be done with registered dogs.  They should also contribute something to the breed.  It also shouldn’t be something that’s done for a profit, but for the love of promoting the best traits of the breed.

Yes, Winston is theoretically a purebred Chihuahua.  He’s also not registered and has terrible, terrible breeding flaws.  He’s neutered because I feel that to use him for stud would actually be a detriment to the breed.  T’akaya the Brilliant Border Collie is actually a Border Collie/Husky cross.  We didn’t pay someone hundreds of dollars for a breeding experiment.  We got her from the same place that I expect to get our next pup: the local animal shelter.  She is, by far, one of the best dogs that I’ve ever had.

And she was rescued.  Bringing her home with us did not reward someone financially for being an irresponsible pet owner.  Instead, it saved her.  Our local shelter is a kill shelter.  Most local shelters are.

So if you’re out for a great family dog and aren’t interested in pedigrees, don’t go through a pet store (which are often puppy mill pups) or your local paper.  Give your local shelter a shot.  You just might find that perfect family addition.  And you could also save a life.

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

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