Do you know how many organizations there are in the Ottawa and eastern Ontario region that rescue and find homes for abandoned, unwanted and homeless dogs? Twenty-eight. And each facility lists a sizeable number of dogs, making hundreds of potential best-friends waiting and hoping for a family and a permanent home.
This includes not only city-run facilities like shelters but also independently run rescues, both breed-specific and not.
Many of the dogs who wind up in non-profit, volunteer-run rescues are from far away and have been pulled from shelters where they were days or hours away from being euthanized. Many of these dogs were picked up as strays and many of them were surrendered by owners who could no longer care for them. They come in all shapes and sizes, all ages, all temperaments and all stages of obedience. But they all share one thing: through no fault of their own, they were born into this world and then they were discarded.
It shocks me how many discarded dogs are looking for homes. And yet, when looking for a new canine member of the family, so many people still look in the classifieds, online or on bulletin boards to find that ‘perfect’ puppy. They go to advertised breeders and have in mind a specific type of dog or a specific “look”. They often don’t research the breed they’re about to share the next ten to fifteen years of their lives with. They don’t meet the dog’s parents, they don’t sign a contract that promises they will return the dog to the breeder should they not be able to keep it. They don’t imagine this puppy will end up being riddled with health issues because it was created as a “designer” dog. They don’t consider whether or not this breeder is reputable, that is, how the breeding parents are vetted (health, temperament, genetic predispositions, etc.), how often the dogs are bred, their reasons for breeding and last, but not least, what kinds of conditions the dogs are living in.
Not all breeders are bad and not all rescues are good. But all dogs deserve to be given a chance after they’ve been cast aside.
If you’re thinking of adding a dog to your family, please visit the website for Canada’s Guide to Dogs here. There is a comprehensive list of organizations where rescued dogs may be adopted (the adoption fee takes into consideration the cost of running the rescue), reputable breeders, as well as breed information that will help you decide which kind of dog is for you.