Saturday, December 24, 2016

Secondhand Dogs

A few days ago was my dogs' one year "adoptiversary." They have both undergone quite a transformation in the year since I adopted them from the animal shelter.

Indigo, a Miniature Pinscher, was painfully skinny. You could see every rib.

She weighed only 5.5 pounds. She was listless and lethargic.

One year later, she has fattened up to a healthy 7.2 pounds. She is perky and insistently cuddly.

EDIT: Adding a little about Indigo.
Indigo had been placed in the shelter's night drop (where people can drop off animals anonymously). She was horribly skinny and clearly needed help, and I didn't think very highly of someone who would just leave her in the night drop.

Her behavior showed that she must have had a reasonably good home. She's affectionate, she is well behaved, she walks nicely on leash, she does well riding in the car... clearly someone took time with her. How could her owner, who appeared to be a decent person, just get rid of her?

But I realized I may have been judging that person too harshly. Indigo had obviously gotten sick somehow, and maybe her owner did not have money for vet bills, so he/she dropped Indigo at the shelter knowing that someone would take care of her. Maybe he/she was too embarrassed to drop her off in person, so used the night drop. Certainly dropping her at the shelter was better than letting her suffer.

Whatever the circumstance, the end result is that I got Indigo... which makes me happy. :D

Nook, a Chihuahua mix, was extremely fearful. She was afraid of anything new or different, even an object brought in from another room. I had to be very careful not to make loud noises, which would send her running to hide in her kennel.

She has made great progress. Though she will probably always be a timid dog, she is quite comfortable at home. The other day, I accidentally dropped a spoon on the floor, and she didn't even flinch. :)

Adopting these two little ladies was the best decision I have ever made. They make me laugh and they enrich my life immensely.

As you may know, I am a big proponent of buying secondhand. In no case is this more true than with pets. There are animal shelters and rescue organizations full of dogs and cats of all types and ages. Many of them list their adoptable animals online, so you can easily search for your ideal pet. That's how I found Indigo and Nook.

If you must buy a new "firsthand" pet, please buy from a reputable, pet-loving breeder... one who truly cares about the animals and keeps them in a comfortable living situation. I implore you to never, ever buy a puppy from a pet store because you are almost certainly supporting puppy mills, which are appalling places. I'm not going to say more on that topic because it makes me violently sad.

This post is about celebrating secondhand pets and the happiness they bring. I think adopting a pet is actually a two-way, mutual rescue; it certainly was in my case. I rarely make bold statements advocating one choice over another because circumstances vary and life is not one size fits all. However, I unequivocally advocate for secondhand pets.

As I finish up this post, my secondhand dogs are enjoying their secondhand bed, which is a repurposed kitchen cabinet fitted with cushion, blanket, and heating pad. Usually it is Nook's nook, but Indigo is welcomed any time she wants to visit. :)

25 comments:

  1. All of our children-with-fur have been "secondhand" rescues and adoptions, except for three purebred cats who came from loving, responsible breeder homes. Every single one of them has been a wonderful addition to our family.

    Have a wonderful Holiday with your children!! :-)

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  2. Loved this post! :)

    Though I am puzzled that pet stores sell puppies (and cats for that matter) and that they are most likely from puppy mills. I would imagine that the owners and workers of a pet store would be animal loving people who wouldn't do that! But I am more disturbed by the fact that they have puppies and kitties "in stock". How do the stores take care of the puppies during the night? They are a bit more complicated creatures and need more attention than a fish or a hamster. >_> In my country, you can only buy a "first hand" puppy or a kitty from a breeder, never from a store.

    Merry Christmas to you and your lovely ladies! :)

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    1. Jade, back in 1987 I adopted one of my first kittens from a pet store. A woman had found a litter of kittens in her yard and brought them to the store instead of to a shelter. She was an awesome kitty! Since then I have rarely seen kittens or puppies in pet stores. Most sell only fish, reptiles and rodents now. You have a very good point!

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    2. The national chain pet stores no longer sell puppies or kittens. Many of them hold weekly adoption events instead, which is awesome. But there are still some small pet stores selling puppies and kittens. You're right, it is disturbing. Puppies should not be treated like merchandise.

      And though the situation is bad for the puppies, it's MUCH worse for the mother and father dog who will spend their lives in misery in a puppy mill. It's appalling that such places are allowed to exist.

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  3. It's so heartening to see your dogs' progress, this post made me so happy! Every dog deserves an owner like you.

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  4. How sweet. :) Our three cats are all rescues, one from a barn the other two from a rescue organization. The one was very timid, we couldn't pet him from overhead and he would hide. My brother commented last night as he pet him that he's come a long ways (it's been two years). I always tell people to adopt. It's the best decision I've ever made.

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    1. That's great! :) With adoption, there's the added bonus of that good feeling you get when you help someone.

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  5. This was such an enduring post which touched my heart strings. The dogs look as though they came on leaps and bounds. I really thing this offers a lot of consideration as their some many pets who wanting a loving home.I know the UK laws have gotten pretty strict about breeding and selling animals, which is a step in the right direction. But puppy farms unfortunately exist. Also another issue is getting animals neutered, which can still be an issue. My partner and me are considering adopting a couple of cats hopefully when we're more settled. I loved this post it such a good persuading reason to adopt second hand animals/

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    1. An excellent point about getting pets neutered! Animal shelters spay or neuter pets before they are adopted out, so that's another benefit of adoption - your pet is already "fixed" before you bring him or her home. Many shelters and vets offer low-cost spaying and neutering clinics as well, so there's no reason not to have your pet spayed or neutered.

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  6. We have a secondhand, or rather a hobo cat! There are no shelters in my country so people like us just pick them off the street. I can't understand how people can buy fancy breeds of cats and call themselves cat lovers when there are so many free cats who have so much love to give! To me the only justified reason to buy a specific breed is if one is allergic to cat hair and can only tolerate bald ones. In case of dogs, I figure there are more factors to keep in mind, like size, however there are free dogs for every need out there. A friend of my husband's adopted a puppy from the pound, she's the dearest little thing, looks like a cross between Lassie and a fox. Who could abandon such an amazing pet? People like you restore my faith in humanity. Your girls have grown into beautiful, healthy and happy dogs. I hope you enjoy each other's company for a long time!

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    1. A hobo cat! Ha ha! :D That's awesome.

      Everyone's situation is different, so I hesitate to make blanket statements... but I do believe that if you really love cats/dogs, you will look first to adoption. Even if you want a specific breed, there is probably a rescue organization for that breed.

      There are size and temperament factors to consider with dogs - maybe you're looking for a calm, small dog for Grandma or maybe a playful, big dog for your young sons. But there are so many dogs available for adoption, you can find whatever you need. With the internet, you can search nationwide... and there are even people (often truckers) who will transport your new pet if need be.

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  7. My secondhand dog is one of the best things ever to happen to me! She's all about hugs and love and making me happy when I'm sad!

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    1. And she is adorable (and photogenic)! :D

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  8. Love this post! Happy Adoptaversary to those two cutie pies! I totally agree, 'adopt don't shop' and if you do, make sure the animals are from safe and healthy breeders.

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    1. Thank you! Well said, "adopt don't shop." :)

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  9. Our first dog was the result of my sister's dogs having puppies. She is only 10 months younger than my daughter, so they've grown up together and Bella has been a furry ray of sunshine as we've moved from place to place and had so many changes.
    Macy was a dog that some friends of friends said they were going to "drop off" which is slang for abandon on the side of the road. She was somewhere between 6 months to a year (I think), she had dermatitis (flaky skin everywhere with several raw inflamed patches), fleas, ticks, worms....she didn't know her name and she was barely house trained. My husband was pretty upset when I showed up with this scrawny mutt that needed so much care, right before Christmas (12/22), but I didn't listen to him and I was determined she would be mine.
    She is such a ball of energy. She's clean, she's healthy and she protects my daughter like she was born to do it. I always think of Macy as a rescue dog, even though I didn't get her from a shelter, because I think we saved her. She's a sweet dog that didn't get the chance she deserved.
    Kudos to you for saving precious bundles of fur, because they truly do bring such amazing joy and happiness to a home where they're wanted and loved.

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    1. I would say Macy is certainly a rescue dog, and you rescued her from a terrible life. Good for you!

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  10. I'd never buy a pet from a pet shop. We got our second pair of gerbils from one as they were either being sold that day of fed to the snakes in the shop. I could not bear that thought. So we took them home. I would have prefered getting them second hand, but there were no one giving any away.

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    1. Yikes! That's horrible! They may not have been secondhand, but I'd certainly consider it a rescue... from the jaws of snakes, no less.

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  11. I am glad to hear they are both doing so well!! I adopted a kitten last March and when we got him he was afraid of EVERYTHING and was afraid of open spaces so we had to keep him in a small room for weeks but it is amazing how their personalities can change when you take good care of them!

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    1. So true! A little love and care can absolutely transform them. :)

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