Mabel the Rescue Dog

Encourage Dog Lovers to Adopt ๐Ÿ’•

4 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

Since Molly hasn’t been fostering lately, she has been helping out in other ways whenever she can. One of the biggest ways to help out is by attending events with dogs. The rescue she volunteers for has kennels at their office space for dogs who aren’t in foster homes yet. So, Molly will sometimes volunteer to take those dogs to events to help increase their chances of adoption.

However, not every dog will benefit from an adoption event. Some dogs are too nervous or timid to attend, so the volunteers at the rescue have to really consider which dogs can go to public events.

What are Adoption Events?

Events are different for every rescue, but most events involve taking adoptable dogs somewhere so they can meet potential adopters. These are often held at pet stores, outdoor festivals, or other dog-friendly places. These events are essential for many dogs because they allow people to see how the dog behaves in different settings, and it makes it easy for people wanting to adopt to stop by and meet a bunch of dogs. Some events allow people to adopt a dog at the event while others are just for exposure so someone can adopt the dog at a later date.

What Makes a Dog Eligible for an Event?

Since a lot of dogs find their forever families at these events, it seems like every dog should get to go, but that’s not the best idea. Not every dog does well at events because there are a lot of people, dogs, and noises around, so some pups get overwhelmed. For example, dogs from abuse situations may be too nervous to go for walks, let alone a chaotic event. So, many of the dogs Molly has fostered haven’t been able to go due to shyness.

Before any event at the rescue Molly volunteers for, the people working at the office decide if the dogs without foster homes seem like they would do well in a public setting or not. If a dog is in a foster home, the foster parent can decide if they think their dog should go.

Here are a few signs that a dog will likely do well in a public setting:

  • They’re friendly around all people, even kids
  • They don’t act aggressively toward other dogs
  • They walk well on a leash
  • They don’t get startled easily

If all those statements are true for a dog, they’ll probably do well at an event. Yet, every dog is different. For example, if a dog doesn’t meet all those requirements, they might still do well at an event if they hang out further away from the crowds or wear a “nervous” bandana. It’s up to the handler to pay attention to the dog’s body language to decide if they feel comfortable while they’re in that new environment.

What Happens if a Dog Doesn’t Do Well at an Event?

If a dog doesn’t do as well at an event as volunteers thought they would, it’s not the end of the world. If a dog is showing signs of fear or aggression at an event, it’s best for the handler to take the dog out of that space. Sometimes, even just taking them for a walk away from everyone for a few minutes can be enough to help a dog feel better. Even the friendliest dogs may benefit from a break during events, and watching a dog’s body language is the best way to tell when a dog needs some time away from the chaos.

Setting a rescue dog up for success is extremely important. So, if that involves taking extra precautions at their first event, then that’s what needs to happen. Even if it means they shouldn’t attend any events at all, that’s okay too! Helping a rescue dog feel comfortable is much more important than taking them to new places. Events are a great way to give an adoptable dog exposure, but it’s not the only way to help them get adopted.

If you’re fostering a dog, only take them to events if they seem ready. Since you’ll get to know them better than anyone else, it’s up to you to decide if events are right for them. For dogs who aren’t in foster homes, volunteers at the rescue will know what’s best for them. And in either situation, pay attention to the dog’s body language at the event. Even dogs that normally do well can get overwhelmed. If you need to leave an event because a dog is acting stressed, don’t feel bad! It’ll be better for everyone in the long run, especially that pup.

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3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

When I look over Molly’s shoulder as she scrolls through social media, I can’t help but notice that every time there’s a post about a foster dog, there are comments telling the person they should adopt their foster. While I’m sure they mean well, these comments do a lot more harm than good. They can be hurtful to humans who foster, so I’m going to discuss a few reasons why you should stop telling foster parents to “foster fail.”

It Defeats the Purpose of Fostering

The purpose of fostering is to help as many dogs as possible find homes. It’s okay for foster parents to adopt dogs if it’s the right fit, of course, but if every foster family did that, then no one would be left to foster. You’re not supposed to go into fostering expecting to adopt, so it can be frustrating when people who have never fostered are making you feel bad if you don’t adopt the dog. When it comes to fostering, you often need to look at the bigger picture because there are so many dogs who need saving.

It May Already Be Hard For Them to Let the Dog Go

Some foster parents have a hard time saying goodbye to the dog. Molly hasn’t had this issue, but she’s talked to many other foster families who have. Some people get attached to every dog they care for, but that doesn’t mean they should adopt every dog that enters their home. By telling a foster parent to adopt their foster, you could be making their emotions even worse. They might love that dog more than anything but not be in a place to adopt, so reminding them of that might only make the process harder for them.

Their Home Might Not Be the Perfect Home for the Dog

Just because a dog does well in a foster home short-term doesn’t mean that home is ideal for their forever home. All the dogs that we’ve fostered have done well in our house, but I prefer to be the only permanent dog, so it’s better for the dogs to go to a home where they can have their own space or have a dog sibling to play with. On social media, it’s easy to assume that a foster parent and their foster dog are perfect for each other, but a lot goes on behind the scenes that no one but the foster family knows. So, even if it seems like a foster dog should live in their foster home permanently, that might not be the best option for them.

Most Foster Parents Don’t Like to Hear it

For all of the reasons above, foster parents usually don’t like to hear people pressuring them to adopt their foster. People start to sound like a broken record, and it often discourages people from fostering. If you want to be supportive of someone who fosters, please avoid asking if they’ll adopt the dog. Instead, tell them that they’re doing a great job or that you’re proud of them for how many dogs they’ve helped. Those are the types of things that help them feel better and make them want to keep volunteering with dogs.

If someone wants to adopt their foster, they will. But if you don’t live in the same house as them, you don’t have any right to express your opinion on that matter. Again, I’m sure humans saying these things don’t mean to be hurtful, but in the future, please rethink encouraging a foster parent to adopt.

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3 min read

Hi, it’s Molly. I know my blog posts are usually from Mabel’s point of view, but this one is a heavy topic, so I thought it would be more fitting if I talked about it without Mabel’s help.

Many people think fostering is sad because it’s hard to give up the dogs. Yet, if you’ve been following this blog, you probably know that giving up dogs isn’t sad for me. In fact, it’s one of the happiest parts of fostering for me because I know that I’ve helped the dog find a perfect forever home. In fact, I even wrote a post about why fostering doesn’t make me sad.

However, a recent event made me realize that there is a part of fostering that’s heartbreaking. Not just for me, but for anyone who knew and loved the dog. It took me a while to write this post because it has been difficult for me to process, but I want to briefly share my experience.

The Saddest Part of Fostering

I won’t go into too many details for the sake of this dog’s family, but one of my former foster dogs passed away. Of course, every foster parent knows that will happen some day in the future, especially after fostering senior dogs, but it always seems like such a distant fate.

I’ve fostered several older dogs, so I’ve been aware that one of them might pass soon. I’ve been trying to mentally prepare myself for it. However, my oldest foster wasn’t the one who passed. Neither was my second or third oldest. It ended up being Hazel the Beagle. She was only about eight years old, but she recently got diagnosed with cancer.

Thankfully, her family called me to let me know, and they even invited me over to say goodbye. I never would’ve expected Hazel to be the first one to pass, so I took it even harder than I anticipated. It just didn’t seem fair that a dog who spent her whole life breeding in poor conditions only got to spend two years in a loving home once she was free. She deserved so much more time than that.

No matter how sad foster parents get to send their foster dogs to a new home, I’m sure everyone would agree that moments like this are actually the saddest parts of fostering.

Staying Positive for the Future

Now, after hearing news like that and seeing a former foster at their weakest, most people would feel defeated. They might want to give up helping dogs for a while in fear of getting hurt more. Those thoughts crossed my mind at first, but they didn’t last long. Because as sad as Hazel’s death was, I still had something to be grateful for. Her last moments were spent in the most wonderful home imaginable. She was so loved in those last two years of her life all because she was fostered, found a wonderful family, and continued to get pampered by them until her final day. Instead of giving up volunteering because of sadness, I’d rather help more dogs find as much love as Hazel.

Of course, thinking about this is still sad, but I’m so grateful that Hazel was loved. All these foster dogs deserve so much love, especially since many of them didn’t get proper care in the past. So, that’s why I haven’t stopped helping dogs. In fact, I even took a new foster dog recently even though I planned on taking a fostering break for a while longer. Because even when sad things happen, it’s good to at least know that the dog ended up having an amazing life because people cared about them. I’m proud to be one of the people who has cared for each one of my 21 foster dogs.

So, if you’re a foster parent facing the loss of a former foster dog, it’s okay to be sad about it and feel defeated. It’s a difficult situation to go through. But just remember that you saved that dog and gave them a wonderful family, so even in their final days, they were surrounded by love.

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4 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

There are lots of heartwarming stories of two rescue dogs finding a home together. Tuck and Cuda, some of our former foster dogs, are a perfect example of that. A lot of times dogs are surrendered together or form new friendships with dogs at the rescue or shelter. When that happens, people who hear about them are eager to keep them together, but is that always the right decision?

Not All Dog Pairs are “Bonded”?

Lately, Molly has noticed a lot of comments on rescue dog social media posts begging rescues to keep pairs of dogs together. It seems like any time two dogs are sitting together in a photo, at least one human comments, “don’t split them up!”

But the reality is that you can’t know everything about two dogs from one photo. Just because two dogs are playing together or cuddling together in a Facebook post doesn’t mean they NEED to go to the same home. Sometimes they may be friends, but they can still thrive in separate homes.

However, there are some cases where dogs might look like they’re best friends online, but in real life, they don’t care if the other one is around. Molly has posted plenty of photos of me laying next to the foster dogs, but I definitely prefer to be the only permanent dog around here. In most of those photos, Molly was cuddling with both of us on the couch, and when she got up, the other dog and I stayed put. So, the photos look like we’re cuddling, but trust me, we’re not.

So, don’t assume two dogs at a rescue are bonded unless it specifically says so in their adoption description.

Should Bonded Dogs Be Adopted Together?

The word “bonded” isn’t always used the same when it comes to dogs. Some people use it as a synonym for “friends” while others only use it when they’re certain two dogs can’t be apart. Yet, even if two dogs are very comfortable around each other, they can still be split up. It might seem like a sad thing to do, but there are several reasons most rescues will split up dog friends:

  1. Sometimes finding them a home is more important than their friendship. If the rescue or shelter is crowded or short on volunteers, they’d rather have the dogs find homes separately than never find homes at all.
  2. Dogs can be protective of their friends from past lives. Once Molly tried to foster a bonded pair of dogs (Sonny/Odin and Cher), but Cher loved her friend so much that she became aggressive toward me and Molly to protect him. She wouldn’t even let anyone in the same room as him, so we realized them living in a home together wouldn’t be safe for anyone involved.
  3. Some dogs aren’t as bonded as they seem. I’ve heard about several bonded pairs who were really comfortable around each other but ended up showing more growth when separated than when they were together.

It’s easy to see two dog friends and root for them, but getting adopted together isn’t always what’s best for them. The humans taking care of those dogs know their current personalities best, so it’s up to them to decide if keeping them together or separating them is the better option. Instead of assuming two dogs need to be kept together, please be respectful of whichever route the rescue or shelter decides.

Are There Exceptions?

In most cases, it’s okay to split two dogs up, but there are always exceptions. For example, puppy mill survivors tend to come out of their shells more when adopted with another dog. In some cases, dogs who have lived together their whole lives only trust humans if their friend is around. In extreme cases like those, the rescue may require that two dogs are adopted together or at least require that there’s another dog in each home for them to befriend.

But the goal of all shelters and rescues is to find homes for as many dogs as possible. There’s a never-ending list of dogs in the world that need homes, so the faster dogs can get adopted, the more dogs can be brought in. In most cases, getting a dog adopted is the priority, and that might not always allow for a dog to stay with their friend.

So, instead of questioning why two dogs aren’t being adopted together, please trust the organization’s process. Running a rescue and finding homes for dogs is a lot of work, and the people volunteering at them do so out of the kindness of their hearts. If dogs need to stay together, volunteers will find a way to make it happen, but if the dogs would still be happy on their own, that’s an option too.

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Hi everyone, it’s Mabel! This blog is long overdue for an update post, so here it is. I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the new year so far.

Foster Dog Updates

We haven’t shared our fostering adventures in a while because there hasn’t been much to tell. Like everyone else, the holiday season was busy for us, so we didn’t have much time to take in foster dogs. However, we did have one foster dog for the week leading up to Christmas. Her name is Fergie, and she was our 20th foster dog!

Fergie is a French Bulldog/Pug mix, so as you can imagine, she was scooped up in no time. The rescue took her in with a few other dogs that came from a bad breeding situation. Fergie stayed at the rescue’s office for a few days, and in that time, she found a forever home. However, she couldn’t go home with her adopter until she got a vet checkup, which was scheduled later in the week.

So, Molly fostered her until she was able to go home with her adopter. She was a fairly easy foster, but like all breeder surrenders, she had some unusual behaviors. First of all, she was skittish in certain scenarios. She loved people and being pet, but she was always hesitant at first. She grew attached to Molly, but she was still scared of things that were new or unfamiliar. For example, she had never been on a walk before, so she was too scared to walk on a leash.

In only a week, we saw her come out of her shell quite a bit. She started playing with toys and pawing at Molly when she wanted attention. When it was time for her to go to her forever home, Molly was confident she would do well, especially since her new mom seemed very kind. Last we heard, Fergie is already being spoiled, just like she deserves!

Focusing on Other Volunteer Work

At the moment, we don’t have a foster dog, but we are planning to dog-sit some former fosters next week. Whenever we don’t have a foster, people consistently ask us when we’re getting another one. Lately, I can tell Molly has been less eager to rush into getting more dogs. She has been busy, and I know that fostering a dog can be stressful. The last two fosters we had liked to bark in the middle of the night, so I’m sure that wasn’t fun for her.

So, to answer the question that everyone’s asking, I don’t know when we’ll get another foster dog. If a really easy one needs a foster home or if one that’s already adopted needs a place to stay for a few days, I’m sure Molly will step up. But overall, I think she’ll be taking more breaks so she doesn’t overwhelm herself. She loves fostering dogs, but she still deserves to relax once in a while.

With this in mind, Molly made a New Year’s Resolution to focus on other types of volunteering this year. Whenever she doesn’t have a foster dog, she will try to sign up for more events at the rescue and potentially see if other animal organizations need volunteer work. That way, she can still help dogs in need without it having to be a full-time gig.

Of course, fostering is one of the best ways to help dogs in need, but don’t feel bad if you can’t commit to it right now. Not everyone has the time and energy to foster all the time, and that’s okay. But if you’re looking for a way to make a difference this year, consider some type of volunteering. Even if you can’t volunteer, donating and advocating are great ways to help animals too!

What Does the Future Hold for My Blog?

Since Molly has been having a hard time committing to fostering, she has also had a difficult time committing to this blog, as I’m sure many of you have noticed. Don’t worry, this blog will stay up for years to come, but it may never be as active as it used to be. We’ve decided that we’ll only post on it when we’re inspired or have something specific to share with the world. And if you ever have any animal-related topics you’d like us to cover, or if you’d like to submit a guest post, feel free to contact us!

Molly has a lot of other writing projects to focus on, including her writing jobs and a book she has been working on. So, she’s planning to focus on those for the time being. When she has more time, she might add more cool things to this blog or potentially create a non-dog-related blog (crazy, right?), but we’ll just have to wait and see.

I hope 2023 is off to a good start for everyone! Keep helping rescue dogs whenever you get the chance.

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5 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but this is a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately. Last month, we stopped fostering guinea pigs and resumed fostering dogs. We took in a small, easy dog named Emerson. But unfortunately, the rescue we foster for has been having troubles renewing their dog selling license, so getting him adopted has been tricky.

Until the rescue gets everything figured out, Emerson and other dogs formerly owned by the rescue can’t be advertised or adopted out through the rescue. So, a volunteer currently owns him while Molly fosters him. The volunteer wanted to keep the adoption process as similar to the rescue’s as possible, which includes the adoption fee.

Molly has never questioned the adoption fees before. She knows they’re on the higher end (a couple hundred dollars), but considering how much it costs for volunteers to care for a dog, it seems logical. However, since she has had to advertise Emerson herself through Facebook groups and apps like Nextdoor, she has had to deal with all communications firsthand without the rescue’s help. She quickly learned that many humans are against high adoption fees.

Why are People Mad About Adoption Fees?

When Molly made a post about Emerson on Nextdoor, she was shocked to see lots of people leaving negative comments. Right away, people accused her of charging too much for a dog she’s just “getting rid of.” Of course, Molly kindly explained the situation and assured everyone that Emerson is very loved and that no one is getting rid of him. She also pointed out that she was not in charge of the fee.

Luckily, nobody fought back after she gave a reasonable response, but a few more comments popped up saying that the price was ridiculous. It caused Molly to wonder if they were right, and she considered trying to get the fee reduced slightly. But later, other animal rescuers commented defending her and thanking her for taking care of Emerson. Those comments reminded her that she’s doing the right thing, so she shouldn’t let mean comments get to her.

For a while, Molly wondered what she would set the adoption fee at if it were up to her. She concluded that she would make it a little less, but she wouldn’t drastically change it. She knows people don’t like to spend more money than they have to, but a dog is different from other products. We’re living creatures and family members!

Are High Adoption Fees Reasonable?

Molly believes that high adoption fees are reasonable, especially when a rescue has had lots of success with their fees in the past. Adoption fees not only include the dog’s adoption paperwork, but they also cover their recent vaccines, monthly preventatives, and spay/neuter procedure. At the rescue, Molly often sent some supplies home with the dog too.

Another reason we think high adoption fees are okay is because dogs are a big commitment. Even if the fee is low, they will still require hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year in supplies, vet care, training, and other expenses. So, if someone is refusing to pay the fee that’s listed, it makes me wonder if they can afford a dog in the long run. If someone is willing to pay the fee, there’s a better chance they’ll take good care of the dog.

The only time I think adoption fees are “too high” is if someone is trying to get rid of a dog as quickly as possible. If a dog is about to be euthanized or if someone had to re-home their dog within a few days, they can’t be picky with the price for the dog’s sake. Some fee should be in place, but if it seems too high for that situation, it’s likely someone trying to scam you, such as a puppy mill or someone trying to re-sell a dog they got for a cheap price.

So, if a rescue or shelter has a high adoption price, don’t judge them. They work hard to care for those dogs and they want to ensure they go to a family that’s serious about the dog’s care. Plus, I’ve never seen rescue organizations have the insane prices that breeders have. They would never charge thousands of dollars for a dog unless they were shipping them from another country (such as dogs rescued from the meat trade).

Why Shouldn’t Adoption Fees Be Low or Free?

Many humans seem to think that if someone is re-homing a dog, they should be given away for cheap or free. Sadly, that’s a bad idea because there are many not nice humans out there. People may scoop up free dogs to re-sell them or use them for dog fighting or as bait dogs. If the dog is not fixed, they could become a breeding dog at a puppy mill.

Thus, even if you’re not associated with a rescue, please require a fee if you need to re-home your dog. If you don’t have time to re-home them, find a no-kill rescue to take them in and re-home them for you. That way, you can ensure they’ll go to a good family.

I know adoption fees can be more than people are willing to pay, but please look at the bigger picture. These fees are in place to keep dogs safe and organizations funded. If you don’t like a fee, it doesn’t cost anything to scroll past the post and not say anything. And even if you do comment about it, please don’t be rude. There are a lot of people out there trying to help dogs that face hate comments for no reason.

Please be nice to animal rescue volunteers, and please don’t assume the worst in people who are trying to help dogs. For people like Molly, the dog’s happiness and well-being are a priority, so of course, the adoption fee is never set with profit or any malicious intent in mind.

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Hi everyone, it’s Mabel! I haven’t posted about our fostering adventures in a while because there hasn’t been much to report. After Laris (fka Lady A) the German Shepherd got adopted, we took a break for about a month. Molly was out of town for a lot of weekends, so it didn’t seem logical to take on a new foster dog yet.

Our summer is continuing to be very eventful, so Molly was unsure if she’d have the time and energy to commit to a new foster dog, especially since she doesn’t always know how much work a dog will be before she takes them in. Yet, she still wanted to do her part to help. She volunteered in other ways, but she still longed for a foster. So, instead of a foster dog, she considered other foster animals.

And that’s how we ended up with four guinea pigs! At least, that’s what Molly says. She’s never let me see them because I have a high prey drive. Someone surrendered a LOT of guinea pigs to the rescue recently because they kept their male and female guinea pigs in the same enclosure, and before they knew it, they multiplied like crazy. (Apparently, guinea pigs can have up to five litters per year!)

One foster parent took almost all the guinea pigs and it was overwhelming, so Molly offered to take a few. She’s never cared for guinea pigs before, but she thought it would be fun to try at least once. She took two boys and two girls (in different pens, of course). Their names are Kix, Kashi, Trix, and Mini Wheat. As you might’ve guessed, all the guinea pigs have cereal-themed names.

Luckily, guinea pigs are pretty easy to care for, but Molly quickly learned that she would never want any of her own. She thinks they’re adorable and fun to watch, but they’re very messy. She said they poop about 100 times a day! They can be litter boxed trained, but these ones are only a few months old and haven’t fully figured it out yet.

Since they lived with a lot of guinea pigs before being rescued, they’re still pretty shy because they’re not used to being the center of attention. They love to eat vegetables out of Molly’s hand, but they always run away and hide if she tries to pick them up. They get more comfortable around her every day, but they’re still getting used to their foster home.

One of Molly’s favorite things about the guinea pigs is the sounds they make. When they hear her grab a bag of food, they all make a “wheeking” sound, which means they know there’s food. They aren’t afraid to come close to Molly if she has some tasty lettuce in her hands.

No one has shown interest in adopting them yet, but the adoption process is much easier than the one for dogs. So, hopefully someone will fall in love with them soon and give them a loving home. They’re social animals, so hopefully they’ll get to be adopted in pairs.

I wish Molly would let me see the guinea pigs, but she said I’d scare them if I stared at them all day. She also said that after this, she’ll probably stick to fostering dogs. But this is definitely a fun experience for her, and it’s an important reminder that dogs aren’t the only animals that need foster homes!

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2 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

Most pet parents have heard the sayings “Adopt, Don’t Shop” and “Adopt or Shop Responsibly” at some point in their lives. These words are often used as hashtags on social media, and they’re sayings that I strongly support. However, I recently learned that there’s some controversy around them.

“Adopt, Don’t Shop” is the more common of the two phrases, but some humans don’t like it. Some people believe it’s sending the wrong message and that’s why they use “Adopt or Shop Responsibly” instead. To us, the two phrases get the same message across, and I think both are equally great. Here’s why!

What “Adopt, Don’t Shop” Means to Us

Whenever Molly and I say, “Adopt, Don’t Shop,” we use it as a way to say “adoption is a priority.” To us, the phrase means that if you’re able, you should consider shelters and rescues above a breeder. There are so many dogs at risk of euthanasia, so we believe that it’s a good idea to meet rescue dogs first before encouraging breeders to bring more dogs into this world.

If adopting ends up not being the best choice for your family, it’s a little disappointing to us, but we don’t judge as long as you’re cautious and responsible when finding a breeder.

Why Do People Prefer “Adopt or Shop Responsibly”?

A lot of people mistake the phrase “Adopt, Don’t Shop” for “Adopt, Never Shop.” While some humans mean the latter, that’s not the saying. Like all phrases, it’s not always cut and dry, so it’s up to the person (or dog!) using it to decide what it means to them.

Even though we do think everyone should consider adoption first, we know that won’t always be the case. If no one went to breeders, some good breeds might go extinct. So, it’s okay for some people to go to reputable breeders, as long as they aren’t the significant majority. I once heard that if half of the people planning to go to breeders adopted instead, we wouldn’t have to euthanize dogs in shelters anymore, so that’s why we encourage adoption as a priority so much.

For those reasons, we don’t say “Adopt, Never Shop” because that wouldn’t be accurate to our beliefs. (Although you should never buy from breeders that get their puppies from puppy mills, such as puppy websites and puppy-selling stores).

Choose the Phrase That You’re Comfortable with!

To us, “Adopt, Don’t Shop” and “Adopt or Shop Responsibly” are just different wordings of the same message. So, we don’t care which one you use in your hashtags. Choose which one sounds better to you, and don’t let people criticize you for what you believe in. Humans who stand up for dogs in need are wonderful, so thank you to anyone that donates, volunteers, fosters, adopts, and advocates!

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7 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

Lately, Wisconsin has been having a lot of achievements when it comes to banning retail puppy sales. There are currently five cities in Wisconsin that have passed the humane pet store ordinance, and a sixth one is in the process. Molly recently attended a council meeting to support the ban on puppy sales in pet stores and to learn more information about these laws.

For those of you who don’t know, almost all puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. Breeders that care about their dogs want to ensure that the puppies in their care go to a good home, so they wouldn’t ship them off for a store to sell. So, by banning the retail sales of puppies, kittens, and rabbits, these mills lose some of their sources. Animal advocates will continue to fight until all cities have passed these laws.

Humans who know a lot about the puppy industry believe passing these ordinances is obvious. But not everyone cares about dogs as much as Molly and her fellow volunteers. So, Molly wanted me to discuss some of the misconceptions she’s heard recently relating to these humane pet store ordinances.

“This Will Harm Good Breeders”

The goal of this ordinance is not to harm dog breeders. It’s only targeting large-scale commercial breeders who put profit above everything else. Breeders who breed and raise a litter or two at a time in their own homes will not be penalized in any way. As I mentioned before, breeders who care about their dogs do not ship them off to pet stores, so prohibiting pet stores from selling puppies won’t stop good breeders from selling their dogs.

There are lots of options for buying dogs other than pet stores, including humane breeders, shelters, and rescues. These places won’t hand you a puppy the day of, but that’s a good thing. These other options want to ensure that the dogs in their care are going to suitable homes. Plus, getting a dog is a big decision that should never be an impulse buy, which is something that happens often at puppy stores.

“Some Pet Stores are Trying to Do the Right Thing”

More often than not, this is not true. Pet stores that only sell products are doing good things for pets, but those businesses won’t be harmed. If puppy stores were “trying to do the right thing,” they’d either stop selling puppies or find more humane sources to get them from, such as partnering with a rescue or breeding and raising a litter themselves. Selling dozens of puppy litters at a time isn’t humane.

Puppy stores like Petland often claim to be making improvements, but they have yet to show it. When a council member recently asked Petland for a list of breeders they use, they didn’t get a response. But research from Bailing Out Benji shows that some of Petland’s breeders are known puppy mills. So, “trying” to do the right thing isn’t good enough when dogs’ lives are at stake.

“My Puppy is From a Puppy Store and Healthy, so it Can’t Be That Bad”

Sadly, this is something Molly hears often when talking about puppy mills. Decisions shouldn’t be made only based on your personal dog. Of course, many of the puppies that come from pet stores are just fine, but many of them aren’t. Many of them suffer from long-term behavioral and medical issues, and some don’t even survive a week. Just because your pet store puppy seems perfect doesn’t mean there aren’t puppies suffering.

Also, it’s not just about the puppies. Even if all the puppies are healthy, the parents probably aren’t. Molly has seen many breeding dogs rescued from puppy mills, and they’re always in rough shape mentally and physically. So, I would hope that most people don’t think a “perfect” puppy is worth the suffering of the adult dogs who bred them.

“We Shouldn’t Control Who Sells Legal Products”

Molly heard someone compare selling puppies to other products like tobacco and alcohol. They argued that if something is legal, we shouldn’t be able to restrict people from selling it, regardless of how we feel about it. However, that argument is pretty flawed because not every place can sell things like alcohol, so why can’t we restrict certain places from selling puppies too?

Of course, dog lovers don’t see puppies as products, so it’s difficult to compare a living thing to other merchandise. But to the law, pets are still considered property, so that’s where the argument was likely coming from. I’m sure everyone that owns a dog knows that we’re family though!

Bulldog in pet store

“I Don’t Like Dogs, so This Doesn’t Matter to Me”

Not everyone is an animal person, and while I’ll never understand it, that’s okay. But just because you don’t want to be around dogs, cats, and rabbits doesn’t mean you should want them to suffer. If this issue doesn’t matter to someone on the council, then why would they vote against it? If it makes no difference to them, I hope they would do the right thing.

Yet, there are also ways to look at this without considering the innocent animals being harmed. Overall, puppy stores are bad for the community. They cause people to unknowingly support animal cruelty, and they cause lots of suffering for families when the puppies tragically pass away. Plus, many people are tricked into “leasing” or “financing” these puppies, which ends up costing them much more than the thousands of dollars they already paid.

“You Don’t Care About Any Pets Except Dogs, Cats, and Rabbits”

I can’t speak for all humans, but I know this isn’t true for Molly. Molly loves all pets, and she personally wouldn’t buy a pet from any pet store (yes, Wooper is a rescue!) But there’s a reason these ordinances are only focusing on dogs, cats, and rabbits. Of course, all pets can be overbred and mistreated, but no other animals are currently being mass-produced and shoved in tiny cages the way these critters are. If volunteers learn that any other pets are being treated similarly, they’ll likely add those animals to the ordinances.

“This Won’t Stop Puppy Mills”

I never thought this would be a reason for someone to not support the humane pet store ordinance. Sure, it doesn’t directly stop puppy mills, but there’s no way for one city to stop them completely. Yet, every city can make a dent. It might seem small at first, but without every dent, we won’t be able to stop them on a bigger scale. Sure, the pet stores planning to open in one city might just move to the next, but that’s why volunteers will keep working on one city after another until retail puppy sales are banned at all of them.

Banning puppy mills directly is very difficult. There are already breeder regulations in place, but they’re minimal and hard to enforce. Getting the government to change these laws will take a long time, and breeders will likely still find loopholes. Yet, if we cut off as many sources as possible for these puppy mills, it’ll be harder for them to operate. By passing these ordinances, they’ll hopefully have no pet stores to sell to in the near future. That’s why volunteers are focusing on stopping puppy stores instead of puppy mills directly. Plus, most puppy mills are from other states, so our state’s laws wouldn’t affect them.

“The Human Society Views Puppy Stores as Competition”

This is by far the most ridiculous opinion I’ve heard. Shelters and rescues do not view pet stores or breeders as competition. They don’t even view other organizations as competition. That’s because rescues and shelters want as many dogs to find homes as possible. So, when other organizations get dogs adopted, all shelters and rescues are happy for them. No one working in dog rescue is looking to gain money, but instead, they’re hoping to have as few dogs as possible looking for homes.

If a new puppy store opened, that would increase the number of pets entering rescues. There would be more breeding dogs abandoned by puppy mills and more families surrendering pet store puppies when they don’t turn out as “perfect” as they hoped. So, it would give shelters and rescues more dogs to find homes for and more work to do. Not because there’s competition but because more dogs would end up homeless.

These humane pet store ordinances are not about money. They’re not about shutting down good businesses and being afraid of “competition.” They’re about saving dogs. Hopefully, city council members everywhere can understand that so these ordinances can keep getting passed. The more cities that pass them, the fewer dogs have to suffer.

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3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)

Every time someone asks Molly how many dogs she’s fostered, she proudly says, “18!” By the time you read this post, it may be much higher than that because I know she’s not stopping there. She’s happy about the number of dogs she’s fostered because the higher that number is, the more dogs she has saved.

From the beginning, she’s been very fixated on fostering as many dogs as she can. She’s gone from one to another with sometimes less than a day in between. She even has a bulletin board on her wall that she hopes to one day fill as much as possible. But now, after a year and a half of fostering, she’s realizing that she has been putting too much pressure on the number of dogs.

The More Dogs in Foster Homes, the Better!

Of course, the more dogs that can be fostered, the better. Every time a human fosters a dog, they get that dog out of a shelter and free up room for more dogs to be saved. So, Molly has been taking in so many dogs because she wants to help as many dogs as she can. She’s been great at getting them adopted quickly and giving them lots of love, so she often feels obligated to take a foster whenever she is able to.

However, her fostering has gotten a little less frequent lately because it can be exhausting at times. She’s beginning to accept that it’s okay to take a break now and then. As important as saving dogs is, she’s not the only human in the world that can help out.

Yet, the Number of Dogs Isn’t All That Matters

It can be easy to get caught up in the number of dogs you foster. I’ve seen humans that have fostered hundreds of dogs, and that’s a lot of lives saved! I know Molly would feel really fulfilled if she could foster hundreds of dogs, but not if she has to sacrifice her sanity to get there.

Luckily, it’s not the number that matters. What matters is the lives that a foster parent changed. Our home is just a small time in a dog’s life, but it has such a huge impact on their future. Without Molly’s foster home, the dogs she cared for might not be in the loving homes they are today. Of course, the more dogs we take in, the more dogs that can find their happily ever after. But if Molly is overly stressed, it’s harder for her to find the perfect home for them and it’s harder to train them too.

So, while Molly’s goal is still to take in as many dogs as she can, she’s going to do it at a pace that makes sense for her. Sometimes we might have ten dogs in a row while other times we might take months in between each one. Either way, the happiness of the dogs in our care is what’s most important. No matter how many dogs we foster, we’ve still changed lots of lives.

German Shepherd and Shih Tzu

Find a Fostering Routine That Works for You

Fostering dogs isn’t easy. We’re not going to sugarcoat that. But it is a rewarding experience that every dog lover should try, even if it’s just once. However, to be a happy, successful foster parent, you need to find a routine that’s right for you. Choose foster dogs you can handle and don’t overwork yourself. There are plenty of ways to foster without being exhausted.

Every rescue and shelter operates differently, so if you’re ever unsure how the fostering process works, don’t hesitate to ask them! Almost every organization is happy to accept more foster parents. And if you have any questions about fostering in general, you can ask us too!

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