Making kind choices in your everyday life.

In Praise of the Rescue Mutt

Posted by on Jan 11, 2015 in dogs | 10 comments

“A dog is not a thing. A thing is replaceable. A dog is not. A thing is disposable. A dog is not. A thing doesn’t have a heart. A dog’s heart is bigger than any “thing” you can ever own” – Elizabeth Parker

10593124_942932065733160_7819971502649832245_nYou may have noticed (by the myriad of photos adorning this blog) that we are rather fond of our little rescued mutt, Garp and his fly in, fly out sister Ivy (my mum’s nutty little hound from Staffy Rescue) who spends alot of time with us.


Ivy and Garp

I have had a dog throughout my life – from the pedigree Airedales I grew up with to the perfect staffy pup my mum bought for me from a breeder at  a difficult time in my 20’s (saying goodbye to her 11 years later was one of the saddest days of my life). And, of course,  I loved each and every one of these different souls equally.

From now on, however, I would only consider adopting a “rescue” mutt. They are quirky and resilient souls who have had a bit of a rough start to life and deserve that second chance of finding their “forever home” which so, so many of them in desperate need of.  At this time of year, inexplicably, pounds are full to the brim.

I follow Pound Rounds on facebook and every few days the sad and innocent faces of the young, middle aged and old “death row” dogs are shared. These dogs have just a few days to find a home and it is quite a devastating reality check to witness. The Pound Round community is a generous one and last minute donations and people willing to foster / adopt save some of them but, unfortunately, it is a perpetual cycle and, clearly, there needs to be a better system in place to stop so many healthy animals ending up in this situation.

It is a strange world we live in where we have puppy farms and dodgy back yard breeders churning out thousands of puppies to meet the demand for certain breeds and pet shops, whilst overflowing pounds are simultaneously killing hundreds of thousands of them ( estimated to be 250,000 Australia wide healthy dogs and cats) due to lack of willing homes. This is nonsensical and morally skewed.

I would love to see people needing to obtain a licence to buy an animal – it is way too easy at the moment. You need one for a jet ski but not a dog. Go figure. People need to be educated on the lifelong commitment, cost (estimated to be around the $20,000 mark for a dog’s life !) and obligations which come with owning an animal. Animals need to be desexed to stop this rampant oversupply. People need to learn to walk and socialise their dogs to prevent problems like biting, digging and barking which lead some people to surrender their dogs. People need to plan ahead for having babies, moving house, animals becoming large and all the other unsurprising occurrences which lead to some people to give up their animals.

So, please, if you hear of anybody planning to bring an animal into their life, have some resources up your sleeve to recommend to them. There are brilliant (and, unfortunately, copious numbers of) rescue groups in every state.

PetRescue is an Australia Wide organisation – it amalgamates many of the rescue groups out there to make it easy to search for your new family member. Breed specific rescue groups (I have just been swooning over the bull terrier rescues available) are represented too and there are even ones devoted to deaf dogs (Hear no Evil) !

We got our little fella, then aged 3, from Monkia’s Doggie Rescue which are a great no kill rescue group located on the outskirts of Sydney. He had been waiting for a home for 8 months after being rescued from an inner city pound which defies belief as he is the world’s most adorable animal.  I love Monika’s stringent application rules – to ensure you have done your homework prior to adopting one of their dogs and they thoroughly suss you out to ensure that you are going to be a devoted fur baby parent.

Avoid “free to good home adds” in gumtree and the like at all costs. They attract undesirable people who use “free” animals for a range of dreadful things and do not address the over breeding problem in any shape or form. Likewise, sales on the internet are more than likely going to be puppies sourced from puppy farms or “backyard breeders”.

Following the recent change in government to Labour’s Daniel Andrews, Victoria is moving in the right direction to cut down on unscrupulous puppy farms and pet shop sales. I hope that they follow through with their promises and that other States follow their lead. In the meantime, it is up to individual council’s to take the lead in regards to encouraging responsible pet ownership. Mine does not appear very proactive in this regard and could take notes from Sutherland Shire Council animal shelter which is a wonderful example of  what some “thinking outside the box” can do. They give library talks to provide free education about responsible pet ownership, advertise their dogs in their best light on facebook and set up bins in the local IGA to enable people to readily donate food etc. They have a great net work of local volunteer dog walkers to tend to the dogs whilst they are waiting for their forever home. Renbury Farm and it’s efforts to provide mental stimulation for it’s shelter dogs are a great organisation too.

Of course some people do want a certain breed of dog (although, keep in mind that there are rescue groups for many breeds) and it would be a shame for some of the beautiful breeds around to die out. There are legitimate, kind, ethical breeders around who care for their dogs and encourage you to visit them when seeking out a pup. The RSPCA have a responsible puppy buying guide here.

Oscar’s Law is an amazing organisation to follow and/or donate to and is a hub of knowledge about everything concerning “puppy farms”.


I too want Oscar’s Law Sia!

Should you need any further inspiration to encourage yourself or others to “adopt not shop” :

The ultimate pin up rescue dog is local Sydney boy Pikelet. I love the Life of Pikelet photos and the variety of foster dogs which share his bed. Too cute.

If you love photography and dogs as I do, have a look at these sad, beautiful, haunting portraits of dogs on their last day on earth immortalised by Taiwanese photographer Tou Chih-kang . This may sound like a completely morbid subject matter but it does show the individuals behind the numbers, raises awareness and gives some respect to these souls.

Landfill dogs is another wonderful organisation from the US who do everything they can to portray rescue dogs looking for homes in their best light. Stunning photography and dogs.

I would love to hear about your fur baby and how he/she came into your life.








Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Life With The Crew

    Great post Ing – thanks for sharing good resources. I wanted to add that even if people want a specific dog breed, they can still rescue and adopt instead of buying a puppy. For just about every dog breed, there is a rescue side of it. Several of my purebred Corgis are/were from rescue groups.

    • Tread Kindly

      Thanks Katie – I think of you of the queen of dog rescuers with what you do ! Too true as regarding the rescue groups for specific breeds, Australia is pretty good for that x

  2. Sarah @ Sarah's Heart Writes

    Great post. Our two dogs are both rescue dogs. Both of them have a myriad of baggage but we ADORE them. Great resources too. Thanks for posting xx

    • Tread Kindly

      Thanks so much Sarah – love hearing about your rescue hounds and I know what you mean about the myriad of baggage, ours is the same but it makes him just that little bit more unique and special (and teaches us patience and understanding !) x

  3. One Small Life

    I know I say it every time I visit here, so apologies for the blatant repetition, but I love what you do here Ing, providing non-judgemental, HELPFUL and practical advice on all sorts of ethical issues. Just brilliant.

    We are not dog owners and have no plans to be in the near future. Although at some stage I would like my kids to experience the joy of a dog, right now I just feel it would be too great a responsibility.

    I’ve told my daughter she might be able to have a couple of guinea pigs this year, and if she takes to that well and takes on all the responsibilities that come with it, then maybe I will know it’s time for a dog, but we’ll see.

    I also have my concerns about the guinea pigs and will have my work cut out for me making sure they are coming from a reputable breeder – perhaps a future post on this Ing? Help a girl out?

    In the meantime I can’t follow any of the sights you’ve mentioned. I know it’s head in the sand stuff, but I just don’t think I could take looking at all those sad faces and knowing I couldn’t do anything to help. 🙁


    • Tread Kindly

      Thanks once again lovely Kate – you are always so encouraging and I love your feedback. As for the guinea pigs, I know that the RSPCA in NSW has them so I am sure that they would be at the RSPCA (or Animal Welfare League) in your neck of the woods too. That would be the best place to start – let me know if you have any problems sourcing them and I will help ! (A friend of mine has had rabbits – the flop eared ones – whilst she has had a young child and they have proven to be a wonderful pet) xx

  4. George Laporte

    What a well written articulate article, I really hope some people who haven’t thought much about rescuing over shopping think again after reading this. Having grown up with dogs purchased from random backyard breeders I never gave it a second thought until in my late twenties, purely for lifestyle reasons I decided toget a mature dog (I was newly single, working full time) so going rescue seemed the obvious choice. Since that first, wonderful, so loving, life changing rescue dog I have never looked back. He sadly reached the end of his life a year ago, and the obvious choice for me and my now fiancé was to go back to the rescue and bring another rescue doginto our lives. Yes it’s hard at first with their different issues and backgrounds… But bringing up a puppy, that’s way harder! And puppies are a lot more work for a lot longer time frame. Rescue dogs have so many benefits, many of them already have basic training, are toilet trained and aren’t as crazy as those cute little puppies that need oh so much exercise. Ive recommended to many first time dog owners going rescue mature dogs over puppies, and many of them have come back and thanked me since. I just couldn’t imagine it any other way.. All dogs love their owners, but rescue dogs have that something extra where they’ve hit rock bottom and they truly appreciate all the extra love and life you can offer them. Think of your dog, that you love so much, and then imagine that dog alone at a pound/shelter just wanting a loving home. And then realise that is reality for so so many dogs just like the pooch curled up with you – please don’t support breeders, the last thing this world needs is more people making money out of puppies. There is a crazy over supply of dogs in this world – de-sex, rescue, and turn it around so that dogs are much appreciated, sought after creatures they deserve to be rather than an over supplied commodity to be consumed and dumped at human whim.

  5. Tread Kindly

    Thanks so much for commenting George. You are obviously just as passionate and converted to the rescued pooch as I am and I couldn’t agree more with your comments. Rescue dogs do have that extra special something don’t they and it breaks my heart to think of so many of them out there in the pound. Good luck in the search for your new family member – and lucky her/him to end up in such a loving home as yours.

  6. Naomi (dayscareen)

    It breaks my heart to think of all the wonderful and beautiful dogs that die because there is nobody that wants them. You are absolutely right, there needs to be laws and procedures in place t make sure people breed and own dogs responsibly. Having a dog is perhaps the greatest comfort and gift and they deserve so much more than some of them get. If only I had a house big enough to house all the dogs in the world that need a home and some love. Thank you for this post, you have inspired me.

    • Tread Kindly

      “Having a dog is perhaps the greatest comfort and gift” – no truer words spoken Naomi. IIf only everyone thought like this, the world would be a better place. Thanks for your kind words x

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