Canine Conundrum

      Used to be, the newspapers and classifieds and public notice boards of the US were filled with ‘Free to Good Home’ ads for puppies. Usually mixed breed “Oops” litters (oops, my unaltered bitch was in heat and my unaltered male tied with her *gasp* what a shock…), but it wasn’t exactly difficult to find a puppy.
      Times have changed.
      At some point in the past decade-and-a-half, people realized that if you tack a stupid portmanteau-esque name on to a mixed breed, you can dupe people into paying beaucoup bucks for it. If I were to be adopting my old dog, Keiko, today – I’d not be getting a Border Collie-Labrador mix, no. She would be a trendy Borador. You can find Chipoos and Morkies and a whole slew of Doodles, all listed for sale at $250 to $1000 dollars, or more.
      People are purposely breeding their family mutt to some other mutt and calling it a hybrid (don’t get me started on that misnomer. I know times are tough, but pimping out the family dog to pay for iPads is pretty low, as far as I’m concerned.
      But this entry is not my rant about that whole mess. Nope. Not today.
      Anyway – Mark & I have wanted to adopt a dog for years. When we moved back to Ellensburg, we looked in earnest for a smallish dog (the HOA rules dictated no dogs over 30 pounds) but never quite found one that a) we could afford or b) suited us. I had decided, prior to buying that place, that I was absolutely never going to live in a place that wouldn’t allow me to have a dog. By 2009, it had already been years since I had been able to have a dog and I was just sick of waiting.
      Fast forward to 2011. We moved back to PA and signed a lease on an apartment. One of the things we discussed with our landlord was our desire to adopt a dog. He was cool about it and so long as we paid a deposit – we were allowed. Somehow, the stars never aligned and no canine companion joined our family.
      Now, in the wonderful place we’re living, we reached an agreement with the owners and they have no problem with us having a dog – so long as, obviously, we clean up after her and supervise her with their two pups. So since we moved in, last September, Mark & I have been stalking rescue webpages and sites like Petfinder, looking for our new little friend.
      Several times, we thought we’d found one that suited only to find out the adoption fee was $600 dollars or they wouldn’t adopt to a family who didn’t own their own home or they wanted to be able to do random home visits after the pup had come home with us. Uh, no.
      Its frustrating.
      I work from home, we’ve both been dog owners in the past, we have no small children (at the mo) and there’s a fenced yard outback (not that I’ll be leaving him/her unattended because…busy street and stuff). We’re planning to feed grain-free and use positive training methods and damn it – we just want a puppy to raise.
      You’d think we’d be a pretty great potential home. Yet somehow, both rescues and legitimate, responsible breeders (yep, there is such a thing and we found a couple) make it so complicated (or expensive) that it really doesn’t surprise me that people end up buying dogs from Pet Stores (puppy mills – ugh, that’s a rant for another day), Craigslist, or websites like PupppyFind.
      That said – I’m a lady of principle and we’ll keep scouring the rescue sites and shelters for our little bark-machine. There’s gotta be one medium-to-large sized dog out there for us.
      (And yes, we do want a puppy. In the future, we’ll adopt only adult dogs, but the experience of puppyhood, with all its good and bad points, is something we both want to tackle together. Deal with it.)

Signed, Josie

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