You’ve probably seen classified ads of puppies for sale, the cardboard signs in front of the house down the street advertising the latest litter of pups, or the cute, lonely puppy in the pet shop that tugs you by the heart strings to bring him home. Are these really the only, or best, places to get dogs? What you don’t know about available animals might surprise you.
In the United States alone:
There are 45 cats and dogs for every person born.
Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born ever find a permanent home.
Only 1 out of every 12 cats born ever find a permanent home.
800 dogs and cats are destroyed each HOUR in the U.S. because there are not enough homes for them!
Too Many Good Dogs are Euthanized
Our society is creating more dogs and cats than it can manage. An excessive number of people buy a puppy and then dump the dog at a rescue organization (or worse, out in the country) when their lives change or the dog becomes too big, too old, too much work, or isn’t ” cute” anymore. Too many of those who keep their dogs still don’t spay or neuter them and then can’t find homes for that “oops” litter. In Milwaukee at any time, you’ll find pages and pages of dogs on the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Center’s website, where only 12% of the dogs listed from January – December 2010 were reclaimed by their family. The remaining dogs are either picked up by local shelters (24%) and the rest (53%) were put to sleep to make room for the additional dogs picked up by Milwaukee Animal Control every day. (Please see MADACC’s statistics page for updated information.) The high euthanasia rates are not the fault of MADACC or any other humane society or rescue group. There aren’t enough adopters to provide homes for all these dogs. While we have statistics for Milwaukee, this holds true elsewhere as well. Shelters all across America are full and have more adoptable dogs than they have homes for. Despite 24% of MADACC’s dogs going to local shelters, most of the dogs in shelters come from people surrendering their family pet. Many areas in other parts of the country have a much higher euthanization rate than Milwaukee. Some as high as 95%. The national average used to be 66%…that means only one dog in three made it out.
It isn’t just mixed breeds (mutts) who find themselves in need of a home. The Italian Greyhound Club of America took in over 700 dogs in 2006. This does not account for the number of Italian Greyhounds taken in by other rescue groups last year. Every year the number of Italian Greyhounds coming into all rescues is rising as the breed becomes more and more popular in pet stores and consequently puppy mills. Because we don’t have available foster homes to temporarily house all of them, the number of Italian Greyhounds rescue has to turn away is going up. With numbers like these, even if you want a pure breed, why wouldn’t you open your home to a rescue dog waiting for you instead of buying an extra puppy brought into this world for profit?
The Benefits of a Fostered Italian Greyhound
When you adopt a dog from rescue, you are getting a dog with a solid life foundation. Approved adopters are matched with one or more Italian Greyhounds in the rescue program. You’ll be able to talk with the dog’s foster family to become familiar with what your potential Italian Greyhound is like. When you adopt, instead of getting a dog who has been kept in a pen its whole life with little human contact, you’ll have the benefit of knowing your Italian Greyhound has been evaluated for health and temperament while living in a home familiar with the breed. All dogs in rescue have their vaccinations kept up to date, they are neutered/spayed, and their teeth are cleaned if necessary.
Our fostered Italian Greyhounds have all been started on house training, or are as house trained as an Italian Greyhound can be. You will also have the benefit of learning from someone who really knows the breed on how to keep your adopted Italian Greyhound house trained. Of course, most of our foster homes fall in love with their fosters, and they love to hear how well they are doing in their new home. Please stay in touch with your foster home and never be afraid to ask them for help. Our foster homes want the adoption to work out as well as you do and will usually bend over backwards to help you transition your Italian Greyhound to his new forever home.
Many of our foster homes start obedience training with their fosters. While we don’t usually have time to get them very far, they often have the basics and are primed to learn more.
Adopting an Italian Greyhound from rescue means getting a dog that is ready to be a member of your family.
What you don’t get with a rescued IG
Rescuing does not mean getting an old dog; we frequently have puppies. It is common to have dogs under one year old in rescue because Italian Greyhounds are difficult to house train and people give up on this breed early.
You will not adopt an abused animal, nor will your Italian Greyhound have lifetime emotional scars (unless you want to help out a special needs case). Most of our Italian Greyhound’s were given up by people who treated them well but did not understand the breed. Dogs of all backgrounds are surrendered to us, but that does not mean we will foist a “difficult” dog off on anyone. Rescue works with the family to make sure they adopt a dog that is right for them.
You will not get a dog that is unable, or unwilling, to bond with your family. Please don’t believe the myth that only a puppy will bond with you. Every dog of any age wants to be a part of a family, or “pack”. In many cases you will find a rescued dog will love you more because they know what it’s like to live with humans who do not understand them.
A Dog Should be a Family Member for Life
Italian Greyhounds can live very long for a dog. Thirteen to fifteen years is normal. Sixteen to eighteen is not unusual. Please remember, no matter where you get a dog, that dog deserves to live his or her whole life with you. There is a reason why we seek out dogs as companions and it isn’t just for the dog’s benefit. They are a loyal companion and see past so many of our mistakes. We owe it to them to give them a peaceful place to lie their head as they get older and loose the spunk of youth. They give us so much, and we shouldn’t fail them when they need something from us.
Rescuing is still not for you?
If you are considering buying a puppy from a pet store, please visit www.NoWisconsinPuppyMills.com. Most puppies in pet stores come from Puppy Mills. Good breeders want to know exactly where each puppy is going and make sure the puppy goes to a good home. They would never sell their puppies through a pet store. The dogs in puppy mills spend their entire lives in small cages with wire floors and are breed every time they go into heat. They receive only minimal vet care because they are produce and not viewed as pets.
Ask questions of breeders as you look for a new dog. If the breeder is not giving you the answers you want, please go somewhere else. There are plenty of dogs in need of a home and you don’t have to support sloppy breeders with your money. The breeder should talk with you about proper care for your puppy and ask many questions to make sure you will be a good home. By asking questions, the breeder can help make sure you know what you are getting into and will love and care for your new puppy his or her entire life (15 or more years for an Italian Greyhound).
Please see our All About Italian Greyhounds pages for more breed information and training tips.