I think, if I see one more “adopt, don’t shop” post, I am going to throw up, loudly, explosively, and messily.
In the past few days, I’ve had 3 encounters with dogs at the park that have not gone well. I am no expert in dog behavior, see previous posts about training with Maverick if there’s any doubt about that, but I know enough to know that what you don’t know can get you bitten. I always ask, from a good distance, if it’s okay to approach a dog I’ve never met. If the owner says no, I smile, thank them, and keep moving. They know their dog, I don’t. I will never ever say, “it’s okay, all dogs love me,” even though most of them do. I will never approach a dog I don’t know unless I know it’s okay to do so.
Two little dogs and one German Shepherd – each time I asked and was told that it was fine to say hi. Two little dogs and one German Shepherd have sniffed my hand, and then snarled and snapped – I am old but quick in the face of danger and damn, I can move fast when teeth are approaching. In each case, the owners have said, “OH! I didn’t expect that, but he (or she) is a rescue and we think was abused so we’re not sure what the triggers might be. You might smell wrong, or maybe it’s your hat, scarf, underwear, who knows?”
EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!! You DON’T know, so don’t TELL ME it’s OKAY to approach your dog when you have no clue what will set him or her off.
My best friend rescued a yellow Lab. He was abused, we know this and we know some of what was done, but not all. He is an amazing, wonderful dog – now. It’s taken a lot of training, a lot of love, and a lot of patience to get him to where he is. I would not recommend approaching him without doing exactly what she tells you because you may lose a hand. When I met him, a bond clicked into place and there is little that I can’t do with him – I can hug him, when no one else dares – I was one of the first people he gave a kiss – and I love him as much as I love Maverick, and as much as I loved Max.
I am not opposed to “rescuing” a dog. I am opposed to people acting like they’re sainted because they didn’t go to a breeder, because they took in an animal whose background they know nothing about, and then exposing other people and the dog to situations where they have no clue about how that dog will react. Was it my underwear that set off the German Shepherd? I have no idea. AND NEITHER DO THEY! Telling me, after I was nearly bitten, that “oh, she’s weird like that sometimes” is not going to make me feel better if I’m bleeding.
We don’t meet the criteria for most rescues. We also knew what kind of dog we wanted, both with Max and with Maverick. We wanted the temperament of a Golden Retriever. We went to a breeder and we bought a puppy. There was no better dog on this planet than Max. Maverick, right now, is a handful and a half, but I know that when he’s grown, he will be equally as awesome as Max was. I know that because I know his pedigree, his bloodlines, his history – what he likes, what will make him scared, what will make him uncomfortable. I knew in my soul that Max would never bite anyone. I know that Maverick will put up with far less than Max would, and I know the signs that he’s had enough and it’s time to leave a situation. I know this, because I’ve known him since he was a few weeks old.
Don’t judge me for shopping. I won’t judge you for adopting as long as you know what you’re doing and don’t put me, or my puppy, in danger.