Just for fun, I decided to do some window-shopping on Petfinder.com. If you haven’t visited Petfinder before, it’s basically a search engine for adopting dogs. You can put in search criteria ranging from the basics (like species, age and gender) to the more offbeat (like name, good with kids or special needs).
Nala’s dad and I are planning a brother for her one day, so I decided to search Petfinder just to see what’s out there. I put in dog for species, no specified breed (though Nala’s dad wants one that looks like a wolf), no age, male, and medium, large or extra-large. I hit search and waited for the results.
First impressions: either these Pugs and Boston Terriers are really overweight or Petfinder and I have very different definitions of “medium.” I said no small dogs and to me, Pugs and Boston Terriers qualify as small. Moving on...
Second impressions: there are 32 pages of 788 dogs for me to look though. That’s a lot of dogs looking for homes. It’s one thing to know that millions of dogs are given up each year; it’s another thing to see hundreds of names and faces in my area alone, all looking for homes. The variety is incredible: 6 weeks old to 10 years old, mutts and purebreds, undisciplined and perfectly trained. Whatever your criteria for a dog, it can be found at Petfinder.com.
The stories of how these dogs ended up looking for homes might be even sadder than the sheer volume of dogs. There’s Pete the white German Shepherd who was found dumped in a parking lot; Molar the Akita mix whose owners are moving across country into a new apartment that wouldn’t allow large dogs; Ziggy the Lab/Sharpei mix whose owners are moving across country and thought it was not “fair” to take the dog on a long car ride (and leaving him at the pound to die is more fair? What?); Rocket, the very mixed mutt found in the desert with his mama dog. These heartbreaking stories bust the myth that shelter and rescue dogs have behavioral problems. They end up there for simpler reasons than being unruly (and even then, it’s usually because the owner didn’t take the time to train them, not because they were born a hopelessly bad dog).
I’ve looked through 225 of the 788 dogs that meet my search criteria and my heart is breaking. So many wonderful dogs looking for homes, but mine isn’t ready for another dog. Yet.
If you’re looking for a new dog or you know someone who is, please remember (or let them know) that adopting dogs doesn't mean limiting choices. Take a look at Petfinder.com to find exactly what you’re looking for.
(And if you're looking for a big dog, don't forget about our big dog supplies to treat your new pup right.)
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Photo of Rudy and Riley, Lab-Great Pyrenees mixes, by henrycountyhumanesociety