I got an email from a local shelter recently, noting that they had just taken in a purebred 8 week old boxer puppy that had been tied to a pole outside of their offices that morning. They asked if the rescue that I work with would be interested in taking the puppy so she wouldn’t have to spend any kennel time. The kennels were full and our ability to take this pup meant that they didn’t have to make hard decisions to try to make room for her. I took one look at the photo they emailed over and leaped at the opportunity (not that I wouldn’t have reacted equally quickly for any pure or mixed breed puppy photo they might have sent over). However, of the many dogs I’ve fostered, I haven’t ever fostered a boxer or boxer mix, so figured it could be fun and different. I know a little about boxers, but when I get a new foster into my home, I always try to read up far more on the breed or breeds that might be in that dog so that I can try to understand them better start to determine what might be a good home based both on general genetics and the dog’s actual personality.
Now, as I type, the puppy is napping in my lap. We’re calling her Brooklyn like the Brooklyn Boxer – a name that is tough but cute enough to be appealing to a potential adopter. We have to think of those sorts of things, you know. She is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a purebred boxer, complete with huge floppy paws and that cuddly needy personality that boxers can have. She appears to be well taken care of and a good weight. She is apparently already potty trained and knows “sit”. Someone has obviously done some work with her. We are all wondering what sequence of events led her to be tied to that pole in front of the shelter. Was she a gift to someone who really didn’t want a dog? Did she get out while the owners were on vacation? Was she purchased the day that her owners lost their job/house/minds and they realized they couldn’t care for her needs? Did she chew up someone’s favorite pair of shoes and get banished? Did she poop on mom’s Persian rug or in dad’s shoes? We can’t imagine someone would already think she was too big but we have heard odder reasons for surrendering a dog. I think we’ll never know why she, and millions of other adorable puppies and stellar adult purebred dogs, end up in shelters. Whatever the reasons, there are people who volunteer their time to foster for the thousands of rescue groups across the nation and get the joyous job of welcoming some of these babies into our homes and hearts for a short time until we can find them forever homes. However there are, unfortunately, never enough of these people to handle the increasing overpopulation crisis and pets, even purebred ones, do die.
It is estimated that 25-40% of the 6 million pets that end up in shelters are purebred dogs. A random sampling of shelters I work with has confirmed this, with some organizations stating that, in the current economy, the number is actually even higher. If a person loses their job, it doesn’t really matter if the dog they can’t afford to care for is a purebred or not.
And in case you are wondering about cats, the pure breed cat issue is far less severe. While the total number of cats in shelters is high and unconscionable, the numbers of purebred cats has hovered around 10% for many years, even as the number of purebred dogs has risen. However, if you are looking for a purebred cat, there are a number of rescues for any breed you might be interested in. Many breed specific cat rescues are associated with breeders of those particular varieties as an extension of their commitment to the breed they represent.
Remember, every pet bought from a breeder, reputable or not, means a deserving, healthy, friendly pet may have to be put down in a shelter or sentenced to living out their lives in a kennel. Always think adoption – who knows, you may just find the purebred Golden, Shepherd, or Lab, or even Siamese cat you’ve been dreaming of!