Bark and Purrtect

Animal Welfare, Rescue and Advocacy

Bark and Purrtect
Gently Encouraging the Pet Adoption Option

We love writing about rescue and adoption. We write about the topic every week here on Pet360 as well as on our own websites. We share adoptables daily on our social media sites. And with two rescue dogs and four rescue cats, we like to feel that we don’t just talk the talk but we walk the (dog) walk.

But when it shifts from writing about rescue and adoption to talking about homeless animals, we know we sometimes have to take a deep breath. As passionate as we are about the topic, we don’t want to overwhelm people with our enthusiasm. We want people to feel free to mention to us that they’re looking to obtain a new pet—regardless of the means—without feeling like they’re going to be on the receiving end of a lecture about the state of homeless animals.

We know you’ve probably seen exchanges online, whether on forums or Facebook, when someone mentions that they’re looking for a particular breed of dog or cat and asking for recommendations about breeders. Or they mention that they’ll be heading to a pet store to look for a certain type of pet.

The exchanges can be brutal. Loving rescuers, cognizant of the fate that awaits millions of dogs and cats in shelters across the country, can suddenly bare teeth and extend claws at those potential pet parents that plan to take a route other than adoption. We’ve all see it happen, often out of frustration with a system where no-kill is still a dream in so many locations.

Recently we had a discussion with a friend who told us he was looking for a Miniature Poodle for his daughter. After months and months of asking for a dog, she’d reached an age and level of maturity where the family thought a dog was a smart move. They’d wisely researched breeds and behaviors and weighed them against their lifestyle and schedule. They’d made so many good decisions…but then he announced that they’d seen a Miniature Poodle at an area pet store (not an adoption event as fortunately so many now offer) but as a product for sale.

It was a tricky situation. What should we say? Should we launch in with an explanation of the horrors of puppy mills that this pet store was, in all likelihood, perpetuating? Should we point out that 60 percent of dogs in shelters are euthanized and they could just as easily save one lucky dog instead of purchasing this pet?

We took a deep breath. We praised his research and all the care and research that he’d put into the decision. How wonderful it would be if all families took the time to research pets and honestly looked at their home and life to determine if a pet was a good choice!

Then we asked if he knew about the Poodle rescues in his area? Ones that could provide his family with a Poodle just like he wanted but with the added benefit of a foster family’s information about that individual dog’s temperament and personality?

Our friend had no idea there were Poodle rescues and loved the idea; soon we were sending him links and the family was happily poring over adoption listings. They’ve now put in an adoption application and are going to visit a potential Poodle in the coming week.

We’re so happy with how this exchange went. We like to think that, just like in our dog training, positive reinforcement of this potential pet parent won out over a harsher discussion.

How have you handled the topic of pet adoption when you’ve been talking with someone who is considering purchasing a pet?

Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy with kitten via Shutterstock is North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption web service. We help homeless pets at more than 13,600 animal shelters and rescues connect with the millions of potential adopters visit our website each month. To date, we’ve facilitated hundreds of thousands of lasting connections between great people and loving animals.

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