Breeding and Adoption: Two Sides of the Same Coin
By: Dr. Amanda Landis-Hanna
Dog breeding and dog adoption are interesting. These topics can be polarizing, and each side has strong proponents and arguments. Here at the i4C Innovation offices, we have dogs that have come from breeders, rescues, and shelters. They are all unique and individual, with various health and personality strengths and weaknesses. And they are all part of our team.
I’ll introduce you to a few, and explain how their origins play a role in their individuality.
Of course, I will start with my sweet Sophie. She is a 10-year-old purebred, papered Labrador Retriever, who was originally bought from a pet store. Her former owner, my friend Mike, got her from a family member. I am her fourth home. I adopted her, knowing that she has hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, which results in a chronic limp, and a decreased ability to exercise. She has the personality of a 2-year-old, and is wonderful with kids of all ages -- even though my home is the first time she has lived with kids. She came from a breeder, and has a number of the “typical” Labrador problems, possibly because her breeder didn’t know about the genetics of joint disease. But I don’t love her any less, and I’m happy to have adopted her, to provide her long-term care in her senior years.
Sam is the epitome of an adopted dog. He was running feral in the woods of West Virginia until he was an adult. At that time he was humanely trapped and brought to a rescue organization. He was treated for parasites and malnutrition, but was very distrustful of humans. His foster mom, Emily, was very patient with him, and nursed him back to health. He bonded strongly to her dog, Cope, so she adopted him. Now, after several years, he is still a bit nervous, but loving. He comes to the office at least three days a week, where he interacts with other dogs and people -- a complete turnaround from his previous life! He is a senior, with a minor arrhythmia and dental disease, but we plan to clean his teeth during February’s National Dental Health Month (more on that here!). Personally, I love having him in my life, and I am grateful Emily (our Director of Product) adopted him.
Wile E is a handsome, full-blooded and registered Boxer purchased from a private breeder. He is brindle with white markings, and a goofy smile. As a Boxer, he was always going to be predisposed to some issues. He developed some of them, but not all of them (thank goodness!). He has had cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tears in both knees, as well as significant allergies. He’s allergic to all poultry, so we have to be careful what treats we stock at the office. Additionally, he gets seasonal hives and skin infections (bacteria and yeast) at least twice a year. And to make matters interesting, he HATES taking his medications. So his dad, Ben (our Project Director), has to be very creative with methods to get medications in him. Wile E “thinks” he should be dominant, and likes to “talk” to other male dogs, but then sits and waits for instruction or backup. He’s a wonderful boy, and a joy to be around (as long as he hasn’t eaten poultry).
So, from my perspective as a veterinarian, it doesn’t matter specifically where you get your dog. There are advantages to getting a dog from a shelter: saving a life, minimizing over-breeding, supporting your community organizations. There are advantages to getting a dog from a breeder: getting to meet the “parents,” knowing about the temperament and medical history of the bloodline, and the ability to promote improvements to the breed standard. But regardless, all dogs have health conditions and behavioral conditions they will be predisposed to.
All dogs need care (which can be expensive), quality nutrition, and exercise. And most importantly, they need love. Lots of love. And no matter where you got your “fur-baby,” that is one thing you will get in return: lots of love.
Sophie, an adopted purebred on the left and Penelope, a rescue mixed breed on the right.
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