Shelter dogs aren’t broken!

If I had a penny every time I heard that someone passed up the chance to own a shelter dog because they wanted a new puppy, one that they could “easily train”– I would be a millionaire (or at least a thousandaire :D)  Oh yes, it happens every single day. Holly Housewife decides that a 3 month old puppy would be easier to train than the 2 year old dog because the one in the shelter is “broken”.

And then she realizes that she has to potty train it… and kennel train it… and train it not to jump… and train it not to bite… and so on and so on. And then what happens to that cute little puppy in six months?The cycle is complete and it too becomes a shelter dog. Does that make this dog “broken”?

No! It doesn’t and here are FIVE REASONS WHY I (and the HSUS) think you should adopt your next pet:


Reason #1 : You will become someone’s HERO!

It is true. Between 3 and 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the US  because too many people give up their pets and too few people adopt from shelters. Space at shelters is extremely limited and the staff members need to make the decisions to euthanize  HEALTHY animals who haven’t been adopted. So when people tell me that they are taking their dog to the shelter, but that its okay because their dog is adorable/sweet/loving, I get so mad. All of the dogs and cats are adorable and sweet and loving! But they are still being put to sleep.

Reason #2: You will be getting a HEALTHY pet!

What people don’t understand about animal shelters is that they are stocked full with happy, healthy animals that are just waiting for someone to take them home. Shelters examine and give vaccinations to animals when they arrive, and they also spay and neuter for you!  This isn’t a deal that you will get with the pet store or online. Trust me. It is a common misconception that animals end up in shelters because they’ve been abused or done something “wrong”. In fact, most animals are given to shelters because of their owners personal reasons, not because of anything they’ve done. Things like a divorce, a move, lack of time or financial constraints are among the most common reasons why pets lose their homes. How is that fair?

Reason #3: You will save money!

Adopting a pet from an animal shelter or rescue is SO much cheaper than buying at a pet store or online. They are already spayed/neutered and vaccinated. That adoption fee seems like a bargain to me, compared to the $600 check you are writing just to purchase the dog!

Reason #4: You will actually feel better

All pets have a way of putting a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Not to mention, you just saved a life. That makes you feel even better! Not only do these animals give you unconditional love, but they know that you saved them, and they will be forever grateful!

Reason #5: You will be sticking it to the Puppy Mill Owners! 🙂

Enough said 😀

I don’t mean to sound so harsh, but it is so important for everyone to just open their eyes for a second. Go to your local shelter, contact a local rescue or EVEN EASIER go to There are so many websites to buy dogs, but everyone forgets this really easy one that could actually save a life. But more importantly, before you even think about getting a new pet, make sure that you and your family have time for this new family member. Sit down and have that talk about expectations and schedules. In five months when you say, “we don’t have time for it anymore”… Who’s fault is that, really?

“Shelter dogs aren’t broken, they’ve simply experienced more life than other dogs. If they were human we would call them wise. They would be the ones with tales to tell and stories to write, the ones dealt a bad hand who responded with courage. Don’t pity a shelter dog. Adopt one. And be proud to have their greatness by your side.”


October is National ADOPT A SHELTER DOG month! Please consider adopting a forever pet for your home from a rescue or a shelter! If you can’t adopt, considering fostering and ALWAYS keep your local shelter or rescue in mind. They could always use food donations, toys for the animals, and old blankets! Take a look in that attic or garage and make the day for an animal a little better.


Share your favorite adoption TAIL here 🙂 In a world full of bad stories, it will be nice to hear a few of the good ones.


As I ALWAYS say, *Adopt, Don’t Shop!” 


Puppy Mills in Winnebago County, Iowa

I have noticed that over the last week, someone (or a few someones) keeps using that search phrase and keeps coming across this blog. Whether you are a friend or foe, I feel as though I must bring some attention to this!

In Winnebago County, IA, there are technically ten breeders that could most definitely fall into the puppy mill category. Not having gone to visit any of these myself, I can only speculate… I shall do so  now.

It is my opinion that, since there are only seven actual towns in Winnebago County, that it is the perfect place to have an operation like a puppy mill. It is pretty secluded and right along the Minnesota border! According to various sources, of the seven actual towns in the county (Buffalo Center, Forest City, Lake Mills, Leland, Rake, Scarville, and Thompson) , Leland and Rake are the only two without citizens that could even be considered puppy mill owners. Those aren’t very good odds.

Now that being said, I want to explain to you where my “sources” get their information. Most people who are licensed with the USDA to breed dogs, tend to have conditions that the regular Joe off of the street would find terrible. This is because they have been given permission to breed dogs and then sell them to pet stores. Now, breeders who sell puppies to pet stores must hold a USDA dealer license, and many states also require breeders to obtain a license to have a dog breeding kennel. However, the standards they must follow are little more than simply requiring food, water and shelter for the dogs. It is perfectly legal for a licensed breeder to:

  • Own hundreds, or even thousands of dogs
  • Keep all dogs in cages for years at a time
  • Breed dogs as often as possible, and to churn out as many puppies as possible

These standards set forth by the US government are not meant to make sure that any of these dogs lead a long, happy life; they are meant to impose the only bare minimum of care requirements. That being said, there are only a few inspectors in each state for the hundreds—sometimes thousands- licensed kennels. So you can find names and information about potential mill owners on the USDA website.

Now, because I have been accused of spreading propaganda, I would like to list off a list of things that send up RED FLAGS. Meaning, when you encounter these things, the breeder might more than likely be a puppy mill.

How can you tell the difference between a puppy mill and a “good breeder”?
In order to make money, a puppy mill operates differently than a responsible, humane breeder.

  •         The Mill Owner has several breeds of dogs for sale at the same time.
  •         The Mill Owner offers to ship dogs to new owners, without meeting you first.
  •         The Mill Owner will not allow customers to view their property or kennel. (OR they will, but you can’t see the living quarters of the adults, you are only allowed into the showroom to see the puppies)
  •         The Mill Owner does not require an application or references from people buying a puppy.
  •         The Mill Owner does not ask buyers to return the dog or contact them if at any point in the dog’s life if the owners cannot keep the dog.
  •         The Mill Owner has a very large kennel. Owning fifty to several hundred dogs is typical.
  •         The Mill Owner breeds females every time they come into heat.
  •         The Mill Owner is USDA-licensed so they can sell puppies to pet stores. A USDA license is a red flag that a breeder is in the business to make money.
  •         The Mill Owner does not screen his or her dogs for genetic defects

These are the facts. I am not trying to accuse every breeder of neglecting their dogs, and I am certainly not condemning every breeder in Winnebago to the puppy mill category. If you can honestly, 1000% say that you give each of your dogs the care and love that it needs, then awesome. But if you can’t, then maybe you need to reevaluate your situation. I firmly believe that there are good breeders out there. Breeders that care about each dog and puppy that puts its paws on their property… It is the other breeders that I worry about. Then ones that never let the paws touch the ground.

Again, i welcome any comments on this. Criticism or praise.


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