Adopt, Don’t Shop

Did you know that thousands of animals are euthanised each year because they’ve been abandoned by their owners and the shelters don’t have enough room for them.  At the same time, puppy and kitten farms are breeding as many animals, in horrendous conditions, just so that people can have the exact breed that they want.

At what point did having a companion animal become akin to owning a designer handbag?  Is society so self indulgent that having a companion animal has become all about “the brand?”  I can’t comprehend the idea that anyone could go to a puppy farm or a pet shop when there are so many animals in need of a loving home.  Healthy animals who will be put to death simply because someone didn’t want them any more.

Andy and I have always loved the idea of having a dog but never thought it would be possible because of us being in rented accommodation.  But one day we figured, why not just ask the question?  So we did, and much to our delight both our landlord and strata agreed that we could keep a dog on the property.  It was a never a question that we would adopt and so we made contact with Monika’s Doggie Rescue and arranged to meet some of their dogs.

Monika was lovely to deal with and it was clear that a key part of the adoption process was ensuring that the dog matched the owners in terms of rescue experience and lifestyle.  We submitted our application form, spoke to Monika on the phone and arranged to meet three dogs who were a match.

I can’t remember the last time I was so excited.  We drove out to the rescue shelter on a Saturday and got to meet Franklin, Whiskey and Buddy.  We were encouraged to take each dog for a walk, feed them some treats and take them to the car to see whether they felt comfortable hopping in.  It was a wonderful but heartbreaking experience.  So many dogs needed a home and we could only offer one.

All of the dogs were fantastic but there was something about Buddy that just seemed to click.  I have this clear memory of him being brought out to meet us and the first thing he did was plonk himself right in front of me, sitting politely, waiting for a treat.  There was so much expression in his little face and I think I fell in love with him right there.

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We then got to take Buddy out for a few hours to see how we all got on together.  We went for a drive, found a cafe for some lunch and then had a wander around the park.  It was wonderful and all I wanted to hear was that I would be allowed to take him home and give him the love and care he deserved.

When we got back we were told that we could arrange for some more visits with Buddy or that we could adopt him straight away.  I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to take him home with us and so that’s what we did.  It might seem like a decision taken lightly but Andy and I had been discussing getting a dog for years and had a clear idea of what we would provide a dog as a family.  We always agreed that we wouldn’t get a dog if it was going to be left at home 9 hours a day while we were at work.  As it goes we’re in the privileged position of Andy owning his own business so we’d agreed that the dog would go to work with him.

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Buddy was rescued from Blacktown Pound so we don’t know much about his history.  He’s between 7 and 8 years old, has a torn ear, not many teeth and a bowed leg.  He’s also the most loving and friendly dog and brings absolute joy into our lives.  We’ve had Buddy as part of the family for nearly 4 months now and I honestly can’t imagine life without him.  He sleeps next to our bed, heads off to work each day with Andy and runs at me for cuddles when he gets home at night.

I can’t bear to think what might have happened to my beautiful Buddy if Monika hadn’t rescued him from the pound.  Would he have been put down too?

We are a nation of animal lovers and yet we do so much harm to those we claim to care about.  Having a companion animal is wonderfully fulfilling and I think if you’re in a position to provide a loving and stable home then you should absolutely look at adoption.  Don’t give fuel to the cruel industry of puppy and kitten farms.  There are thousands of animals out there who desperately need a home.  You can give an animal in need a better life.  You can save a life.

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