Letter: Owner is key, not the breed of dog
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
As a dog lover who runs a breed-specific rescue and has been a shelter volunteer for more than 20 years, I took great offense at the misrepresentation in a letter to the editor March 30 regarding mixed breed dogs and dogs in general at shelters. Shelters often have more purebred dogs than mixed breeds, and most dogs in shelters or rescues are not there because the dog has a defect, is ill or is bad, but because people do not understand what pet ownership involves when they get a dog, or are not guided as to what breed or mixed breed to choose.
Of all the dogs we take into our rescue it is the mixes, "the accidents," that are the best we adopt out, not showing the negative traits inherent in the breed. A purebred puppy from even a reputable breeder is still no guarantee this dog will be an ideal family member. By adopting a dog, young or senior, you actually know more about the dog you are getting than the puppy you buy.
Puppy mills should be banned; people should spay and neuter, not buy from a pet store or through the Internet, and "designer breeds" should not be perpetuated. But until these things happen, it is best to educate the public about choosing the right dog.
By adopting from your local animal shelter or breed rescue you are not adding to pet overpopulation. Locally, our very own Berkshire Humane Society has amazing dogs up for adoption, with a group of dedicated staff members who tirelessly train, work with and love the dogs in their care. You will be matched with a dog best suited to your situation and lifestyle, and guided to the right dog just as we do in rescue. Of all the hundreds of dogs adopted from shelters or rescues, more often than not a forever match is made.
Do not shop. Adopt.