When Rex, an elderly Boxer, developed degenerative myelopathy, it could have been the beginning of the end for him.
Degenerative myelopathy is a neurological disorder that affects a dog’s rear end. It progresses from weakness in the legs and a little stumbling to eventual inability to use the legs at all; and it is incurable.
Rex’s owners decided to put him down, which is a sadly common fate for pets. In the United States alone, more than two and a half million dogs and cats are euthanized every year.
A woman named Holly had a better idea. She rescued Rex and took him home. When Rex reached the point where he could not walk at all, she got a little wheelchair for him.
Rescue, Phase Two
Now, we could stop right here and have a nice little story with a happy ending; but Holly had a better idea. She decided that Rex would be even happier if he had a buddy, so she organized another rescue, but not a dog this time.
Holly found and rescued a guinea pig, and it was love at first sight for Rex and the new member of the family.
Now, wherever Rex goes, the guinea pig, whose name is S’mores, goes with him, riding along in a little basket attached to the wheelchair.
This story has a clear moral: When in doubt, rescue.
The Benefits of Getting a Rescue Dog
The first plus is this: Most people, unless they are getting a purebred dog from a breeder, go to the pet store. The problem is, almost all the dogs sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, outfits that breed dogs with no attention to the animals’ needs, and if they can’t sell them, they just kill them off. It’s a nasty business, and a good thing to avoid.
Next, the dogs in animal shelters are mostly there through no fault of their own. Almost all of them were given up because their original owners couldn’t, or wouldn’t, make a home for them. Sometimes the owner had to move to a place that didn’t allow pets. Or the original owner got sick or died. Or their dog had a huge litter and there was no one around to take the puppies.
In some cases the dog does have health or behavioral problems, but when you go to a shelter or rescue organization you aren’t at the mercy of fate. Almost always you can count on a period of time to get to know the dog and make sure that there is a good fit.
A rescue dog is almost always housebroken, and it is frequently used to living with other animals.
A rescue dog is less expensive, and the cost of adoption usually includes any necessary vaccinations, and spaying or neutering.
Finally, when you adopt a rescue dog, you are being really up to date with modern values. After all, what you are doing is recycling.
So when you think of getting a dog, remember Rex and S’mores, and head for the animal shelter.