Breeding or Rescuing: What Do You Contribute?

Posted: June 21, 2013 in At Home with dogs., Canine Well-Being, Choosing a German Shepherd., German Shepherd, Things I learned from my dogs., Writing about Dogs.

I know I promised that I would follow up the infamous “Backyard Breeders” post with two posts, hitherto entitled “Why Breeders Breed” and “Why Rescuers Rescue”.  Well…I finished both posts today.  I edited them.  I re-read them.  Read ’em again.  Did some more editing.  Added some photo’s for fun.  Gave each post a new title…Then I deleted both posts, a total of 5,795 words.  “Fly away ye’ wee fairies!!”  I called after them as they disappeared into the electronic ether, unread by everybody but me, myself, and I.  (You’ll find that line funnier if you affect a Scottish accent…)

The fact of the matter is this.  We ALL do things for different, sometimes very different reasons.  I messaged or spoke with dog-people from both sides, Breeders and Rescuers.  The  latter group I almost called the “Anti-Breeders”, which I learned would have been a bad generalization.  It’s true of some, but not all.

I could list 50 different reasons that breeders breed, some incredibly stupid and ill-advised.  Other reasons border on the Sublime, and need to be encouraged.  I could also list 50 different reasons that Rescuers obsess over which dog is on “death-row” in 24 hours, and how to free that same dog.  Spaying and Neutering are gospel to these fine people…I can’t commend them enough for their tireless dedication to the cause.  Or, more correctly, To The Dogs.  One friend, I’ll call her Aimee, (because that’s her name).  Aimee has managed to navigate both sides of this watery deep.  She has purchased from a breeder, AND she rescues dogs with alarming regularity.  (Let me give you her blog-link, and let you see first-hand what she does: wrote me a lengthy note about Rescuing and working with shelters and the profound reasons that she does the work.  I also spoke with Breeders.  I’m not going to link them, because it just seems that breeders are magnets for abuse, from “Anti-Breeders”, groups like PETA, and sadly, from each other.  Especially from EACH OTHER…Facebook alone is a veritable “Omaha Beach” for those who would breed dogs, for whatever reason, Good or Bad. (If you don’t get the Omaha Beach reference, shame (And a POX!) on your History Teacher.  Google it.) 

I will say this:  I thought I was able to write quite objectively about both sides of the issue, even though I identify with one of them strongly.  Both Breeders and Rescuers have a dark-side, and they both have a Light-Side.  Both received commendation from me, as well as some well-deserved  castigation.

My final conclusion, and the reason I sent both posts into perdition’s flames, is this:  We Do What We Do Because We Love Dogs.  Or at least 99% of us do.  (There IS an evil underbelly of society that just uses dogs for their own nefarious and evil reasons .  I give you Michael Vick, or the operators of commercial Puppy Mills.)

I would hope that this mutual Love would give us something in common.  We all agree that ALL dogs deserve good homes.  We all agree that Dogs deserve training and good treatment.  We  agree that all dogs deserve to live as long as possible in good health.  We all think that we have the best way of delivering those things as well, and this is where the fighting begins.  As example, I noticed a post on a Facebook dog- centric page from a young man trying to find information on where to recover his dogs pedigree papers which were lost.  Several of the posts were helpful…He just wanted information.  What he got was insipid and obtuse “reasons”  that he shouldn’t be considering breeding at all, but to go out and adopt a dog instead.  It was the wrong place, at the wrong time, and added nothing to the posters reputation for intelligence.  This kind of thing doesn’t help the dogs in any way.   “Get Off My Page and Go Back To the Mutt Farm“…(An actual Facebook post…)

I’ve tried to put this into a final statement…It seems to me that we all need to focus on our own activity, and let others have their own convictions.   Concentrate on making improvements to the Dog, the breed, the relationship between you and your dog!  DO THIS YOURSELF!!!!  Don’t get so hung up on what someone else is doing, when you can improve your own little corner of the world first!!

Therefore, and To Wit, I want to hear from All of YOU about Why You Breed or Why You Rescue.  And all the other permutations of these activities.  We are trying to find common ground here, or at least an Understanding to those who disagree with each of us.  This will give you an open opportunity to express why and what YOU INDIVIDUALLY  do  to make dogs lives better…I will be watching the comments closely, and asking Facebook Admins to do the same…KEEP IT POSITIVE. Help others understand…  I will personally remove comments that start down the same old dark paths we’ve been down before a thousand times.

Got It?  We’re waiting to hear from you!!!  Have fun and have a great time writing a short paragraph!!!  (Then you can go out and play in the blistering heat if you want.)


  1. I rescue, Robert, for one simple reason – to save dogs who have been neglected or treated badly by my species, and who might otherwise be gone from this earth way too soon. I’m in awe of one particular breed (the girl in my photo, who is about to turn 7). She was a stray, found by a friend, and named Phoebe before that friend even knew that was my mom’s name. Meant to be? Or just dumb luck? I don’t know, but she and I have learned a lot from each other in the last 6+ years and I am blessed to have her. Thanks so much for your efforts to bring reasonability to these FB moments…it ain’t easy!!!

  2. Renee says:

    Thanks Robert. Very Eloquent. I had my say the other night and my feet are firmly planted on both sides of the fence, pure bred and rescue. What causes me to pause though is that we continue to pursue the avenues that divide us instead of coming to a place that unites us. The dog community is only a microcosm of our divisive society today. People would rather rail against each other for our differences that find common ground. Unfortunately the few that spew vitriolic responses have found a platform on the internet. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to open a real discourse on this subject.

  3. I’m both rescuer and owner of breeder produced dogs. I have a huge respect for reputable breeders who work hard to promote, breed and raise their puppies to be the best of the best, take the time to find the right owners and do what they must to make sure their dogs are in good a loving homes. I also rescue…from the backyard breeders, the “accidental breeders” who don’t believe in spaying or neutering cuz it’s God’s way…but it’s okay to dump the litter at your local shelter. I own two breeder produced Ridgebacks who are the love of my life, and I also have a rescued Beagle mix that we adopted after fostering. I also have a foster that is looking for home. There are all sides of this and it’s impossible NOT to make someone mad when it comes to extremes on both sides. I think you did an admirable job of making your statement..not for one or the other…just saying what you needed to say. I think there is a place in this world for both reputable (and I emphasize this) and rescuers..