I’ve seen several dogs for sale on my Facebook buy and sell pages this week and another one just this morning. A beautiful black lab, a puggle, a lab-beagle mix..and it kills me. I get that in some cases, having to give up a beloved pet is unavoidable, due to ill health (yours, not your dog), having to move to a place that doesn’t accept animals. These things I understand. What I don’t understand, and never will, is people selling their supposed beloved family pets for money.
When you make a dog a part of your family, that’s exactly the way you should be thinking of it. An adoption. This animal is going to be a part of your family for better or worse until one of you dies. You’ve done your research. You know the breed, you’ve talked to your vet, you’ve made sure you have everything that dog will need to live an active, happy life. You’d prepare yourself if you were adopting a baby, right? You’d make sure you had the financial ability, a home, time and love. Why is a dog (or any animal, for that matter), an animal who will depend on you for food and love, shelter and care be any different? In my mind, as an avid animal lover, it’s not. Or at least it shouldn’t be.
But what I’m seeing just flat out makes me angry. One woman said she had too many kids and was too busy to keep her dog. She wanted $150 for her furry kid. Another said her dog (who was 6 and had never known another home) was too big and she just didn’t have the time. She wanted $200. This morning’s entry in the “I don’t want my pet any more” contest at least offered hers for free, but wasn’t asking the really important questions. Like..
1. Why do you want a dog?
2. What do you know about the breed?
3. Can I get references from your vet?
4. Can I get a reference from your landlord (if you rent) and a statement saying that the dog will be allowed?
5. If for any reason you can not keep my pet, will you bring him back to me to rehome only?
Whenever I saw these posts this week on Facebook, I immediately posted a link to local dog rescue groups in our area. Dog rescue is a way to insure that your pet will go to a group that knows your dog’s particular breed, his history and will foster your pet with a caring, knowledgeable person until they can find the best possible home for him. People who adopt from rescue groups love that particular breed of dog, have likely had one before and have been investigated thoroughly by the rescue group as well as had a home visit. I was blessed enough to have 2 rescue dogs in my life. Both were wonderful, huge-hearted dogs who were a part of our family until they passed away. They were wanted, spoiled rotten and very much my kids, before and after I had my own two-legged variety.
With the onset of the “pocketbook dog”, or the toy breeds fad that everyone just had to have..the backyard breeders (don’t get me started on THIS rant) flooded the market with dogs who were bought and then re-sold when the fad got boring, or the health of the puppy mill dog got expensive, as they are wont to do. Instead of trying to rehome the pets with a responsible owner, many of these dogs popped up all over Facebook. And it’s first come, first serve. You have cash? The dog is yours. No references, no research, no offering the dog to a rescue group. It’s all about the money.
What does it do to a dog, to go from home to home? Imagine the heartache and confusion of a small child who is shuffled thru the foster-care system. You are their everything, their leader, their pack, their best friend and oops! Sorry pup! No time for you, but this guy on FB who I’ve never seen or met has $200! You’re out of here and Mama’s getting a new Coach bag!
Do these people selling their dogs know that there are people on FB who look for those posts specifically so they can buy your pet as dog fighting bait? Or to sell to backyard breeders so it can spend the rest of it’s life forcibly pregnant in a cage? Because there are. There are also sick, sick people who like to hurt animals who look for these ads. A new victim to abuse, they especially like the “free to good home” posts. And people who sell animals to research facilities are out there looking at these pet listings as well.
Many buy and sell groups online do not allow the selling of animals, but people do it anyway. They only need their post to be up for a short while and usually before page admins even see the post, the pet seller has half a dozen cash offers. Please, people. Please be responsible. If you can’t keep a pet, do the right thing and give it up to a rescue society. Don’t sell your furry family members for cash. Don’t offer it free to a good home without really doing your homework and being vigilant about your pet’s future. Just don’t.