Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Musings.

A neighbor, who is an artist and cat rescuer - both professions of which I am in awe - drove by on Saturday and we had a nice chat while she exclaimed over the cuteness of the goats (which has somewhat dimmed - to be addressed in a separate post) and the regal-ness of the llama (no argument there).  We were discussing strays, rescues, purebred vs. someofthisandthats.  She said that all cats are beautiful, no matter what their pedigree or lack thereof.  I couldn't agree more.  I do tend to be drawn to the un-pedigreed, the also-rans, the bottom of the barrels.  There was a point in my 30s where I toyed with the idea of actually going out and purchasing a Cornish Rex cat.  Then I met one. 

I am a real lover of mutts, however.  The muttier the better.  Almost all of the dogs with which I have had the pleasure of sharing a bit of my life (it's never long enough, let me tell you that), have been rescued dogs.  Interestingly, three were purebred - a Great Dane and two Dachshunds.  Geez, that reminds me of that Disney movie - the title of which escapes me.  The GD, Riley, came to me out of the blue, just days after I had finished negotiations for Bernie (aka Bernadette).  My sister called me and said that she and her husband's family had intervened with one of his sons who had this Dane.  It had been kept in a crate too small for him to stand or move around.  Something had to be done and I was the only one they could think of who had enough room for him.  In retrospect, I assume they were thinking of acreage - not house footage.  So Riley joined me on Friday, followed by Bernie the next day.  Life with an elephant in the house was very interesting, but he was a sweet, nervous boy, so attached to me that I nicknamed him Velcro.  Long story short - I had to rehome him three years later, due to the fact he took umbrage with a neighbor; I was very, very lucky in finding him a new home.  The rescue organization that I support (and from whom both Bernie and Scrappy came) has a spot on their website where you can post 'neighbor' dogs.  Riley now lives with a family that just adores him and has rescued him a brother, too.  It is a wonderful thing.

Sorry - got off the rails there.  I was thinking about people and dogs.  And how there are so many people, still, who insist on pedigreed dogs and cats - which come a great expense, both literally and figuratively.  As D, the artist said, for every pedigreed cat that is purchased, there is one less home for a stray.  While I think that is true in the big picture of things, there are just some people who INSIST on pedigrees.  Other than Dachshunds and Scottish Deerhounds, I am not a breed person.  I tend to think that mixing up a lot of different breeds gives you a blend of all that is good from each.  At least, that has been my experience.  And there is something else pretty special about rescued dogs - after all the abuse, neglect, sorrow and pain most of them have been through (at the hands of people) - they are still ready to love you.

Along with the usual cast of 'pedigreed' people, I think there are mutt-type people, too.  People who are quiet and keep to themselves; who are a little 'different'; don't march to the usual drum beat.  In my childhood neighborhood (that grid of a development, carved out of flat farmland), we had a large wooded area at the dead-end part of the parallel side streets.  This was jet fuel for the imagination of a certain tomboy who worshiped Davy Crockett.  (And, if you don't know who he is/was, don't speak to me you little whippersnappers!  And, no, I didn't know him personally...)  In the middle of this island of wilderness was a small cabin with no electricity or plumbing.  A man lived there that we children were terrified of.  Of course, none of us ever talked to him, but our parents warned us - it was the equivalent of the Hansel and Gretel threat - he'd throw us in an oven and bake us for dinner; or so our fevered little minds led us to believe.  One neighbor, Mrs. N., went against the norm and let him get bottles of water from their outside tap, left food for him in a basket, and generally kept her eye on him from afar.  He, in turn, wove exquisite little baskets and left them for her.  We thought she was incredibly brave.  I know now that she was incredibly kind. 

Wow.  If there was an "R" day, I would have called this "Runday Ramblings"!

*Inserting note of clarification here: I read this after I had posted it (a little quick on the draw here), and thought it sounded too preachy. That is not what I had meant - there are a lot of people I know who have done both - purchased a particular breed of dog AND rescued a dog or two or five. I am referring more to the people who won't even consider a puppy without paperwork going back to the Mayflower, or who support puppy farms - which are a disservice to both the breed and the poor people who buy from them. And, if there weren't different breeds in the first place, how would we get these wonderful blends?


  1. I am so NOT a purebred dog person. I have always rescued every dog I ever had and this German Shepherd is the first purebred dog I ever owned. I find myself blurting out to anyone who makes a comment about her that "she is a rescue!" I fear that someone will think I paid big bucks to a breeder-something I am very against. It just burns my britches to see people pay $3000 for a 'designer' dog breed like a Labrodoodle with is just a MUTT. Then there are millions of animals being put to sleep yearly that are far superior in genetics. Somehow they are not worthy since they did not cost a fortune? have papers? It just bugs the heck out of me.

  2. Well, my best friend always says that there's a special place in hell for people who breed dogs and cats. I had a friend at work who decided she wanted a dog, but it had to be a purebred sheltie. Her parents had been breeders and her head was filled with all of these ridiculous ideas that having a purebred dog means you'll have a healthier dog with fewer behavioral issues... when the exact opposite is actually true!

    And don't EVEN get me started on the absurdity of cat breeds. I mean at the very least, dogs breeds exist for a purpose... dogs were working animals and they were bred to be herders, or hunters or to keep down the population of "vermin". Cat breeds on the other hand are pure inventions of the 20th century designer mentality. They serve no purpose other than to make money for the breeder and fuel the ego of the owner. Every time I see a poor little Persian cat struggling to breathe through one of those squashed up little noses, it just makes me so angry I could spit.

    Not that you hit a nerve or anything...

  3. Jane - The two Dachshunds I adopted were from rescues - one was a forcibly retired 'stud' and one was so neurotic, he drove us all crazy. I am more worried about the 'popular' breeds - labs, shepherds, etc., because the mills are set up to churn these guys out, without any thought to inbreeding or other problems.

    EcoCatLady - Very true. And I think people are drawn to each breed's personality traits - intelligence, sense of smell, protective of family. Imagine how wonderful it is when you mix them all together! And I am SO with you on the cat issue. Five minutes with the Cornish Rex made me wonder why they weren't extinct.

  4. You know, I honestly stopped to think for a moment (imagine that) when you said cat "breeds". For a moment I asked myself "what does she mean cat BREEDS? There are different KINDS of cats? I thought they were all just CATS"

    Then I remembered the old Fancy Feast commercials with the obviously snooty-breed smooshy-faced cat for it's mascot. And the hairless cat Mr. Bigglesworth from the Austin Powers movies.

    But honestly, I couldn't even imagine going to "buy" a cat from a breeder. As if cats were in such short supply that humans should have to intervene and "help" cats to breed successfully.

    Here in hillbilly-ville there are no shortages of &^%$!@ "people" that feel that their only means of income is the ability to crank out dozens of "purebred" dogs or designer dogs and sell them in the back of their pickups at the Walmart parking lot to other &^^$# ignorant "people" who will shell out $500 for a designer / purebred dog (but still manage to qualify for welfare aid).

    Ask me how I know. Wait, don't ask me. I might burst a blood vessel.

  5. There are "breeds" of cats? LOL, just kidding! Remember that you can have a rescue AND a purebred, I do! That's what the breed rescues are for. I love dog pound type mutts, but have a special affinity for the high energy herding dogs I grew up with. Most people who buy them sadly, are absolutely unprepared for their energy levels and cannot deal with them. I will never "purchase" a dog, but I actually have had a few from the breed rescues that even came with "papers" LOL which I don't put much stock in. I just wish people would stop paying for dogs so there will be less demand for all the backyard breeding that goes on.

  6. Yes, yes, and yes! Mom and I were just discussing this the other day, talking about how this purebred thing extends to pig people, goat people, chicken's insane. We decided we're just normal, average, every day, bottom of the barrel mutt people ourselves. I personally think the world needs more of my kind of folk. ;)

  7. I love mutts, they also tend to be healthier and have less of this inbred quirks. I've always adopted all my pets,,,

  8. The talk about getting another dog just cropped up in our house less than a week ago. Funny you should be talking about mutts and purebreds now. And cats. I heard of a lady that works at the grocery store that actually bought a cat. Like a purebred cat. Called a rag doll or something. Never heard of that! All our cats are, "Mousers." And we have one named Velcro!!

  9. Over the years I've had both purebreds and rescues, dogs and cats. What gets me almost as much as paying astronomical prices for purebreds or designer mutts like Labradoodles is the fact that shelter and rescue animals can run $100-$400, IF you can pass the 18 page application form and home inspection. Seems that might be a bit of overkill on their part. The most recent addition here was a non-papered purebred from a horse farm. I knew what I was getting into, the outlay was minimal, and there was no major inquisition to endure. I may do a rescue sometime in the future again, but I won't pay $150 for a kitten that's been neutered too young.

  10. CR - As long as people are willing to fork over the cash - no questions asked - the problem will never go away.

    Erin - It takes a special person to handle that much energy! And you are the person to do it!!

    MamaTea - I understand raising heritage breeds to help bring the population levels up - but not as a designer turkey/chicken/pig/horse. And I agree - more "yous" would make the world a nicer place.

    Nancy - Me, too!

  11. Lori - I work with a woman who bought two of those rag doll cats. I could have populated a small town with what they paid. And they have food allergies, behavioral problems and a whole host of "special" needs. Sigh.

    Katen - I agree. There are some rescues that put you through the equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition. There has to be a line between making sure a cat/dog is going to a good home and making it almost impossible to give a cat/dog a good home. When I adopted the Boyz, I figured the fee was for more than them - it was to support the rescue. I didn't mind it as much in light of that.

  12. I'm pretty sure that the Disney movie that you were thinking about with the Great Dane and the Dachsunds is The Ugly Dachsund. I used to watch that movie all the time and loved it!

  13. Hannah - That was it! I loved that movie - we had a Dachsund growing up, but the Great Dane was out of the question. Thanks for tweaking my memory!