Warning! A Few Things You Should Know Before Getting A Puppy From A Shelter

I’ve bought three dogs in my life prior to the one I recently brought home from a shelter – and all three came from backyard breeders.

The first two were Rottweiler/German Shepherd mix brothers (from the same litter) that were sired by the 3/4 Rott 1/4 German Shepherd dog from next door who beat the purebred Rott to the party.  The third was a purebread Rott.

The two mixes were as healthy as could be.  The purebread Rott had an umbilical hernia – for which the breeder took full financial responsibility.

No other health issues.

The two brothers were housetrained in five days.  The purebred Rott was housetrained in a long (albeit very long!!!) July 4th weekend.

Furthermore, I had a pretty good idea what I was getting when I got my backyard-bred pups.  I was able to see both parents (although in the case of the two mix brothers, I had to look over the fence to see the daddy).

And they were healthy.  The two Rott/Shepherd mixes used to go with me on three-day backpacking trips in the Willamette National Forest.  I would hike 12-14 miles a day, while the dogs chased each other through the trees.  They would EASILY run over 300 miles in those three days.  That’s healthy.

Now let me compare that to my little shelter baby.

First of all, you don’t get a whole lot of an idea what kind of a dog you’re getting, what breed it is, or how big it will likely be, if you get a puppy from a city/county shelter.  That may not matter to you.  But if it does, be aware.

In my own case, I got a “hound mix” puppy.  What’s a hound mix?  There are 23 breeds under the category “hound.”  Moreover, the card said she was 2 months old.  But what does that mean?  If the puppy is 7 weeks old, how do they classify it?  What if it’s 11 weeks old?  There’s very little information to go on, and the employees’ knowledge tends to pretty much conform to the card.  If you’re looking for a anything specific, good luck at the shelter.

It turns out my “hound mix” was a part Dachshund, part Labrador puppy.  A Dachsador.  She’s very cute, but I wouldn’t have picked her if I’d known she was part Dachshund.  Without meaning to disparage Dachshunds, I was looking for a bigger, more athletic, and hopefully less stubborn, dog than a Dachshund.

That said, she IS real cute.

Here’s some pictures of my little Dachsador darling:

She’s a cute little Dachsador, isn’t she?  She’s got webbed feet, like a lab, but her legs shorter than a Lab’s, while her body is longer.  At this point, she’s got a nice, athletic, low-center of gravity without being overly “Dachshundy.”  I hope she stays that way.

Even though she wasn’t what I’d set out to adopt, I loved her right away, and wasn’t about to take her back once I found out about the “weiner dog” part.

Well, read on.

The next thing I discovered was that, having lived in a cage for a good two weeks, in which this little piddle-and-poop machine was allowed out maybe twice a day if she was lucky, she was MUCH MUCH harder to housetrain than a non-shelter puppy from a backyard ever was.

If you get a puppy from a shelter, just realize that the staff have literally trained it to be at home laying around its own waste.  You will have a much more difficult time housebreaking your cute little shelter rescue.

But that isn’t the end of it, either.

In my case, I went to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus and bought myself a disease machine, as well.

The Coachella Valley Shelter has a seven day policy during which they will take some degree of responsibility for an animal’s medical condition.  After that, they will impolitely tell you, you are entirely on your own.

In the seven days you have, there is no possible way to find out that your puppy doesn’t have a potentially serious issue.  You rolls the dice and takes your chances.

First it was bordatella, aka kennel cough.  I noticed my puppy was coughing/wretching in a nasty way.  I didn’t know what it was.  Did I tell you that I’ve always obtained my puppies from backyard breeders, and that I’d never had any problems?

That wasn’t good.  But I got ten days’ worth of antibiotics, and it seemed to take care of the problem.

But read on.

Next I began to discover that my little girl had little patches of hair loss.  At first I thought it was from fleas and scratching, so I waited until after she’d had her stitches out from her spaying and gave her a flea bath.

To no avail.

I took her to the Animal Samaritan Hospital for her third multi- shot, and asked to see a vet to diagnose her.  They didn’t have any available vets, as it was “spay and neuter” day, so I got an appointment.

Then I took her next door to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus, hoping to get her seen by a veterinarian there, and was basically treated like slime for suggesting that – given the fact that the puppy they sold me had two serious diseases – they should maybe help me deal with the problem.

Did I tell you about that backyard breeder who took total responsibility of the puppies she sold?

I insisted that it was only right that a vet at least look at her, and the senior vet tech came out, and, without bothering to look at the puppy, started telling me off.  I asked her if it bothered her that she was selling diseased puppies that would literally make a lot of puppy mills look good by comparison?  She indignantly said that the puppy was NOT diseased.

REALLY, MISSES MEDICAL EXPERT?

  • ‘Kennel Cough’ is the term that was commonly applied to the most prevalent upper respiratory problem in dogs in the United States. Recently, the condition has become known as tracheobronchitis, canine infectious tracheobronchitis, Bordetellosis, or Bordetella. It is highly contagious in dogs. The disease is found worldwide and will infect a very high percentage of dogs in their lifetime.
  • Demodicosis, also known as red mange or “demodex”, is a common skin disease of dogs

Here’s a picture of what this “non-disease” can do to a dog:

Then the “senior vet tech” added insult to stupid.  She personally villified me, loudly telling me that I had been nasty since the very first day I had come in, and that she wasn’t going to deal with me any more.

The problem was that 1) I’d never seen this woman before, nor she me, so how could she know how I had acted?  And 2) I have been in that facility a total of four previous times (to pick out a pup, to take the pup home, to get the border kennel antibiotics, to have her stitches out), with either a friend or family member with me each time.  I had never been anything other than pleasant.  I’d never felt that I had any reason to be unpleasant prior to this moment.

The vet tech was trying to demagogue me, turn me into an “angry man” who had no credibility, so that others wouldn’t take what I was saying seriously.

I walked out.  I’ll never darken the door to that shelter again.

The funny thing was I went looking for a mixed breed at the county shelter because I had decided that “mixed breeds” were healthier.  But not from a government animal shelter, they aren’t.

Here’s the bottom line: think twice before you get a dog from a shelter, especially if it’s a puppy.  People love the “politically-correct” aspect of an animal shelter, and how they “rescued” a dog or cat.

If you’re about rescuing a dog or cat, and don’t care how much it will cost you in vet bills, how much suffering your pet may have to endure due to diseases, or how much destruction will likely happen to your carpet before you finally have housetraining under control, then by all means, get your dog from a shelter.  Just do it with your eyes wide open.

Don’t think I’m mocking people who do the above.  I am familiar with people who actually deliberately seek out dogs with serious health issues.  They love dogs, and are willing to go to the wall for animals no one else would want.

On the other hand, if you just want a good, healthy pet, with the least amount of potential horror story to await you, then start looking around the backyards.

Animal shelters are trying to do the right thing.  I wouldn’t argue that.  But you should read Andersonville, just as one example, so you can see that good intentions can literally pave the road to hell.  In the case of Andersonville (or the Union equivalent at Elmira, New York), there were too many inmates and too few resources.  And horror resulted.

At some point, even people who want to do the right thing become part of the disease and horror that they take part in.  This vet tech refused to look at that; so she lashed out at me as “the enemy” instead.  Even though all I wanted was a little help taking care of an animal who had had two serious diseases inflicted on her as a result of the shelter’s kennels.

When I was in the outer kennels of the Coachella Valley Animal Campus, I saw that a good 2/3rds of the dogs were lying in their own feces, their own urine, or in too many cases, both.  There are WAY too many dogs there for the staff to even begin to adequately take care of.

I should have known then what I might be getting myself into.

The Campus is a beautiful facility.  But somebody spent all the money on the appearance of the facility, rather than budgeting for the cost of actually caring for the animals.

This mange might clear up, but from what I’m told, there is a very real possibility that it will be a long-term, very persistent, very expensive condition.

I just wanted a good, healthy dog.

I could take this puppy back to the shelter and say, “YOU deal with her.”  It would satisfy my sense of poetic justice – particularly if I was able to hand her to that vile vet tech.  But that’s just not the way I roll.  I took responsibility for this animal, even if I got screwed by a dirty, disease-ridden, bureaucratic-ridden den of incompetence.

Say what you want about how anti-pc I am, but I will NEVER get a dog from an animal shelter again.  And I strongly advise you that caveat emptor applies more at your government animal shelter than it does your used car lot.

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18 Responses to “Warning! A Few Things You Should Know Before Getting A Puppy From A Shelter”

  1. TPG Says:

    This was a very interesting post. I feel obliged to share some professional insights:

    ‘Kennel Cough’ is common in boarding/kennel/dog social facilities. It’s a bacteria that acts very much like the virus we call a cold. It is utterly common for a dog in a shelter to be exposed to this. Treatment is a simple medication regimen. There are immunizations (both sprayed into the nose as well as a shot) for this to lessen odds at it recurring if you board, or take your dog to a daycare, dog parks, etc. in the future. It’s very common.

    The greatest concern is a bad story, someone who had a bad circumstance, then saying to everyone: Don’t adopt from shelters period. It wasn’t a matter of: Beware adopting from (x) shelter, it was all shelters. This kind of blanket statement is like saying ‘I got mugged by (X) race of human, therefor all of that race is bad…..Grow a brain. Especially, if that race is the same as yours. Nothing drives home a point like that.

    Problem is: People who adopt from shelters and have happily ever afters aren’t as prone to writing about it. When the weather report is off, noticably, people point it out to one another. But when was the last time someone turned to you and said: The weather today is exactly the temperatures they predicted, hooray! Who wrote or called the weatherman and said: good job?

    Writing off shelters, and the myriad range of qualities of their care, as well as the conditions of the dog, because of one bad experience is pure ignorance. Back yard breeders have notorious stories written that would horrify and disturb you. But in no way does that mean there aren’t good resources out there that are quality innate. It means, life is variable out there, and so are ethics. Don’t resort to blanket statements, use your head and find the good things in every realm.

    So, before you – dear reader – take this original post as gospel and denounce all shelters and pets within it because some stranger on the net posted a strong opinion, (or exempt caution with backyard breeders) please consider all options to adopt with your own mind and eyes. I bet you’ll see some very different things. A big range and spectrum of good and bad within it. I’ve seen the goods and bads in both. Research and get trusted guides, hire someone to screen, and that will be the empowerment you need to success.

    And, if you want to have a buffer to guide and prevent you from making common mistakes in adopting, from breeders or shelters, a highly skilled professional trainer or vet tech who will moonlight a bit can be a wonderful asset to your search, providing you with insights and directions that will protect your goals. We can prevent our ignorance (we can’t be highly knowledgeable about everything we do, so hire help when things are important like this) from the demise of your goals with simple prevention.

  2. Michael Eden Says:

    ‘Kennel Cough’ is common in boarding/kennel/dog social facilities… It is utterly common for a dog in a shelter to be exposed to this.

    TPG,

    Thank you for making my point for me.

    As you point out, it’s COMMON in animal shelters. Getting an animal from a shelter is tantamount to asking, “I would like an animal with a serious disease that will cost me thousands of dollars to treat.”

    For the record, and what you omit in your comment, is that my dog – whom I love, for the record – didn’t just receive bordetella. And bordetella is serious enough that it can KILL. And it is so serious that dogs have to be immunized against it. She also received a serious skin infection that can make a dog’s life miserable until the day it is put down to spare it further suffering.

    When I went back to see what kind of assistance I could get to help deal with the mange condition, I was treated like vermin. I thought I would be going to an environment in which we all had the puppy’s best interest at heart. But the shelter’s view was, “We got rid of our problem. We no longer give a damn about your stupid dog.”

    The Coachella Valley Animal Campus let me down. And worse yet, it let my puppy down. It allowed my puppy to be infected with TWO serious diseases, and then refused to do anything whatsoever to help me in any way, shape, or form, expect to tell lies about me to marginalize what happened to my puppy when it was in their care.

    I gave the analogy of the Civil War prisoner camp at Andersonville. The people who ran it didn’t start out wanting to be monsters. But they became monsters nevertheless. They didn’t have the resources to adequately provide food, clothing, or shelter for the prisoners of war under their care. And so there was mass starvation, mass disease, and death by neglect. In the case of my puppy, well, she spent most of her day in her own waste, and got serious diseases, but at least she got fed.

    Maybe you don’t think that shelter should be held responsible. But I do. Maybe you don’t think that the shelter should do something when the animals they adopt have serious diseases. But I do.

    I would like to point out that ANY dog is a rescue. If you get a puppy from a backyard kennel – where it most likely WON’T have these serious diseases, unlike the animal shelter – you are “saving” a dog. I mean, what would happen if nobody adopted the dog at the backyard kennel???

    I read the last paragraph, and it sounds like you’re entirely happy that animal shelters have diseased animals. Because it gives you a “market niche” to help people avoid one of the worst-diseased candidates. For a price.

    I, on the other hand, offered the same service for free. Because I said, “Avoid those shelters. Get a dog from a decent backyard breeder.” Because I’ve used backyard breeders all my life, and had healthy dogs. It wasn’t until I went to an animal shelter that I encountered these diseases.

    For the record, I am not a backyard breeder. I have never been a backyard breeder. Nor is anyone in my family a backyard breeder. But I every dog I have ever had until the current came from a backyard breeder; and every dog until now was perfectly healthy.

    Caveat Emptor.

  3. Michele Says:

    Throughout my life, I’ve gotten seven dogs from various humane societies and dog pounds. Of those seven, 100% have been healthy–without serious health problems, and only one has had any health problems at all. Six out of seven is an 86% success rate for getting perfectly healthy pets from shelters. Of those seven, three lived healthy lives beyond fifteen years, three are still with us (one’s 17 and still spry like a 10 year old), and one sadly was hit by a car. Overall, the pets I’ve gotten from shelters have had less health problems than MOST of my friends’ and family’s dogs from breeders. Even you have gotten only 2/3, or 67% healthy dogs from breeders. (My pound-pups have been house-trained as if not more easily than most of their dogs too).
    Did I tell you that six of the seven dogs I’ve gotten from shelters have been perfectly healthy? As for the one that did have a problem, the lady from the humane society called a few days after we’d adopted her and said two dogs there tested for demodex and we should get her checked. She had it, was treated, and has been fine since (two years). And if I’d known before we got her, I’d still do it–of course!!! You see, dogs are living things, NOT cars, shelters are rescue centers, NOT used car lots, and people that adopt are looking for an addition to their family, NOT an object to be valued for its athleticism, center of gravity(?), whether it’s 7 or 11 weeks old, or heated leather seats. Did I tell you I’ve had 86% perfectly healthy dogs from shelters? And 100% without any serious problems! Let me add that the loyalty and love from rescued dogs is immeasurable. And that’s really what it’s all about.
    You said:
    “If you’re about rescuing a dog or cat, and don’t care how much it will cost you in vet bills, how much suffering your pet may have to endure due to diseases, or how much destruction will likely happen to your carpet before you finally have housetraining under control, then by all means, get your dog from a shelter.”
    Then you actually followed it with “Don’t think I’m mocking people who do the above.” Really? You aren’t? If not, how stupid to think anyone wouldn’t care how much cost, suffering, and destruction await them. Problem is, adopting a pet rarely has these consequences, and your statement is beyond misleading.
    How sad for you and your pets that you feel that way. But even sadder that you put it on here and spread it like advice. I hope your readers know better. The appreciation and adoration you get from a rescued dog (and believe me–they know they’re rescued) is PRICELESS!

  4. Michael Eden Says:

    Even you have gotten only 2/3, or 67% healthy dogs from breeders.

    For the factual record, you are incorrect; I have NEVER had an unhealthy dog from a breeder, giving me a 100% success record (better than the one you boast of).

    And there is no question that my breeder dogs were housetrained much more quickly and easily than my current pup who had her cage cleaned once or twice a day and learned to lie in her own waste the rest of the time.

    As for you last two paragraphs, please go back and re-read me. The last thing I do is mock people who want to take care of sick or injured animals. And I actually know a couple of people who do precisely that. So you are reading me wrong.

    What I am saying is that if you are about rescuing animals, good for you. And I truly mean “good.” You are doing a good thing, and more power to you. But if you just want a healthy animal, you need to have your eyes wide open, and not wired shut. There are people who literally seek out the sickest and unhealthiest dogs, because they (rightly) realize that no one else will adopt them, and they don’t want these animals destroyed. They understand that they will be spending a lot of additional money on vet bills, but it is worth it to them. Why on earth would I mock those people? They know what they’re doing.

    You can say whatever you want to about your animals. And I’m glad you love them, and I’m glad most of them have been healthy. But what you CAN’T do is take away my story.

    I have never had an unhealthy dog from a breeder. The first time I went to a shelter, I ended up with a puppy that had bordatella and a rather nasty skin disease that is incredibly difficult to heal from. And my puppy got BOTH from a shelter.

    You can damn me into the next space-time dimension, but that happened. And I am warning whoever will read this about what happened.

    The Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms, California has state of the art facilities – and not nearly enough staff to take care of all the animals. If you go to a government animal shelter and see turds and urine from a bunch of animals, just realize that they aren’t taking adequate care of their animals and that there is very likely disease that is spreading among the dogs and cats.

    And realize that you have seven days to identify a disease you may never have even heard of and after that seven days they will tell you to go to hell. Versus the breeder situation in which the umbilical hernia situation (that’s probably what you are talking about when you said 67%) was paid for by the breeder. Who stood behind her animals and guaranteed their health. Which is why I can say that ALL my dogs were healthy, and I didn’t have to spend a dime on nasty diseases or medical conditions.

    You mention having had a shelter dog with dermadex. Otherwise known as “mange.” And it wasn’t that hard to treat. All I can say is you were LUCKY. And MOST dermadex conditions are difficult to treat, and very hard on the animal suffering from it.

    Thank God, my puppy is turning out to be a great little dog. And I love her dearly. But I have had to spend a lot of money that I shouldn’t have had to spend – and wouldn’t have had to spend had I got my pup from a good backyard breeder.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Posts like these absolutely disgust me. I got my puppy from a shelter and she was ten times easier to potty train than my breeder pup and she was as healthy as a horse. Just because you had a problem doesnt mean you should discourage the rescuing of helpless animals who were placed there against their own. What kind of horrible person are you to discourage rescuing? Rescue dogs are amazing animals and 99% of them are phenominal pups.

  6. Michael Eden Says:

    What kind of horrible person are you to discourage rescuing?

    Anonymous,

    Geez, I don’t know. What kind of horrible person are YOU? Apparently I’m a different kind of horrible person from the horrible person that YOU are.

    You sit there and tell me with total bullcrap running through your veins that “99% of rescue dogs are phenomenal.” And therefore everything I truthfully and accurately described about my own situation couldn’t possibly have happened, I suppose.

    You know something, I am somebody who likes to go into things “eyes open.” The difference between you and I is that I actually want to have some reasonable connection with actual REALITY.

    I got a pup from a shelter that had two nasty and poetentially fatal diseases that that pup got from the shelter. That is a fact, and all of your “you disgust me’s” and all of your “what kind of horrible person are you’s?” doesn’t change the FACTS.

    My shelter dog IS a good dog. I still have her. After nearly a thousand dollars of treatment and dozens and dozens of hours of my time constantly bathing her with special shampoo to overcome the mange that she got from the kennel you worship so completely absolutely.

    So I’m asking, “What kind of horrible person are YOU to demand that people go into animal shelters and end up with sick dogs that have terrible skin conditions and be completely ignorant about it until it’s too late? And why is it that you feel so completely justified to inflict that kind of misery on families who just wanted a good, healthy dog?”

    And I guess I’m mystified why “shelter dogs” are “phenominal pups” but the pups you get from breeders and people whose females ended up with litters of puppies AREN’T “phenominal pups”??? Just what is it that you have against every single dog on the planet that DIDN’T come from an animal shelter that you hate them so much???

  7. Whitney Says:

    So, I’m not trying to discount YOUR experience or claim it to be false… however, to take your one experience and generalize it as a warning to people wanting to rescue as if it is something they should exect is just wrong.

    You have one experience here. Scientifically, something can’t even be considered a theory until 3 of the same exact tests come out the same. So to generalize like this is really ignorant for someone who seems so educated about dogs.

    Rescuing dogs is so much more than the risk of kennel cough or difficulty of training. It’s saving a dog that was potentially taken from a terrible life, and could otherwise would have died. It’s saying “no, I won’t spend $1000 for a purebred dog that meets the “special requirements” of a “perfect dog”.” I’d rather spend $150 for an imperfectly perfect joy in my life who saves me more every day than I saved him/her that one time I adopted him/her.

    My parents dog is a rescue, my sisters dog is a rescue, and my dachshund is a rescue. All perfectly healthy. All very well trained.

    And on a side note – a dachshund is a hound. The shelter didn’t give you any wrong information. And also, dachshunds are incredible dogs who are VERY athletic. Mine runs 3-5 miles with me daily. And they aren’t stubborn, they’re REALLY SMART – which can be easily confused with stubborn if you’re unwilling to put in the time. There’s a difference.

    My honest and humble opinion – everything in this article discounting rescues and dachshunds – sounds more to me like laziness on your part. You just want a perfect pup who is placed in your lap perfectly, and who makes no mistakes. Sounds pretty boring to me. The joy in life is working for things and finding perfection in imperfection. And the satisfaction is of saving a potentially imperfect pup is far more rewarding than the empty wallet of paying for a potentially imperfect bred pup.

  8. Michael Eden Says:

    Whitney,

    Let’s see here. You tell me how “just wrong” I am to describe my experience. But then you can’t help but tell me:

    My parents dog is a rescue, my sisters dog is a rescue, and my dachshund is a rescue. All perfectly healthy. All very well trained.

    So apparently it’s PERFECTLY FINE to rely on your personal experience and not “just wrong” at all. As long as one’s personal experiences first pass muster with YOURS.

    Let’s correct your “side note” first. You say:

    And on a side note – a dachshund is a hound. The shelter didn’t give you any wrong information. And also, dachshunds are incredible dogs who are VERY athletic.

    But I wrote:

    In my own case, I got a “hound mix” puppy. What’s a hound mix? There are 23 breeds under the category “hound.” Moreover, the card said she was 2 months old. But what does that mean? If the puppy is 7 weeks old, how do they classify it? What if it’s 11 weeks old? There’s very little information to go on, and the employees’ knowledge tends to pretty much conform to the card. If you’re looking for a anything specific, good luck at the shelter.

    It turns out my “hound mix” was a part Dachshund, part Labrador puppy. A Dachsador. She’s very cute, but I wouldn’t have picked her if I’d known she was part Dachshund. Without meaning to disparage Dachshunds, I was looking for a bigger, more athletic, and hopefully less stubborn, dog than a Dachshund.

    That said, she IS real cute.

    I’m trying to remember: did I NOT specifically acknowledge that yes, “Dachschunds” ARE hounds? Because you seem to think I somehow didn’t. Like the rest of your comment about how “just wrong” I was, you completely missed my point.

    My point was that I WANTED a larger breed mix of dog. THAT was what I was looking for. Now maybe you don’t believe that a person ought to have a right to look for the kind of dog he or she wants. Maybe you believe there should be a law that all other ways to get dogs BUT shelters are banned and that when a person comes for a dog, he or she shouldn’t be allowed to taint the process with their own wants. If somebody wants a mastiff, well, that person should be handed a Chihuahua – and shame on him for wanting a mastiff. How DARE people have the right to say they wanted a particular breed mix or size of dog. I mean, Obama ought to be the only one who decides what kind of dog we should all have.

    All I was pointing out what that I came in looking for a particular size and activity range of dog. And I was not able to get what I was looking for at the kennel. Because “hound” is far too generic of a term to meaningfully tell you much. But had I gone to a private person with puppies, a good share of the time I could have known both breeds – and certainly at least the breed of the momma – and been able to make a more informed decision.

    In contrast with the “experts” at the animal shelter, the day I picked up my puppy I took her to a Pet Smart to size her up to get her collar, etc. Being afraid of a pup getting diseases, I carried her the entire time. Anyway, a woman coming out as I was walking in took one look at her and said, “Dachschund.” Too bad that customer wasn’t working at the shelter, given that she clearly knew more about dogs than the people who could at best narrow her down to “hound.”

    To correct your “side note,” I wasn’t insinuating that anybody lied to me and told me I was getting a “hound” and lo and behold they gave me a Dachschund instead. Yes, Whitney, thank you. I KNOW Dachschunds are hounds. At least I knew it by the time I wrote this article. I pointed that fact out to anybody who bothered to actually read the article.

    That misunderstanding of your reading of me characterizes your entire “you’re just wrong” comment. And btw, thank you for calling me “lazy” too. That was a nice touch. And thank you for telling what kind of person I am and that you were somehow in any way justified describing that I only wanted “a perfect pup who is placed in your lap perfectly, and who makes no mistakes.” You tell me I sound pretty boring. Maybe I am. You sound pretty danged judgmental and hypercritical. If I don’t think the same way YOU do, I am a bad person in your little bubble.

    And frankly I’d RATHER be boring.

    So, to continue correcting your misrepresentation of me and my article, you somehow never EVER get to the main issue that I tried to raise: namely, that I went to the shelter to adopt a HEALTHY dog and I brought one home that had two SEROIOUS medical issues. And the shelter not only didn’t GIVE a damn about the health of my sick puppy that they gave me, but proceeded to vilify me for even asking for their help.

    I can see how YOU would agree with the people who treated me like that – BECAUSE THAT’S HOW YOU TREAT PEOPLE, TOO, JUDGING BY THE WAY YOU DEAL WITH ME HERE.

    My shelter puppy had kennel cough, that is potentially fatal, and mange, which is just awful. And I had to go through hell to treat my puppy. I had to spend HOURS bathing that dog. I had to spend a lot of money and time to ensure that my dog didn’t end up looking like this: http://animals-abused.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/a3-blog-mangey-dog-1.jpg

    And you surely KNOW how hard that was on me, given you’ve identified me as being so damned LAZY.

    I was appalled at the poor conditions of that shelter, with waste and urine all over the place, and I was appalled at the shocking treatment I got when I brought my puppy with mange that she got at that shelter back asking for some help treating her.

    I’ve never encountered such conditions at the backyards where I’ve got my other dogs. And maybe that’s why I’d never ended up with a dog with KENNEL COUGH and MANGE, too.

    And I am appalled that you don’t care about those things at all (because why else didn’t you bother to mention these my two actual issues????).

    I make a comment toward the end of my article that very much seems to describe YOU. I write:

    At some point, even people who want to do the right thing become part of the disease and horror that they take part in. This vet tech refused to look at that; so she lashed out at me as “the enemy” instead. Even though all I wanted was a little help taking care of an animal who had had two serious diseases inflicted on her as a result of the shelter’s kennels.

    If you really care about dogs, why doesn’t the way I was treated when my crime was picking an animal shelter to get a dog and caring enough about it to ask for help caring for it – and frankly the way my puppy and millions of dogs are being treated at such shelters – bother you????

    Instead, anybody who tries to raise any bad issues going on at shelters is just a bad person who is “just wrong” and reeks of “laziness” and selfishness and of just being “boring.” And so you become part of the vicious circle. Because by demonizing me, nothing needs to be done to fix these terrible issues going on at the shelters because what I encountered is really just “my problem” rather than a crisis at animal shelters. Anyone who has a problem at an animal shelter is just a bad person, so clearly we don’t need to do anything about the issues at the animal shelters. And so there are more and more problems at animal shelters. But that’s okay, because all the people experiencing those problems are just bad people too.

    Now, as I end, I point out that despite of what a selfish, lazy, terrible and “just wrong” human being I am, I STILL have that same little dog. I love her deeply.

    And, yes, this little thing has opened my eyes – which had always favored the big dogs – to the world of Dachschunds and smaller breeds in general.

    I actually wrote an article about my little Dachschund mix – bearing in mind how “lazy” I am – to complete my mea culpa: https://startthinkingright.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/dachshund-x-labrador-dachsador/

    She has been a FANTASTIC dog. Yes, incredibly athletic, like you say. Yes, very smart, like you say.

    But I won’t be going to a shelter to get my next dog after the personal experience I just had. Because thanks to people like you, Whitney, I have a feeling I’d encounter the same problems all over again and people like you would brand me a terrible person for trying to do anything about them. And it won’t be until the rabid supporters of animal shelters get just as rabid demanding that the shelters FIX their problems as they are attacking people like me, the problems are guaranteed to continue.

    I was very fortunate that I didn’t end up with a dog that was eaten alive by mange. Many people spend thousands of dollars and thousands of hours and the dogs never get over the terrible malady. I don’t want to take another chance like that knowing that the shelter will turn its back on me and treat me like I’M the one with the leprosy-like condition.

    Before anybody else decides to write a comment like Whitney, please actually READ what I wrote and respond to the substance rather than merely personally attacking me.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    While I understand your point and feel your frustration, I have had such totally different experiences. My first dog was from a backyard breeder. A beautiful Great Dane puppy. Our vet thought she was younger than stated. She had worms, fleas and an ear infection. This was almost 30 yrs ago. Our next dog was from the SPCA. Our most beloved family pet of all time. We had him for 10 wonderful years. He had obviously been abused in the past, and it took some time getting him over some of his issues. He was already 3 yrs old and housebroken, so that was not an issue. He was healthy as a horse!!! The day after he died we went back to the SPCA and found our next dog. She was 11 months old, an unknown mix (as was the last one) and healthy. We had her for 13 yrs. Last month we rescued 2 puppies from Suncoast Animal League. They are lab/hound mixes and were 12 weeks when we adopted them. I took them back to the vet yesterday and they are already 38 lbs and healthy as can be. Each person will have different experiences. The important thing is that all dogs are given loving homes and are cared for. Some people want pure breeds. My daughter bought a pure breed AKC husky pup a little over a month ago. He has a hernia and one of his testes has not dropped all the way. He may need abdominal surgery to repair all this. I can’t remember what the deal is, but I know that the breeder will pay some or all of it. But she also paid $750 for this pup as opposed to the amount you pay at a shelter for a puppy that has already been fixed. He was from a backyard breeder. Yes, the man knew what he was doing, but out of all these three puppies he’s the only one with ‘issues’. My mixed breed rescues are healthier. But she wanted a pure breed white husky with blue eyes. She’ll fix the hernia and he’ll be fine. Just give puppies or dogs a home and spay or neuter them if you are not breeding them.

  10. Michael Eden Says:

    I’m just going to say this, Anonymous. I WISH my shelter puppy had merely had “worms, fleas and an ear infection.” Just as I wish that the employees of the shelter hadn’t turned rabid on me and treated me like the worms and fleas you describe when they basically told me they didn’t give one flying damn about the sick dog they foisted on me. You talk about the AKC dog that your daughter bought and how the breeder will pay some but not all. I would have been THRILLED if the shelter had volunteered to pay some but not all of the expenses for the treatment of the diseases she got at that shelter. But they told me to get lost and take my sick puppy with me.

    What I’m pointing out here is that the Coachella Valley Shelter operated by Riverside County was an abject DISGRACE by the very criteria you yourself lay out.

    I bought a Rottweiler pup from a breeder which developed a hernia. My breeder paid for the surgery and also paid for the neutering as she agreed that she would not breed such a dog (I did NOT buy the dog to breed him, for the record, and planned to have him fixed myself). Again, on my own experience, just as by YOUR own experience, I was FAR better treated by the private breeder than the totalitarian dictatorship mindset at the county shelter.

    I’ve bought pure-bred dogs before: there ARE advantages to pure-breds: if you are looking for a particular type of dog, you can search FOREVER at a shelter. Whereas purebred dogs are bred to a particular standard. If you are NOT looking for a particular type of dog, a shelter might be great.

    Again, I’m not commanding people not to buy dogs from shelters. All I’m doing is sharing my actual experience and the disgust that I had for the Coachella Valley Shelter due to the vile attitude that emerged the moment things didn’t go perfect.

  11. SB Says:

    This article might be old, but I have never read it till now as we just adopted two daushadors. I was looking up information and came across this article.

    I don’t usually write or reply to anything on the Internet. Yet, I feel the need to do so here..

    We adopted our two adorable daushadors from a shelter in March. Brothers from the same liter. They have been a blessing and they were house trained easily. One looks more like a daushund and the other more like a lab. The one that looks like a daushund has the temperament as well. He is the most playful and affectionate as well as stubborn. But like someone else said, it’s really cause he is so smart.

    Both dogs are healthy and happy. Our experience with our shelter was good. Not every shelter is the same.

  12. Michael Eden Says:

    SB,

    You’re right. No one is saying that it is impossible for anyone to ever have a good experience with a shelter dog. And no one is saying that every single shelter is run in the manner that I document.

    I’m very happy for you to end up with two Dachsador dogs. My dog is also a Dachasor and – after a great veterinary expense and awful treatment from the shelter – has turned out to be a fantastic dog.

    Again, you are free to document your wonderful treatment by your shelter. Just as I am free to document my terrible treatment by my shelter. And caveat emptor.

  13. adairaj32 Says:

    Why don’t you be thankful for what you have and stop blathering? Shelters aren’t known for their high end service, in case you didn’t know. You sound very jaded for someone with a Biblical quote up there.

  14. Michael Eden Says:

    adairaj32,

    Is THAT your view of what it means to be a Christian? It’s someone who has no right to redress a WRONG???

    So only people who HATE God have a right to point out “injustice”???

    It was CHRISTIANS in both England and in America who ended slavery. Maybe they should have instead taken your view and realized they had no right to be “jaded” against wrong or “blather” about it and be “thankful” as long as they weren’t slaves as the institution went on forever.

    You strike me as quite the hypocrite when you are every bit as “jaded” in YOUR “blathering” against God and the Bible as I am against government-run animal shelters.

    Maybe YOU ought to follow YOUR own advice, “jaded” one, and stop “blathering.”

    I know, I know, you don’t like it when your own measure with which you judge and condemn others is used to measure you.

    But thank you for at least acknowledging that if you want decent service, that government-run animal shelters aren’t the place to go.

    I had an awful experience of the most pathetic treatment of animals and the worst form of bureaucratic indifference. Apparently that is what you think is great from your government.

    You didn’t bother to even TRY to say anything about my situation where I was left with a dog with a life-threatening disease that she got from this shelter and with a terrible skin affliction which she got at this shelter and got nothing but the same total indifference from the government bureaucrats who run it as I’m getting now from YOU.

  15. Joe Says:

    Wow. Soooo…you’re a piece of shit.

  16. Michael Eden Says:

    Joseph Bishop,

    I don’t know why people like you – who are so clearly vile and stupid and have NOTHING to offer but trivial drive-by insults because you’re just not smart enough or decent enough to have anything else to offer – think you’re so clever when you’re clearly such loser nothings.

    But good bye. Because why waste time on a loser-nothing?

  17. Tracy Turner Says:

    I have gotten not one, but two from an animal shelter. Both were healthy and potty trained. Yes, a three month old potty trained pup. There are a lot of good shelters out there. I wouldn’t sell either dog for any amount of money. Be the change you wish to see. Be a volunteer at a shelter and give these precious animals an extra potty trip outside.

  18. Laurie Krachinsky Says:

    Ok just a quick couple of comments…

    I liked the article… I will still use rescues.. but i have alot of knowledge from years working as vet tech in a vet clinic and from General research. I know how bad it is… the risks.. because i have kids we do get a puppy checked by an outside vet immediately after purchase and would return a sick one because my kids cant struggle with that but we do it same day… BUT.. people should know in advance the cons of rescues in General… yes some are better then others but all struggle from alot of the same problems because the problem itself is huge and as of yet unsolved.

    Lets think for a minute a young family tries to do the “good” thing and adopt a pet from a shelter.. approximately 7 days later at a vet appointment they find out that that dog has a short life sentence due to a disease not caught or gained through interaction with another animal… but altogether not informed to the customer… now their daughter who is 3 years old has to watch a dog die…. or… they return the pet she just got attached to cause they dont know any better. My point is… Communication is important… education is important… each and every possible customer should be aware of the risks.. in bold black ink. Otherwise its only adding to the problem. Not helping…

    My example? I have a mystery hound breed dog… his health seems fine but we just got him.. vet visit next friday. He could be part of a small breed of hound… or he could be a bloodhound mix.. so no clue how BIG he will be… he is 6 months old and 35 to 40lbs. He is afraid of his crate and sees it as a punishment.. so crate time at bed time is a HUGE issue and for someone with a weaker patience level… or someone who NEEDS to sleep well at night thats an important point. He didnt pee in his kennel atleast… he was let out in a fenced in yard through out day… but he doesnt have socialization… he is scared of everyone. He would poop day one.. pooped on my front door stoop. Thought i had to potty train too but last night.. I went and bought a 20 foot leash… under a theory i wanted to try… at about 15feet of rope.. he started to poop he was afraid of being watched and needed the space because its all he knew. He isnt leash trained… so im training that. I was told he was fully trained… /potty crate and could even sit and heel… he does non of it..except potty outside and as with all hounds.. he is also stubborn and challenges authority.

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