My animal family has always been, to one degree or another, a mixing of creatures brought together from varied situations. I strongly support animal rescue. Many of my pets over the years have come from rescue situations - some adopted from shelters, others taken in from bad situations before they made it into a shelter. I've spent countless hours volunteering and fundraising to benefit the lives of homeless animals. I donate money and supplies to rescues on a very regular basis. I have also never hidden the fact that some of my pets do come from breeders.
I don't want this post to be about breeders verses rescues, or what exactly makes a breeder a responsible one. I understand that not everyone supports my decisions to get animals from breeders and, as long as you show me respect, that's perfectly ok. If you are reading my blog, even if you don't agree with everything I say and do, I'd hazard to guess that we probably still have much in common.
My pets are a part of my family, and a very big part of my life. I love them unconditionally and often find just how much I love them hard to put into words. Awhile back I came across an image that was being shared on social media that kind of upset me. I didn't save the image and am not going to bother looking for it now, but the gist of it, or at least what I got out of reading it, was that it was suggesting that people who adopt their dogs love their pets more than people who obtain their dogs from breeders.
I get the whole rescue thing, really I do. I have adopted animals quite a few times, and I am sure that I will do so again in the future. I love that people promote adoption, but I find myself often wishing that they would do so without feeling the need to bring others down. It's 100% possible to talk about how much love an adopted pet can bring into someone's life without then going on to imply that those of us who have animals that didn't come from shelters don't love our dogs or are somehow inferior to owners who rescue.
Just because someone has a pet from a breeder doesn't mean that they can't also do things to benefit the lives of animals in rescue. They can volunteer, they can donate, they can help raise awareness, and when/if they are ready for another pet, they can adopt.
Cruelty towards people is something I feel like I see quite frequently in animal rescue. I often come across statements along the lines of "this person gave up his pet, I hope horrible things happen to him". The statements are more descriptive than that, but you get the idea. I never understood people with that kind of mindset. If cruelty towards animals is so wrong (which it very much is!) than why are you making statements that promote cruelty towards people? Shouldn't cruelty in general be wrong?
These days, there is plenty of hatred in the world. There's no reason for those supporting animal rescue to alienate potential allies. There's no reason to promote cruelty towards one species (humans) while you fight against cruelty towards another. Cruelty begets cruelty, and I think that those of us who have experienced the unconditional love of an animal should be above that. If I can show a bit of my inner nerd here, and quote the Doctor...
Doctor Who, The Zygon Invasion (2015): You just want cruelty to beget cruelty. You're not superior to people who were cruel to you. You're just a whole bunch of new cruel people. A whole bunch of new cruel people, being cruel to some other people, who'll end up being cruel to you. The only way anyone can live in peace is if they're prepared to forgive. Why don't you break the cycle?
If there's one thing that we have in common, it's our love for animals. I think that sometimes, in a cruel world, it's hard to see just how powerful love can be. But, even if it is hard, that's not an excuse to stoop to the level of cruelty. All we need to do to see the power of love is to look into the eyes of the animals we adore. We need to break the cycle. We need to show people that rescue isn't about cruelty, and judgement, it's about overcoming those things. You catch more bees with honey, as the saying goes, and the more bees we have working to promote rescue the more lives we can save.
I'd love to hear what you think - comment below! Have you ever experienced negativity associated with animal rescue? What are some things you think that could be done to overcome it?