We all just need love!
Breeder vs rescue is a topic that I’ve seen escalate lately on social platforms, advertising, and even movies/sitcoms. It got me thinking about my pets and which ones came from where and if it made any difference where I got them after they passed over the rainbow bridge. Did it matter that I paid upwards to $500 for a pet that I believed would be healthy for a long number of years? Did it matter that I paid a nominal fee to a shelter for updating vaccinations and performing sterilization on the pet I was rescuing? To answer these questions for myself and let you in on my process, I’ve taken a memory walk through all the pets I’ve had up to this very day. Spoil alert: Your pet doesn’t care!
My first pet, besides a couple of wily escape artist hamsters, was my beautiful long haired grey cat, Fluffy. She was the only fluffy kitten from a litter of short haired black ones and she was the only girl. A co-worker of my grandmother had this litter of kittens that she needed to find homes for. I remember my grandmother (who was raising me) being unhappy with my choice but she gave in after seeing the absolute love-at-first-sight look in my eyes.
I L.O.V.E.D. that cat! She slept with me at night, she taught me to meow (those that know, know), she was so precious to me. It didn’t matter that she was a surprise to her cat momma or human momma and it didn’t matter that she wasn’t registered in the Cat Fancier’s Association. She was my precious gift. She didn’t really fall into either category of rescue or breeder so for the purpose of this article, I will put her in the “rescue” camp.
Roxanne (Roxie): Pet Store
Skip ahead nine years and my second pet was also my very first dog! My now ex-husband and I would visit a local pet store in Broken Arrow and look at the puppies for something to do when we were bored. One day we walked in to find a cage full of wiggly Scottish Terriers! I had been obsessed with Scotty “stuff” for years and was immediately smitten. Wanting a girl, I couldn’t believe it when they reached right in the cage full of puppies and pulled out a little black hairy female! We took our little-bodied, big-headed, gigantic-eared baby home and named her Roxanne.
She would become my best friend and my lap buddy until her old age, tumors, and pain took her away. Her personality was rich, her attitude was sassy, and her loyalty was beautiful. One day while walking through a garden store, I found a statue of a Scotty that was the exact image of Roxie – complete with the small crook in her tail. I still have that statue today!
Abigail (Abby): Breeder
As Roxie got older, she became depressed because she was at home alone – a lot. We were serving in Youth Ministry and spent many nights and weekends with the students. I remember we got a crazy idea to get our dog… a dog. haha. Enter, Abigail the miniature Schnauzer. Hands down the sweetest natured dog I’ve ever been around. She didn’t like to problem solve, fight, or calculate anything… she just craved love, love, love, and more love.
We found a breeder in the newspaper and drove out to see the puppies. Abby really did choose us. Her siblings were running all over the place completely ignoring the two strangers in the room. This particular puppy kept wiggling her little body over to us, planting herself at our feet, and looking into our faces. Yep, she came home with us that day and lived a long life. She eventually lost her hearing and became very allergic to a lot of environmental things but she never lost her love of chasing birds (one time catching mid-air) and getting loving’s from her people. Over the years I have searched far and wide for a statue of a Mini Schnauzer to add to my Scottie statue but none have the specific little pixie girl look that Abby had. Maybe one day I’ll find one.
During the last few years of Abby’s life, my son began asking for a weenie-dog. After months of begging we visited the pet store and discovered that they had a litter of Dachshund’s. One was the perfect little black and tan boy with a bit of dapple on his chest. He was so freaking cute! My son named him Buddie and he ended up being THE most difficult dog I’ve ever owned, hands down. Adjectives to describe Buddie would be smart, tenacious, calculating, food motivated, tenacious, and did I mention tenacious? lol
There was never a dull moment with Buddie. He loved destroying toys the millisecond he got ahold of them, and could sniff out a speck of a crumb inside a gun cabinet. He terrorized poor Abby to no end, and would burrow deep under any and all blankets, everywhere. We would beg guests to remember to push in the dining room table chairs because that long bodied runt would climb up onto the table! He also managed to scale a rolling cart and climb onto the kitchen counter, eat a tray of brownies, and then jump down before we got back home. Anyone ever see a green doxy? I have… he was miserable. haha Buddie lived a very long life until tumors, old age, and pain finally took him away. He will always hold a very precious, albeit enlightened to the breed, place in my heart.
It was in a season of extreme emotional pain that my son and I visited the local Broken Arrow shelter and fell in love with a cute little black lab. We had gone to visit a different black lab but someone adopted him before we arrived. The staff asked if we wanted to look at other dogs, so we did. A small black lab with the sweetest eyes was in one of the cages. We asked to visit with him and fell madly in love.
Right before the trip home with this no named, small black Labrador, they gave him some kind of bath before we could load him in the car. We drove about 2 feet from the shelter and had to roll down the windows as fast as possible! It stunk so bad! We quickly drove to a dog wash station attached to a car wash to try and get the smell off of him. It did NOT work! It is still one of the funniest memories we like to laugh about.
We named him Stanley and he became attached to me in a different way than any other pet I’d owned. Unfortunately we lost Stanley to lymphoma which came on suddenly and full force. I still can’t believe that we only had him in our life for three short years.
Baxter Bruce: Breeder
The heart trauma of losing Stanley weighed on me daily and almost a year later I found a Chocolate Labrador breeder. I was still incredibly hurt by the health issues that Stanley had that I wanted to get a pet that would be strong and live for a long time like Buddie, Roxie, and Abby had. We drove out to the breeder and chose this rowdy little bitey squirt of a chocolate kiss. We named him Baxter Bruce and just fell head over heals in love. Then reality kicked in. We lived in an apartment. He had more energy than the entire apartment building. I worked full time and was in college classes at night. I had made a very big mistake!
Apartment life was not fair to Baxter and I felt like such a bad parent, one of “those” people who get and get rid of pets constantly. I’ve never done that, but the guilt with Baxter was excruciating! I am forever thankful that my aunt fell in love with him too. She and my uncle agreed to take him and he is now living the best life ever! He has acreage to run, a creek to swim in, and he freaking adores my uncle. Looking back, I often wonder if I was supposed to get Baxter for my uncle? Either way, I am so thankful they have each other and we are able to visit him anytime we can!
About a year later we were blessed with a house and a fenced yard. It was time to get a pet! My son mentioned rescuing a Rottweiler. I was quite frankly surprised and nervous but we began the search. We did meet a male Rottie before Archer and he certainly had issues from his previous situation. We knew within 15 minutes that we were not a good match.
A few weeks later Pet Angel Rescue contacted me about another male Rottie that she would like us to meet. They videoed him interacting with the staff which I found professional and helpful. Well, yesterday marks the one year “Gotcha Day” anniversary of Archer. We learned after a week of adopting him that our big boy has hip dysplasia. This means a life of medications and treatments, but that’s just the way love is. We don’t know or care how he came to be at the shelter because he is now our beloved Rottie bear. By the way, we believe that Archer looks to be a purebred Rottweiler who just happened to somehow end up in the wrong place at the wrong time one day.
My verdict of breeder vs rescue is 100% YES to either. Each of our fur babies needed our love. I’ve experienced no difference in the love and devotion of a pedigreed animals over a rescues, even though some believe the rescues have a smidge more. I won’t argue, because love is love in any degree. There have been expensive health issues with either type of pet we’ve owned and some of the issues of the pedigreed ones were very surprising!
I would love to have another lab someday. I’m not sure if I will rescue or not, (probably will, though). But today, Archer needs undivided attention, funds, and love. We really don’t care about his yesterday; he is 100% perfect for us today no matter what!