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I'm not sure how exactly to express what I'm feeling right now...

 

Today we were at a pet expo and stopped by a Border Collie rescue booth to buy a T-shirt and donate a little extra money. When the volunteers saw Jade, "Is your dog a rescue?"

 

"No, she is not..."

 

...

 

"Oh."

 

This is not the first time I've experienced this... it happens quite frequently to me, actually- I don't quite understand it, it's almost as if I've done something wrong, or committed some faux pas because my dogs were bought. Rescue is a wonderful thing, and while I am thrilled that adoptions seem to be rising in the world, I don't feel it is for everyone, particularly people with working needs, and I never say never. I try to help rescues and shelters financially when I can, donating money and/or objects, and hope/plan to foster someday when my situation better warrants it, as well as helping people find rescue dogs in need.

 

I kind of feel that rescue has become the "popular" thing to do in recent years (not that it's a bad thing by any means!!), but since I didn't rescue, does that leave me out of the 'in' crowd??

 

Does anyone else have experiences or feelings like these? Not trying to ruffle any feathers, just trying to understand the "Oh"s I receive...

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Yes, I have. Its very "un-PC" to buy a dog nowadays.

 

Do you/how do you respond?

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As far as your experience with the rescue booth, they were probably just trying to start a conversation/be outgoing with you and it was a natural question. They probably weren't quite sure what to say either when you said no. Not that they thought you were second class, but more of a "oh what do we say now?" I'd probably just say something like "No, but I really appreciate the work you do and wanted to stop by and show my support"

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I'm with you. I'm totally in awe of people (Mr Snappy comes immediately to mind, among other members of the BC Boards) who devote incredible efforts and funds to rescue.

 

I think a lot of people (myself included) have problems with supporting dogs that are bred to "grace" a show ring or for reasons that aren't particularly meritorious (or even well thought out). But I also think a lot of people will relax if you simply state "no, [he/she] is not a rescue. I do support [my local rescue] (specific examples help!), but I also feel that it's worth supporting reputable breeders who are working hard to preserve the Border collie as a working breed".

 

That being said... it's a heavily politicized environment, and many of the people you may be talking to aren't particularly in tune to the special demands imposed on working dogs (as opposed to dogs from breeds *classified* as "working dogs", if you catch my distinction). They're just so indoctrinated by the "purebred dogs only serve to look pretty in a show ring" mentality. If you have any doubts about how hopelessly politicized things can get, just look at some of the flaming that the author of a series called the "Pupppy Diaries" in the New York Times earned a year and a half ago when she opted to purchase a purebred pup rather than to adopt a dog from rescue: http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/features/homeandgarden/series/the_puppy_diaries/index.html

 

If your "friends" still seem hostile, I guess you could ask them whether they're opposed to breeding puppies for the purposes of seeing-eye or police dogs? It's my understanding that the vast majority of these are bred for the purpose. Not all pups in a litter will prove suitable, but does that mean the "unsuitable" ones are "rescues"? (I would argue not, as they're usually placed by the organization that bred them, and I understand there's a long waiting list). Hopefully they'll admit that not all breeders of working dogs are evil. Perhaps they'll extend that courtesy to you.

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Hmmm. "Oh." can mean an awful lot of things. (If you don't believe me, watch the movie Emma with Gwenneth Paltrow. "Oh." in that film was said by her about 50 different times with as many distinctly different meanings. And I recognize the "Oh." that the OP is talking about. I've gotten it a whole bunch of times in response to saying that my dog was purchased.

 

At least in my neck of the woods, there is a growing segment of rescue-involved and just pro-rescue people who feel that nobody should get a dog - except a rescue - until every unwanted dog in the country has a good home. It's a point of view which makes some sense. But it simply doesn't work for everybody. I've had more 2nd hand dogs than "boughten" ones. And I too, respect and admire those who devote time, love and resources to rescue. I did it for 12 consecutive years myself.

 

But there are those who look upon you as an insect if your dog, cat, parrot, horse or bunny is not a rescue. It's annoying, but so are badly timed traffic lights. We learn to live with them.

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My experience with that was a little different. People used to ask me if Speedy was a rescue because he had "issues". When I would say "no - he's the only one of my dogs that I raised from puppyhood", I got a mixture of responses. Some people were genuinely puzzled. Having a dog with "issues" that was not a rescue didn't add up for them. Others were surprised, but interested in the new information. Others would insist that he really must be a rescue.

 

Most of the people that I know have dogs from breeders, but rescues aren't uncommon, either. So, I haven't experienced the exact response that you describe. I guess sort of the opposite.

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I haven't had anyone say anything to me or anyone else, but I have no qualms in saying, and say often, one of my dogs isn't a rescue... so it is possible people just don't say things around me.

 

I imagine it can be like anything else people get into. A lot of people, thankfully not all, get gung ho behind something they feel passionate about and block out anyone else who doesn't see things the exact way that they do. A lot of people take things to extremes when they are passionate as well. I just walk away from those people if possible, but of course there are some situations where you cannot.

 

I guess my response if I were you would be something along the lines of "Nope, she was lucky enough to be bred by someone responsible unlike so many other border collies, but I am sure I am preaching to the choir here." I deal with someone who feels very extreme and my way or the highway on a regular basis that I cannot walk away from. I have found that if I say what I think and then combine it with something we can agree on that person usually takes away that I agree with them and they are less combative. Sometimes it is all I can do to keep my sanity. ;)

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There are benefits to buying from a responsible breeder and there are benefits to adopting. It all comes down to choosing the right dog that matches your needs/desires. There is nothing wrong with buying from a responsible breeder, but considering the number of irresponsible/bad breeders and ignorant owners who buy from them, I wouldn't hold it against the rescue person that doesn't immediately support buying from a breeder.

 

Love your dogs regardless of where they came from and ignore those who look down on them for it.

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i gotta agree with maralynn, that they were just trying to start a conversation and perhaps give you a chance to get an "atta girl". it's kinda like going to a phillies/giants game. someone says to you "are you a phillies fan?" you say no, i'm a giants fan" "oh". heck, you're all baseball fans!

i don't think a lecture on responsible breeding practices, etc is needed. just a polite thanks for all you do and buy a biscuit.

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i gotta agree with maralynn, that they were just trying to start a conversation and perhaps give you a chance to get an "atta girl". it's kinda like going to a phillies/giants game. someone says to you "are you a phillies fan?" you say no, i'm a giants fan" "oh". heck, you're all baseball fans!

i don't think a lecture on responsible breeding practices, etc is needed. just a polite thanks for all you do and buy a biscuit.

 

I was going to make a comment about Philly sports team fans, but I shall refrain. LOL

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I really haven't had a problem with that, but I have had a problem with "rescue guilt" inflicted upon myself. It's tough to see all the dogs available in my area and not be able to adopt another. It was tough to go looking at dogs and not find exactly what I was looking for in rescue, even though they were all lovely dogs. I still think about some of the dogs I visited with, but did not adopt. That being said, I'm really happy with Scorch and I'm glad I got to raise a dog from a puppy with known parents and history. I ended up with my heart dog, the perfect dog, and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

 

I've tried not to project my own feelings of guilt onto others, and generally I don't have problems with people judging. My next dog will be a rescue though, whether border collie or pit bull or something else. I'd still like to rescue the majority of the time, because I really don't have needs that are too specific. I just compete in obedience right now.

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yes nj, you are quite right. philly fans are not quite known for their brotherly love! but if i said the pittsburgh pirates (what we consider our "local" team, everyone one would have said "oh, thats so sad...."

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pittsburgh pirates

 

:blink:

 

I do like the city of Pittsburgh, though. :P

 

vaporflowers - you just might adopt someday. I'm not saying everyone has to, but if you feel guilt, being open to adopting in the future could be a good way to assuage it.

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i gotta agree with maralynn, that they were just trying to start a conversation and perhaps give you a chance to get an "atta girl". it's kinda like going to a phillies/giants game. someone says to you "are you a phillies fan?" you say no, i'm a giants fan" "oh". heck, you're all baseball fans!

i don't think a lecture on responsible breeding practices, etc is needed. just a polite thanks for all you do and buy a biscuit.

I think this interpretation is probably spot on in most cases. Anyhow, the response is certainly appropriate in all cases!

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As far as your experience with the rescue booth, they were probably just trying to start a conversation/be outgoing with you and it was a natural question. They probably weren't quite sure what to say either when you said no. Not that they thought you were second class, but more of a "oh what do we say now?"

 

^^This. Really, I think you read too much into the "Oh."

 

I get the reverse. "Are those ALL your border collies?"

 

"Yes they are."

 

"Do you breed them?"

 

"No. They're all rescue dogs."

 

"Oh."

 

What should I read into that? That the person on the other end of the conversation thinks I'm an idiot for having a pack of rescue dogs? I should come to the boards and complain about how I perceive some stranger's one word response means a whole pile of political things about my dog-acquisition decisions? I think this is kind of silly and I think making it a topic is kind of suspect.

 

I know very few, if any, border collie rescue folks who would go around trying to make people feel bad for not having a rescue dog. Having been very involved in the rescue community for my entire adult life, I can say with confidence that barring a few bad apples, border collie rescue folks are among the sanest, most practical, dog advocates out there. IME, the most political and agenda-pushing rescuers are the ones *not* involved with purebred rescues.

 

Rescue is a wonderful thing, and while I am thrilled that adoptions seem to be rising in the world,

 

They're not, actually. Adoptions are way down, intakes are way up, right across the board. The economy still sucks, dogs are expensive to own and are secondary to important things like mortgages and groceries, and thus dogs are staying in rescue way longer. This has nothing to do with the conversation except that you mentioned it; just don't be fooled into thinking everything is heavenly in rescue land and we are so happy with dogs flying out the door into wonderful homes. That's just not happening.

 

Anyway, like Kristine, I find that the majority of folks out there have purchased dogs, not rescue ones. I have some considerable difficulty buying the idea that your life involves you dodging wagging fingers and scowls among your peers for having bought a dog instead of rescuing one. This sounds like hyperbole at work to me.

 

RDM

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^^This. Really, I think you read too much into the "Oh."

 

I get the reverse. "Are those ALL your border collies?"

 

"Yes they are."

 

"Do you breed them?"

 

"No. They're all rescue dogs."

 

"Oh."

 

What should I read into that? That the person on the other end of the conversation thinks I'm an idiot for having a pack of rescue dogs? I should come to the boards and complain about how I perceive some stranger's one word response means a whole pile of political things about my dog-acquisition decisions? I think this is kind of silly and I think making it a topic is kind of suspect.

 

I know very few, if any, border collie rescue folks who would go around trying to make people feel bad for not having a rescue dog. Having been very involved in the rescue community for my entire adult life, I can say with confidence that barring a few bad apples, border collie rescue folks are among the sanest, most practical, dog advocates out there. IME, the most political and agenda-pushing rescuers are the ones *not* involved with purebred rescues.

 

 

 

They're not, actually. Adoptions are way down, intakes are way up, right across the board. The economy still sucks, dogs are expensive to own and are secondary to important things like mortgages and groceries, and thus dogs are staying in rescue way longer. This has nothing to do with the conversation except that you mentioned it; just don't be fooled into thinking everything is heavenly in rescue land and we are so happy with dogs flying out the door into wonderful homes. That's just not happening.

 

Anyway, like Kristine, I find that the majority of folks out there have purchased dogs, not rescue ones. I have some considerable difficulty buying the idea that your life involves you dodging wagging fingers and scowls among your peers for having bought a dog instead of rescuing one. This sounds like hyperbole at work to me.

 

RDM

 

I'm sorry I have to go with RDM's statement on this one. The other things I experience is people asking me for guarantee's (health behavior) and When we rescue mom's with their pups or take a litter off Craigs list pople accuse us of being a secret breeder or question our motives like we are helping a breeder. We always have sufficient back up of where the pups came from but, it's appalling that someone would say something. We also get the questions like are we fly by night. We have been open for over 4 years and are at about 900 adoptions. Do we sound fly by night?

 

I never ask people where their dogs come from to avoid ackward steps in conversations but, I let them tell me. I have 2 purchased dogs so I have no room to talk. I would never go to the there is never any reason to buy a dog camp. I will go to the do not buy at a pet store or a puppy mill.

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I kind of feel that rescue has become the "popular" thing to do in recent years (not that it's a bad thing by any means!!), but since I didn't rescue, does that leave me out of the 'in' crowd??

 

Does anyone else have experiences or feelings like these? Not trying to ruffle any feathers, just trying to understand the "Oh"s I receive...

 

I've noticed the same reaction a few times over the years. Yes, we bought and paid for Scooter. Should we have waited till someone else bought him, decided he wasn't the right "fit" for the family, took him to a shelter, then adopted him? And isn't there usually an adoption fee? So, we would have paid something for him anyway. Odd--feeling somehow guilty for possibly saving him from a bad situation from the beginning. So, I just think of it as "pre-rescuing" him! :D

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Mr. Snappy - quote

What should I read into that? That the person on the other end of the conversation thinks I'm an idiot for having a pack of rescue dogs? I should come to the boards and complain about how I perceive some stranger's one word response means a whole pile of political things about my dog-acquisition decisions? I think this is kind of silly and I think making it a topic is kind of suspect.

 

And what do you suspect them of? Relating an experience/ POV that doesn't jibe with yours? I didn't get the impression that the OP was trying to get rescue people's backs up.

 

I know very few, if any, border collie rescue folks who would go around trying to make people feel bad for not having a rescue dog. Having been very involved in the rescue community for my entire adult life, I can say with confidence that barring a few bad apples, border collie rescue folks are among the sanest, most practical, dog advocates out there. IME, the most political and agenda-pushing rescuers are the ones *not* involved with purebred rescues.

 

Must agree wholeheartedly here. The all-breed rescues are fraught with wack-jobs in my area. It's so bad that not only are you excoriated for having a dog that isn't a rescue, you can get "the lecture" in strident tones if your dog is a purebred rescue. And doG help you if you should have an intact male - even if he has no sexual experience and never will.

 

Anyway, like Kristine, I find that the majority of folks out there have purchased dogs, not rescue ones. I have some considerable difficulty buying the idea that your life involves you dodging wagging fingers and scowls among your peers for having bought a dog instead of rescuing one. This sounds like hyperbole at work to me.

 

I think this depends on where you live. In the San Francisco Bay area, (the original republic of PC) where I live, the phenomenon is a common one. Rescue dogs are PC. Anything else is not. And that's not all. Several years ago I tried to adopt a Standard Poodle from several Poodle rescues and was turned down flat at each one - without an interview - because I had never owned a Poodle. The Greyhound rescue people that I rescued my Lurcher from thought I was evil incarnate because I wanted to do lure-coursing. (The subject came up after I had adopted the pup.) But then in the Bay area you are likely to be treated as a sex-offender if you smoke, watch non-PBS TV or have the wrong bumper-sticker on your car.

 

Certainly rescue has had a tough time of it lately, and that is sad. Cats are particularly difficult. People seem to be astonished when they find out that it actually costs money to adopt a cat. Imagine! <_<

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I get it all the time lol apperently I only have 2 choices, either A)I am a breeder or B)all my dogs are rescues. actually I have a mix, 4 of my dogs are rescues, 3 are from breeders, and every last one of my dogs is spayed/neutered and none have ever been bred. when people ask I usually just keep it simple, when people ask I simply say "most of my dogs are rescues"(regaurdless of weather or not I have any of my rescues with me) and I walk away, its just easier then trying to explain that in fact only one of the dogs I am walking ATM is a rescue, the other 3 are all from breders, but no I am not a breeder myself, my dogs are all fixed. or "no, these dogs are all from breeders,but no I am not a breeder" or whatever.

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First off, my question is, IS there an "in crowd"? I mean now that we are out of high school?*

 

Sure there are people who think everyone SHOULD rescue until none are left needing rescue homes. And IME they tend to be concentrated in great numbers in the bay area. Here, most assume I must have rescued Odin, and I have met some surprise when I said I didn't. I have felt a little judged at times when I tried to explain, but I realized early on those are MY emotions about having bought him, MY unease. I'm not in the least sorry I did it, because I ended up with a new life's passion and just about (if I'm being totally, completely objective about this ;)) the best dog in the entire world, ever. And, while I would probably pick another breeder next time, I think I did pretty ok with that, and I did do good research. But if I'm being completely honest with MYSELF, I have to admit that I feel some internal guilt over it. This time I wanted a puppy, and I wanted it in a specific timeframe, more than I wanted a rescue and to wait indefinitely for the right rescue situation. That can make me uncomfortable because I have typically rescued my animals, and I tend to think that in general, among people who just need pets for pets, rescuers are more responsible, better pet owners, with a higher ethical standard than those who buy purebred dogs. So to have to admit to people that this time I took a bit of what I think of FOR MYSELF as the more selfish route of getting my dog, of course that makes me uneasy. 9 times out of ten, it has nothing to do with the person on the other side of the conversation. They have merely asked a question.

 

So, I agree with others here that most people are simply surprised and just don't know what to say about it, because they were getting ready to have a "rescuing is so awesome" type of conversation. Which I like to have too. Cause it IS so awesome. In the few instances where people have actually seemed openly disdainful and like they really are judging me, I try to remember that their thoughts when imagining a breeder and a purebred puppy purchase are likely based to a large degree on AKC breeders/breeds/petstore puppies/puppymills/breeding decisions like conformation breeding. And that's a terrible model, no wonder they feel strongly against that. That doesn't mean they will feel so strongly about MY choices. Even those people calm down when I discuss breeding for useful work and Odin being trained to work sheep (although I didn't originally get him for that, which I am open about.

 

*ETA What do I know though, as I have never been "in". :lol:

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I've noticed the same reaction a few times over the years. Yes, we bought and paid for Scooter. Should we have waited till someone else bought him, decided he wasn't the right "fit" for the family, took him to a shelter, then adopted him? And isn't there usually an adoption fee? So, we would have paid something for him anyway. Odd--feeling somehow guilty for possibly saving him from a bad situation from the beginning. So, I just think of it as "pre-rescuing" him! :D

 

JMO, but why worry about it? You've got a dog, you bought that dog. You have no clue what type of home he would have had - may have been the greatest home ever. No use speculating, you've got him, you love him, he loves you. He isn't any less your dog than if he had come from rescue. The only difference is feelings that you're projecting on the situation.

 

I've gotten all mine as adults. Two out of three could be considered genuine rescues. Does that make me morally superior in some way? No! They all were the dogs that came along when I was looking for to add another dog and happened to be a good fit for me. I want a pup some day and will most likely go the breeder route. I won't feel guilty about it or feel I need to rationalize my decision to myself or others.

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The guilt trip is a slippery slope. Why not rescue when there are dogs who need new homes? Why not give away your meal when someone is hungry? Why buy another coat when someone is cold? And aren't these even more urgent matters than rescuing dogs? Hunger, orphans, destitution, homelessness. Why spend money on gas when people are penniless? The list is endless.

 

I have almost entirely stopped watching videos on nature (I have no TV set), because there can be no nature program without blaming me for something. People don't enjoy nature anymore because they feel their very presence is destroying it. I have heard "Yesterday i adopted a baby elephant, and after watching the program I felt ashamed that I am human." We get battered with these things all the time.

 

And then the EU bans incandescent lightbulbs as environmentally hostile things. For crying out loud - I have to heat my house 9 months out of the year and these bulbs help plus they give mi light. But no, I have to buy environmentally PC fluorescent things with mercury in it.

 

I am sorry for ranting, but people please enjoy your dogs wherever they come from, don't let other people ruin it for you so that those people can indulge themselves in their own self-rewarding behaviors at your expense.

 

I am not talking about the many real rescue people who go into it for the right reasons. And I am absolutely sure that many of the "oh's" are just what was said int he previous posts - not really knowing haw to continue the conversation,but the other stuff just gets me so mad.

 

Maja

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I am continually struck by several things when I have my dogs out in 'public'. First off very few people have any idea the training that goes into a working dog of any type. They may have seen so and so or grandpa had a dog that brought in cows but the dog was not trained to a high standard. The dog was simply smart enough to figure out what someone was wanting it to do. I applaud anyone who spends the time with their dogs and puts forth effort that enables that dog to be helpful in anything, work or relaxation. People in this country, be it in the city or country rarely see a trained working dog and therefor simply are unaware of all the steps it takes to get a dog to that point. I think it is up to us to educate them. Show then just what these dogs are capable of, give them a brief idea of the time and energy it took to get them there and remind them that the dog has to want to work, it has to have some natural talent and that comes from genetics. I also think it is up to us to show them what a nicely mannered dog is like because even that amazes them. They need to see what is possible.

 

I am grateful for everyone who does rescue work. There is a huge need. I would like to see more programs geared toward education. Education for folks with any dog; obedience classes offered, help with everything from housebreaking to health issues. I think this is lacking. There are far to many folks who have not done research before getting a dog and are simply in love with the idea they have of how it will be. I have been a vet tech for many years and I think the vet community needs to do more education. They also need to educate more breeders and really push more testing done before breeding. I have had a couple litters of pups in the 12 years I have had bcs and am super selective on who I sell my dogs to. Sure I could have sold many more to all those that call but I say No sorry much more often. I do think good responsible breeders should be supported. I am amazed how many folks in the working bc world will breed so and so bitch simply because they asked and are willing to pay the stud fee. This concerns me greatly. The couple times I have been approached I have said I would like to see your bitch work or having testing done. That seemed to be the end of the conservation. I think this ought to be the standard, not the exception. Could I have used the 400.00plus stud fee, yep you bet, but I would be partially responsible for those pups and do not take that lightly.

 

I think at the larger trials; herding, agility whatever, attended by the public we should have demos and handlers there to educate folks. They may have questions about little mix breed fluffy and not a bc but surely we would have some reccomendations.

If everyone helps educate folks, helps them with housebreaking or obedience issues, tells them about puppy mills, is upfront on the work required to have a dog that you can take anywhere then I think we would reduce the number of dogs that need to be rescued. If everyone on the board spoke to one person it would have far reaching effects. I don't think the question should be to rescue or not to rescue I think it should be how we can educate folks.

 

Just my thoughts,

 

Denice

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