Attending the Olympics? Don’t take home a souvenir. Take home a Sochi dog.
Okay, I understand why some of us want a dog who’s absolutely adorable, smart, friendly, hypoallergenic and not yappy. I understand that because Izzy is one of those dogs. When I started looking for a pup to keep me company and to replace my recently departed and very old cat, I wanted one that would be all of the above. There were several breeds that fit my criteria: Cavachons, Shichons, Shipoos, Cavapoos. You get my drift. They were all what could be considered hybrids. Poodles, Cavalier Spaniels, Bichon Frises, and Shih Tzus in various combinations/iterations, all creating the same little ball of fluff with personality, smarts, friendliness, and a tendency to be less yappy than other small dogs (like Yorkies or Chihuahuas). And who could resist their teddy bear-like appearance? (Shichons, especially, which is what Izzy is).
There are positives and negatives to this type of dog breeding, and depending upon whom you talk to, you’ll get bits and pieces of both. One of the positives is that people who might be allergic to dogs can actually own one. That’s a huge point to make. On the down side, by breeding these “designer dogs,” lots of shelters aren’t seeing people walk in to adopt the dogs that fill those kennels to the brim regularly. Negative to the nth degree. Nothing is more heartbreaking than the numbers of dogs who are euthanized because they are not considered “adoptable.” Pitbulls, once considered the American dog, are currently the breed that is least likely to be adopted — and cities/counties don’t help that phenomenon by allowing regulations that allow certain areas/cities/housing developments to outlaw owning a dog from the Pitty family.
Ironically, designer dogs are garnering higher and higher price tags, normally reserved for those purebred dogs that are never inter-breeded with another species. Dogs like the German Shepherd are now selling for less than the hybrid dogs like Cavachons.
Yesterday, I read an article from the Huffington Post entitled “Is the Cava-Poo-Chon the World’s Most Perfect Puppy?” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/20/cava-poo-chon_n_4311387.html Naturally, there’s a photo of an absolutely adorable pup, and the article extols the virtues of the mix of breeds, even commenting on the breed’s long life (though I don’t know how they can know the lifespan since this is a new hybrid). What amazes me is the price this breeder is asking for her pups. This is basically what we used to refer to as a mixed breed . . . translation: mutt. But because it’s cute and well-behaved, it’s also more expensive.
I don’t know about all this hoopla about the Cava-Poo-Chon, but I can tell you one thing. Izzy’s a Shichon (Shih Tzu, Bichon Frise mix), and I think he’s pretty perfect. But I might be just a tad prejudiced.
Over the weekend, a story came out in the local news about a woman who’s a former animal rescuer and how she’s been charged with animal cruelty. Come to find out, 60 of the 93 animals in her home had to be euthanized because they were ill.
My first thought was that she probably thought she was rescuing the animals (most were cats; 3 were dogs), but when push came to shove, she simply didn’t have the money or resources to feed all of them. A good Samaritan whose good deeds came to a horrendous end.
I can empathize with what this woman has gone through and why she felt the need to take in so many animals. I volunteered for a rescue service for more than a year, answering emails for them, and there were many times that I would have taken an animal that someone was trying to turn over to us. The irony is that we couldn’t take any animals since we were a small, volunteer-run organization with no “home office.” Instead, we rescued from the shelters, but only when one of our foster homes had space for another animal. As a result, the animals we fostered had a solid foundation, usually learned some basic commands, and were in much better condition when their forever homes finally found them.
I do remember one particular email that I received on a cold January afternoon. A woman had bought a Havanese pup from a breeder. Nine weeks old, black/white/brown, and full of mischief, the pup would have made anyone who saw it say, “awww.” In her email, the woman’s anguish came through clearly. She had paid $900 for the pup, plus all of the food, toys, and accouterments necessary to make a home for the little guy. But less than two weeks after bringing him home, she lost her job and was being forced to move in with her daughter — into a home which didn’t allow pets. The woman simply wanted someone to take and love her pup. No money was necessary. Just give him a good home.
My heart broke for both the pup and the woman, and I wanted desperately to take him in. At the time, I didn’t have Izzy, but I had dreams of having a pup like the Havanese, and here was my chance. Unfortunately, I already had a cat and lived in an apartment complex where one pet was the rule. My cat, Jojo, was 18 years old, blind and deaf, and I knew she didn’t have much longer to live, but bringing a pup into the house (secretly–which I was ready to do) would not have been fair to her.
I often wonder what happened to that woman and to the pup, just as I’m going to wonder what’s going to happen to this woman who is probably brokenhearted that her plan for rescue has resulted in her arrest.
If you want to read the full story, cut and paste this link in your browser: http://www.examiner.com/article/former-animal-rescue-head-charged-after-90-cats-found-her-nc-home