My husband and I have had dogs for 19 of our 21 years of marriage--they're like our kids, and neither of us can imagine life without them. Four years ago, our first dog, Kami, passed away and left a huge hole in both of our hearts. At the time, we were grateful to have two other dogs to help us with the void she left behind, but still felt something was missing from our family. After taking in the sibling of one of our other dogs, we were once again back up to three dogs, but the situation proved to be short-lived as another of our pups, Daisy, passed away soon after.
My husband and I wondered if we should add to our four-legged family again. And if we did, should we rescue or buy a purebred? The two dogs we had left, Rezi and Lucy, were each five years old. My husband mentioned that if they live to be 15-years-old (or older)--just like our first two--we both would be getting close to senior citizen age ourselves when they pass away. Did we really want to be starting over with a puppy at that age? We thought it would be a better idea to get one now--a four-legged friend that could accompany us into our golden years.
Yep, we needed a puppy. But should we rescue or buy a purebred? I have no problem with purebreds, as long as the breeder is reputable--trying to better the breed, not just breeding to make a buck. However, I've heard of so many people who have purchased a dog for hundreds of dollars that "came with papers" but then the new owner couldn't even afford to get basic vaccines to protect the pup from serious (and sometimes life-threatening) diseases. I don't view pet ownership as a "right"--it is a privilege. If you're willing to spend money to buy a pet, you should budget to take care of it properly as well. The cost of buying a purebred, plus the fact that so many dogs out there (even cute little puppies) are in need of good homes, helped push us in the direction of rescuing again. All of our dogs in the past had been rescues, so it only made sense for us.
After several weeks, along with many emails and Internet searches, Kady has now found us and our hearts. We feel so lucky to have her--as our senior years approach, we won't have to worry about not having a wonderful, faithful friend by our side. And to think that we provided a home to a pet in need only makes us that much happier about our decision to rescue.
This post contributed by guest blogger, Laurie Miller. Laurie is a practice consultant for AAHA and lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her three dogs and husband (who she describes as the best dog-dad ever). Although it requires extensive travel, Laurie finds her job extremely rewarding because she is able to impact the lives of pets by helping veterinary practices to meet the AAHA standards of excellence.
Edited by Sarah Rumple