need help with editorial

Why buy from a breeder when there are plenty of homeless pups in shelters???

need help with editorial

Postby megan203 » Wed Dec 08, 2004 6:09 pm

This: http://www.startribune.com/stories/389/5094740.html appeared in our local paper today and makes the bybs seem like the good guys. I'm going to respond to it, but am not sure how to begin, and need statistics. Suggestions??
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Postby rgyoung777 » Wed Dec 08, 2004 6:24 pm

I can't see the full article--can you copy/paste it here?
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Postby megan203 » Wed Dec 08, 2004 6:38 pm

Sure, here:
A dog's life changes with the times
Gail Rosenblum, Star Tribune
November 28, 2004 DOGVAR1128

AUGUST 1967 -- We got Charlie the way many families become dog owners. First, my two brothers and I killed the goldfish, lost the guinea pig and watched the hamster eat her young as we sat at the kitchen table eating Pop-Tarts. We were eager for a new pet experience.

So we begged. Our parents said, "Over our dead bodies." We wore them down. And Charlie, rejected by his previous owner, was eagerly welcomed by three grateful children who promised to walk him every day -- unless we didn't feel like it.

A 3-year-old dachshund of questionable breeding and plentiful warts, Charlie was destined to live a life of table scraps, periodic scratches behind the ears and romps in our sunny back yard, chasing squirrels and barking at the mailman.

I loved Charlie with a passion reserved for little girls sandwiched between two brothers who did not care to understand the complexities of her psyche. And I refused to accept that Charlie was anything but Best in Show. My parents didn't flinch when, at age 8, I entered him in a community-wide dog show. I walked him in the grand circle (he stalled, then sat). I lifted him onto the table for the judge to examine his teeth (a lovely shade of amber). He growled at the judge, then bit him. The understanding man, perhaps a father himself, bestowed upon Charlie and me a magnificent third-place ribbon, white and silky. I cherished that ribbon until my older brother felt the need to clarify that there were only three dogs in the competition.

That brother is a lawyer now.

Charlie died seven years later, much the way he lived: quietly, with a little heave and a hack and a final breath. I sobbed as we buried him in the back yard and my younger brother asked:

"Next time, can we get a real dog?"

AUGUST 2004 -- I am standing at the PetsMart in St. Louis Park with a decorative blue leash wrapped around my ankles. My 6-year-old is shouting at me to not put my boot down on the three-pound dog who is now running my life.

Pepe and his heftier 4-pound cousin, Chica, are enrolled in a puppy class, but I am quickly realizing that they are not the students. Eileen, the instructor who can make dogs sew quilts by simply staring in their direction, seems skeptical of my abilities. "They're barking incessantly?" she asks me. "What are you doing about that?"

I worry that if I tell Eileen the truth -- that I am getting down on my hands and knees and whispering "sshhhhhhhh" to dogs who jump up and lick my face before barking louder -- she will flunk me.

"I put them in their kennel!" I tell her.

"Yes, that's right," Eileen responds happily as I start breathing again. "You have to remember who's in charge."

Yes. Well.

IN THE BEGINNING -- It felt so familiar at first. The kids killed the goldfish and gave away the gerbils. We offered them a guinea pig. They begged for a dog. We said, "Over our dead bodies." They wore us down.

Then.

To my surprise, there were no Charlies anymore. In 2004, there are "breeds" and "breeders." And Web sites. And societies and magazines and doggie treats shaped like truffles. And schnoodles and labradoodles getting massages and acupuncture.

Friends directed us to an online "breed selector":

Did we want a large dog? A medium-sized dog? A toy? How would we rate and prioritize 674 essential traits of dog ownership? Easy. We wanted a dog that was smaller than our 6-year-old and needed no grooming or exercise; a no-barking, no-shedding, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean dog that could be trained to manage our stock portfolio. We hit "submit" and eagerly counted the seconds until our perfect dog would be revealed.

My children reeled in horror at the result:

"A pug?" shouted my 13-year-old son. "It looks like it ran into a snowplow!"

The 6-year-old was kinder. "I like the way they taped on the tail."

I tried the emotional appeal: "Kids," I asked, "doesn't every dog deserve a good home? Besides, pugs were the dogs of Chinese royalty! And did you know that my best childhood friend, Susie, had a pug? Wow!"

Silence.

Their father took a different approach: "The pug or nothing." We found two from a highly recommended breeder: A male who needed a $900 hip surgery and a female we could have for a steal -- $1,100 -- if we'd bring her back twice for breeding. To Milwaukee.

"OK, how about a dachshund? Charlie was a dachshund." I dashed off a brief and cheery e-mail to one of the best breeders in the Upper Midwest:

Dear Mrs. Dachshund Breeder:

We'd be delighted to purchase one of your dogs. We have three school-aged children. My husband and I both had dachshunds growing up. Mine was an award-winner. [So sue me.] Please let us know how to proceed.

Mrs. Dachshund Breeder wrote back quickly. I was doomed. How many hours a week would the dog be home alone? she wanted to know. Did we have a fence? (Uh-oh.) How young was our youngest child? Her dogs didn't like too much youthful exuberance, you understand ...

I refused to give up.

Dear Mrs. Dachshund Breeder:

Thank you so much for your prompt reply. We do not have a fence, but we are eagerly planning to build one because my husband and I have little else to do, and there's money sitting in our children's college funds that we'd rather spend on wooden posts. Enclosed, please find my children's most recent test scores, references from several heads of state and a freshly baked apple pie.

Would you believe that I never heard from Mrs. Dachshund Breeder again?

Well! Who cares about stupid wiener dogs?! We'd go to the pound. We'd adopt a dog desperate for love. We'd save a life! We'd have a dog, why, this very afternoon!

But the pound was moving to a bigger site and all they had was one 86-pound labrador whose eye-level gaze with our 6-year-old did not inspire her to think "play date." The pound people directed us to a world called "animal rescue." But the chipper animal rescue people referred us to a Web site to download and complete an application with three references before they would schedule a site visit to see our fence and, quite likely, check our teeth. Rescue puppies apparently, aren't that eager to get rescued by just anyone. Maybe we'd just have a fourth child.

We were beginning to feel desperate. My 15-year-old daughter threw up her arms. "We're NEVER getting a dog! I'll take the guinea pig!"

Then, just when all hope seemed lost, she spotted a small ad in the newspaper for something called a papillon -- French for butterfly, which is the shape of their ears but also, I learned, short for "I'm French, you're not, I'll poop wherever I want." Papillons are small (6 to 8 pounds), smart, friendly and they adore children. They nearly groom and walk themselves. And best of all, a breeder was willing to sell us one without running a perp check first.

On a Sunday morning in June, hubby and the kids drove two hours to Alexandria, Minn., to meet the breeder halfway. They met and fell in love in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

The kids, that is, and two perky papillon pups: a 3.8-pound black male and a 4.2-pound red female. They bought them both.

Who cares? At last, our family had what we hoped for: Eight pounds of dog.

We did put up that fence. And Eileen the trainer still has hope for me. We buy organic dog food at obscene prices and never feed them table scraps. We reward good behavior with treats shaped like truffles. We wash them with lovely scented dog shampoo that's nicer than the stuff I buy for myself. We brush their teeth and clip their nails and never, ever say no to them because Eileen says we can't. Periodically, we take them to a vet clinic we've dubbed the Hundred Dollar Store.

But here's my secret: Sometimes late at night, when everyone is asleep and I sit at my computer writing, Chica and Pepe lie next to me on a blanket in a plain grocery box, occasionally licking my hand. Then, nose to nose, they fall asleep, breathing softly. And I know they're not dreaming about Pup-Peroni treats or doggie acupuncture.

I'll bet they're dreaming about chasing squirrels under a hot sun in our fenced back yard, where they feel safe and loved.

Just like Charlie.

Gail Rosenblum is at grosenblum@startribune.com.



O.k. I lied. THis was written on November 28th, it was just brought to my attention today.
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Postby ammitnme » Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:59 pm

Kendall...where are you? She is a great letter writer!
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Re: need help with editorial

Postby AmberD » Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:40 pm

megan203 wrote:This: http://www.startribune.com/stories/389/5094740.html appeared in our local paper today and makes the bybs seem like the good guys. I'm going to respond to it, but am not sure how to begin, and need statistics. Suggestions??


I'd start it with something like

((I'm glad that Mrs. Rosenblum has two dogs that she and her family can love and enjoy, and I'm sorry that she had such a difficult time finding them. It is, however, very important in this day and age to be careful where we get our animals from.

When an animal rescue organization puts potential adopters through an application process, it isn't because their animals "aren't that eager to get rescued," it is because the organization has made a commitment to get their animals into a good home that will last forever, not until someone decides the animal no longer "fits." Too often, when an animal is "adopted" on a whim, they find themselves homeless later on because their owners were not properly prepared for ownership. So when a rescue or a breeder interviews you, they're just trying to ensure their animal isn't going to get dumped later in life.))

Then if you wanted to put in statistics, you could, plus you could talk about how the breeder who didn't ask them questions obviously didn't care about where the puppies she brought into the world went, just that the buyers had money.

I don't know, maybe it's too late. I like writing letters though, so I had to respond :)
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Postby kendall » Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:58 pm

I'm confused as to WHAT exactly is this woman's point? Two different places decided she should not have a dog at this time... so what? Does she take the time to put a fence up FIRST, educate her kids about responsible ownership FIRST, and then go back to the rescue? Nope, she runs out like every other yahoo and gets a dog from some shmuck looking to make a couple hundred dollars. *sigh* effing moron. I have an excuse for getting Levi from a BYB... I was 17 and frikkin retarded like most 17 year olds... what is this woman's excuse?
Where do I start with this one, Leisa? lol I'll work on something to send to her.
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Postby kendall » Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:57 pm

Dear Mrs. Rosenblum,

This letter is regarding your recent editorial in which you outlined the “problems” you encountered when trying to get a dog.
Your editorial has me worried for a few reasons. In your article, you mock an animal rescue group for their application process, interviews, house checks, etc. It is no one’s place but the rescue’s to outline why they do these things. They see unwanted animals come through their doors every day. Their primary concern is the dog, not the person who wants the dog. It is very hard for most people to understand why it can be so difficult to adopt an animal, but it is all for the good of that animal. A fence insures both a yard to play in, and the secure environment needed to keep an animal safe. Interviews and home checks are used to make sure that every member of the family is “on board” and will have an active, willing role in this animal’s life. It also allows the rescue org. to see the adopting family in their home environment. Would you want to place a dog with a person if you saw that their home was messy, that their spouse was unhappy with their decision to get a dog, that they had other dogs that were not spayed/neutered, that their kids were hellions and would probably yank the dogs tail and wind up on the news as another “unfortunate dog attack”? Without home checks, you are leaving these things to chance. No responsible animal rescue will just “take your word for it”, if you tell them you will be a great home.
If your solution was the run out to a BYB (Back Yard Breeder) and buy a dog who had not been health tested, had no requirements to be spayed/neutered, and the so called “breeders” didn’t really care where the dog ended up, as long as they got paid, then the rescue was probably right in not approving you for a dog. It was a short sighted, irresponsible solution.
It is one thing to decide to buy a dog from a BYB. However, to then write an editorial about it basically defending your decision to the general public was reckless. How many people are going to read that editorial and decide not to deal with the “hassle” of trying to adopt? How many dogs are going to end up being euthanized because you published an article saying it was just too much trouble to qualify as a responsible adopter?
The bottom line is that rescue organizations ask these questions to make sure the dog doesn’t end up mistreated or right back in a shelter/rescue in a few months’ time. If that was too much trouble for you, you should not have gotten one dog, let alone two.


Alright, that's a letter that I wrote. Feel free to use it if you want to. Just let me know if you decide NOT to, because I'll send it to her myself.

Statistics: http://www.wonderpuppy.net/surveyresults062802.htm Either email that page to her or print it out and snail mail it to her... it outlines exactly WHY rescues ask the questions they do. It's statistics as to why dogs are normally surrendered. (68% if people surrendering a dog were NOT interviewed. 76% if dogs surrendered were 1 year old or younger when they were originally adopted. 67% of dogs surrendered did NOT go through obedience class w/ their owners. 46% of people who gave up a dog got another dog within 1 year... the scary stats go onnnn and onnnnn)


Leisa, Morgan, I'm emailing each of you that website. The stats are scary, but will be very helpful for a "responsible ownership" part of NCA.
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Postby kendall » Thu Dec 09, 2004 2:06 pm

http://www.petpopulation.org/

Just found that site as well. It has a shelter statistics section as well as the "Top Ten Reasons Pets are Relinquished"

The Top Ten Reasons for Pet Relinquishment to Shelters in the United States

DOGS:
1 Moving
2 Landlord issues
3 Cost of pet maintenance
4 No time for pet
5 Inadequate facilities
6 Too many pets in home
7 Pet illness (es)
8 Personal problems
9 Biting
10 No homes for littermates

CATS
1 Too many in house
2 Allergies
3 Moving
4 Cost of pet maintenance
5 Landlord issues
6 No homes for littermates
7 House soiling
8 Personal problems
9 Inadequate facilities
10 Doesn't get along with other pets

Mods, sorry for the double (triple! yikes!) post. Where's my edit button!! :crybaby:
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Postby megan203 » Thu Dec 09, 2004 2:33 pm

kendall wrote:
Dear Mrs. Rosenblum,

This letter is regarding your recent editorial in which you outlined the “problems” you encountered when trying to get a dog.
Your editorial has me worried for a few reasons. In your article, you mock an animal rescue group for their application process, interviews, house checks, etc. It is no one’s place but the rescue’s to outline why they do these things. They see unwanted animals come through their doors every day. Their primary concern is the dog, not the person who wants the dog. It is very hard for most people to understand why it can be so difficult to adopt an animal, but it is all for the good of that animal. A fence insures both a yard to play in, and the secure environment needed to keep an animal safe. Interviews and home checks are used to make sure that every member of the family is “on board” and will have an active, willing role in this animal’s life. It also allows the rescue org. to see the adopting family in their home environment. Would you want to place a dog with a person if you saw that their home was messy, that their spouse was unhappy with their decision to get a dog, that they had other dogs that were not spayed/neutered, that their kids were hellions and would probably yank the dogs tail and wind up on the news as another “unfortunate dog attack”? Without home checks, you are leaving these things to chance. No responsible animal rescue will just “take your word for it”, if you tell them you will be a great home.
If your solution was the run out to a BYB (Back Yard Breeder) and buy a dog who had not been health tested, had no requirements to be spayed/neutered, and the so called “breeders” didn’t really care where the dog ended up, as long as they got paid, then the rescue was probably right in not approving you for a dog. It was a short sighted, irresponsible solution.
It is one thing to decide to buy a dog from a BYB. However, to then write an editorial about it basically defending your decision to the general public was reckless. How many people are going to read that editorial and decide not to deal with the “hassle” of trying to adopt? How many dogs are going to end up being euthanized because you published an article saying it was just too much trouble to qualify as a responsible adopter?
The bottom line is that rescue organizations ask these questions to make sure the dog doesn’t end up mistreated or right back in a shelter/rescue in a few months’ time. If that was too much trouble for you, you should not have gotten one dog, let alone two.


Alright, that's a letter that I wrote. Feel free to use it if you want to. Just let me know if you decide NOT to, because I'll send it to her myself.

Statistics: http://www.wonderpuppy.net/surveyresults062802.htm Either email that page to her or print it out and snail mail it to her... it outlines exactly WHY rescues ask the questions they do. It's statistics as to why dogs are normally surrendered. (68% if people surrendering a dog were NOT interviewed. 76% if dogs surrendered were 1 year old or younger when they were originally adopted. 67% of dogs surrendered did NOT go through obedience class w/ their owners. 46% of people who gave up a dog got another dog within 1 year... the scary stats go onnnn and onnnnn)


Leisa, Morgan, I'm emailing each of you that website. The stats are scary, but will be very helpful for a "responsible ownership" part of NCA.


O.k. that's better than mine. there were so many stupid things in her article that I didn't even know where to begin. here's what I wrote:

Ms. Rosenblum’s November 28th article about the complexities of dog adoption “A dog’s life changes with the times” makes it seem like the easiest option for aquiring a dog these days is to buy one from a backyard breeder. For those who are not familiar with the term, the short definition of backyard breeder is someone who breeds animals for money, with very little or no concern for the health of the animals being bred, nor for the quality of the animals being bred. Backyard breeders do not title their animals nor do they do much research into the breeds they’re interested in. They breed often and will always have a litter on hand. They are more interested in money than in maintaining the quality of the breed that they are selling.

I find it strange that Ms. Rosenblum mentions only going to one pound and not being able to find a single small dog. First of all, in the Twin Cities area there are over 500 shelters and rescues, many of them cater to people looking for small dogs. It is hard to believe that with all of her supposed research, Ms. Rosenblum was only able to come up with going to one pound and only finding large dogs there. A quick look on petfinder.com (a website that anyone doing even minimal research will find easily) lists 169 small dogs all in need of a good home. I highly doubt that all of them would be unsuitable.

In her article, Ms. Rosenblum complains that rescues and responsible breeders require too much of a potential owner (references, site checks, etc…) and she implies that it is better to just search through the paper for a “breeder” who will sell a person a puppy as long as they have the money. This may have worked for Ms. Rosenblum, but buying from a backyard breeder very rarely has a happy ending. Anyone can breed two unfixed dogs together, but the results of the majority of those breedings are unhealthy animals. Good friends of mine took a similar route while searching for a new dog for their family. They ended up with a very sweet sheltie that is “AKC registered” (although they never received the papers) but has severe hip dysplacia (a condition that is almost unheard of in shelties) and have never heard from the breeder again. The scary thing is that the parents of this particular pup are still being bred together and still producing pups with major health problems.

Ms. Rosenblum completely dismisses the option of adopting from a rescue because the process (to her) seemed very involved. I volunteer for a local rescue, and yes, we do reference checks, home checks, interviews and applications. Part of it is for the safety of the dogs and part of it is to make sure that we find a good match between our rescue dogs and potential families. One of the most disappointing things is to see a dog returned to the rescue because a family decided that they did not want it anymore, although due to our strict application procedures, it is very rare that a dog is returned. We get to know the families and we work with them continuously to make sure that life with their dog goes as smoothly as possible. Many rescues that I know of are willing to work with families who are looking to adopt a dog, even if the family is not at first an ideal one. Those who work in rescue do it for the animals. Adding a dog (or cat, or anything else) to ones family is added responsibility, a potential adopter who is not willing to recognize that fact will be rejected outright. One whose home is not ideal but is willing to adjust will not be rejected.

Anyone who read this article and agrees that buying from a backyard breeder is the way to go, please take another look at adoption before you help contribute to pet overpopulation.
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Postby kendall » Thu Dec 09, 2004 8:35 pm

Megan, your letter was great. If there are parts of mine you like, I would try to mesh the two letters into one. Feel free to use mine in any way you want. But your's is great.

-Grace
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Postby megan203 » Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:50 am

o.k. as much as I love your letter, Kendall, I think you should be the one to send it. I'm going to send mine as is. I'm assuming that she's already recieved many letters about her editorial, but I think two more might be more effective than one....
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