Responsible Ownership

Do dog ethics affect your wallet?

Help me out with a problem, my friends.

Doug and I are trying to slowly transition our buying habits to support local small producers. When we’ve got $20 left in the account until next week we’re still stuck with the mart of the wall, but when we have a little extra or when we’re buying gifts or unique items we try to choose local families, etsy, small farms, etc.

Here’s the problem:

I think most of us know that when you see a puppy or kitten for sale in a pet “supply” store, you turn your little boots around and walk out, no matter what. No ifs, ands, or buts.

So what happens when, say, your lovely dish towel is produced by someone who is also a backyard breeder of chihuahuas, or you know the guy who sells fair-trade chocolate has a chocolate lab on a chain behind his house? Do I purchase the photographic product from the woman who says on her blog that her new puppy is never allowed inside? Do I hand a check to the lady in the farmer’s market stall who just told the customer before me that she “studs out” her “Old English Renaissance Blue-Nosed Bull Doggue”?

I actually WISH the above examples were exaggerations; they’re not. And there are tens or hundreds more.

So lay it on me, Internets: How far into your economics do dog issues reach?

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  • Reply Erin February 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    That is a really tough one for me, and one I go back and forth on sometimes. I’ve had to come to a point where I kind of separate the dog part of my life, and the rest of life, otherwise I just end up angry and bitter a lot because no one treats their dogs quite like I do.

    For example, I have a friend who is what I would consider a backyard breeder of the same breed of dogs I love so dearly. The dogs she has have decent pedigrees, which is why everything gets rationalized, but she has not “tested” them for conformation, performance ability, herding ability, etc. She has one male and two females and the only dog those females are every bred to is that one male. That kind of breeding is everything I hate with all of my being. But is it worth losing a friend over?

    I had to say no. Not being her friend wasn’t going to change her decisions and only ruined any chance I might have to be a good dog role model. I don’t want to talk about her dogs, and try to remove myself from that part of her life, but I truly enjoy her as a person and would be depriving myself of a wonderful friend if I only focused on the dog aspect of her life.

    The puppy pictures I took were actually from her dogs (that one was an oops litter and happened before I realized what her full plan was), and when she put them up on her website I politely asked that I not be given photo credit so that I was not in any way associated with it. I don’t like it, it makes my blood boil if I think about it too long, but I have to let it go.

    I know that’s a little bit of a different situation, but I also remember that most people are just ignorant. They aren’t maliciously doing wrong, they don’t even know what a dog show is, much less that there are show/breeding quality dogs and the others. Not so very long ago I wanted to buy two Aussies and just have puppies in my backyard. If I hadn’t been a part of and read posts like yours I probably would have done it. And there are the people who have heard how to do it “right” and decide, I can’t do it right, so I will do it the best I can. I don’t agree, but I don’t think that they should die a horrible and penniless death either.

    Unless they are blatantly and knowingly hurting dogs (or cats, or babies, or anything… except bugs, you can hurt bugs). Then they should die a horrible and penniless death. And please tell me so I can come kick them.
    Erin recently posted…Snowpocalypse!My Profile

  • Reply Grace February 3, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    It’s a tough question–one of the things that comes with supporting local businesses is a much higher level of visibility not only of the business practices, but the personal practices of the owners. We once stopped frequenting a great local pet store and grudgingly went back to PetSmart after an issue like what you describe. I’m all for supporting local business, but if I know the owner is someone I don’t want to support, then I will take my money elsewhere. Even if elsewhere is national.
    Grace recently posted…Blogs Im LovingMy Profile

  • Reply Raegan February 3, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    I support local places and people when I can, and when I more or less approve of what I know of what they’re doing. If my money is going to support things I don’t like, I might as well save the few extra bucks by buying from a chain.
    Raegan recently posted…What I Did This WeekendMy Profile

    • Reply Barbara February 8, 2011 at 2:51 am

      I would have to second this reply from Raegan. It is best to know where the donations are heading to and if such causes are supported by me as well. If i don’t like to eat apples, I don’t like having my fridge plentiful of that fruit.
      Barbara recently posted…Identifying Some Alternative Cancer Treatment for DogsMy Profile

  • Reply Jeff Welch February 4, 2011 at 12:18 am

    There are people who think that if you do a breeding with potential health issues, you can simply put the affected puppies down quietly. I try to not knowingly deal with such. As to Farmers Market situations, the best you can do is become a friend and try to make a difference. If you are uncomfortable with that, then steer clear and encourage others to do the same. You do not want to hear about the litters of pit bull puppies I drive through each day on the way home.

  • Reply TessaS February 5, 2011 at 4:33 am

    I just learned something terrible about the dog breeding practices of the farmer who sells me free range eggs. You don’t want to know.

    Back to the grocery chain for our eggs….

    • Reply rufflyspeaking February 5, 2011 at 4:36 am

      Thanks, Tessa – and welcome :). I actually had a very similar experience when I was looking for not eating eggs but hatching eggs. I wanted to hatch my own to start my little flock, and I kept finding that the people who were selling eggs were also selling puppies (very, very poorly). I ended up finding someone who was a show breeder, and another person who does rescue, both involving a LONG drive, but I fully intend to keep going back to them even if it costs me gas money.

  • Reply Marie February 6, 2011 at 2:21 am

    If I know about things I disagree with then I avoid that place or person. Heck I won’t even watch movies with certain actors in them that are jerks! (Mel Gibson, Woody Allen) I also no longer choose to watch NFL football because of the Vick BS. If I know about it I just can’t support those kind of people. Of course that is easy for us to say if we have more than one option I suppose.
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