Rescue Dogs are Forever Dogs
Dogs aren’t things we throw away when they do something that annoys us. Do you pull a Gloria Gaynor when your partner puts the toilet roll on backwards – again? (if they do at all???) and shove them out the door? Pets are companions who take a lifetime of commitment and care. Dog rescue organizations and shelters are kept busy because many treat animals as just another possession.
It seems our lives move too fast to put any real work into relationships, be it a pup or a person. Record numbers of people are living alone and record numbers of pets are either staring through their crates or rolled into balls in their corners at shelters and in allies.
My Westie Side Story
I have a passion for a particular dog breed. This won’t come as a surprise if you follow me on social media. Ever since Earl and I were introduced to West Highland Terriers at a dog show, “Westies” have been a part of our family.
We got our first Westies from a local breeder we had met at that show. He happened to be the president of the West Highland Terrier Association of Quebec, and he was very happy to give us an immersive course in the breed. We soon became the proud parents of our first Westies, Bonnie and Max. Sadly, they both crossed the rainbow bridge in the same year. We were devastated. The house no longer seemed like home. It was eerily quiet without the tip-tapping of thirty-two tiny toenails across the floors. We couldn’t imagine replacing them.
Second-Hand dogs, Just Give me Second-Hand dogs
A few months after our tragedy, I ran into an old high school friend. I had no idea that she was involved in the dog rescue world.
I told her about losing Max and Bonnie to illness and she suggested we consider adopting. She suggested that if we wanted another Westie to check out a rescue organization. It seems there’s a rescue organization for nearly all pure as well as mixed breeds. Who knew? A few weeks later we became the proud parents of Alfee, the wonder Westie.
After discovering Westies in Need, it wasn’t long until Eli became the newest member of our family and Chief Security Officer for i24 Call Management Solutions. I have since become very involved with “W.I.N.” as a donor and a supporter of their fundraising events. My association with these organizations as well as with the Montreal SPCA has exposed me to some horrible stories of animal abuse. I’m moved and inspired by the commitment of their volunteers and staff who work tirelessly to care for and find homes for abandoned pets.
Our first rescue, Alfee was the victim of a puppy mill. Eli was a surrender from a family who realized three years and three children later that they couldn’t give Eli the necessary attention.
Contacts at the Montreal SPCA told me they are worried that even more pets may be turned in or abandoned once COVID restrictions ease and people return to their workplaces. There are pandemic pets who have never been separated from their owners. If separation anxiety was a problem with dogs before the pandemic can you imagine what being alone a whole day would be like? Animals aren’t accessories, they’re living, breathing companions. When we carry our new pets over our threshold, we make a lifelong commitment to love, honour and bestow a ton of treats upon them.
Although I shared my experiences with one particular breed of dog, all pets deserve love and respect – even cats. As Immanuel Kant wrote, (yes, I’m quoting Kant) “We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”.
If you’re thinking of adopting a pet and want a purebred one because you’re familiar with its traits, I recommend looking at rescue organizations. There’s one for every breed of dog, cat, rabbit, parrot etc. And “Heinz-57” mutts shouldn’t be dismissed. They can also hold wonderful surprises. Because they come from a much larger gene pool, they tend to have fewer congenital diseases. This is true for any pet from fish to ferrets. Mixed breeds are the ultimate designer pet.
Whatever dog you choose, remember you are committing to giving them a lifetime of companionship, love and security. Here are some rescue organization resources that you may find helpful.
Westies in Need Rescue
Dog Rescue Information & Shelters
Top 10 Reasons to Adopt a Rescue (Labradors)
What is a Puppy Mill?
Project Pet Rescue (List of pet rescue associations)
Gerdy’s Rescue and Adoption
Rosie Animal Adoption
“Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for all life.” – James Cromwell
Here are your September Gems.