It sounds like one of the first campaign promises that President-elect Barack Obama will be fulfilling is (perhaps rightly) one made to his two young daughters Malia and Sasha. That promise, of course, being a new puppy.
It is my hope that the Obama family will choose to rescue a pup, though I'm sure there are many breeders who would be more than happy to give a furry bundle of joy to the next First Family.
With a Presidential pet adoption on the horizon and with the approach of the holiday season, I just wanted to take a moment to speak out on behalf of my non-speaking cousins.
If you're thinking about getting a dog (or cat), please really think about it. Do you have the time for a dog? This includes playing. Not just walking and brushing. Do you have the space for a dog? Do you have the patience for a dog? Answer these questions honestly, please, before you bring a new life into your household.
If you feel that you meet the criteria to be a new pet owner, then, please, please consider rescuing a puppy from a shelter like the Dumb Friends League here in Denver. There are a lot of animals who would be very grateful for your love and your home.
However, if you absolutely must have a that purebred Scottish Terrier, then just make sure you do it right. Do not, I repeat, do not buy the little guy from a pet store and do not buy a puppy online or from a classified ad. You can find a breeder online or through an ad, but make sure that you visit in person.
Here is a little info about puppy mills from our friends at The Humane Society and StopPuppyMills.org. (The video is upsetting but not particularly graphic.)
Just as a personal preference, I am partial to mutts anyway. Being one myself, I find that mutts are more unique and generally much heartier than purebreds -- even those that are not horribly inbred like those from the puppy mills.
(Which reminds me, let's add another criterion for pet ownership: Can you financially handle a dog who becomes ill or injured?)
Whether you go through a shelter or through a legitimate breeder, there are just two things to remember:
1. Have the little darling spayed or neutered. It's better for them. It's better for you. It's better for the world. But don't just take my word for it, here's what the Humane Society has to say on the matter.
2. Be grateful. The unconditional love that one gets from a pet (even a cat) cannot be measured and it cannot be matched. An animal companion is a blessing. Treat him or her as such.
Here's one more argument against puppy mills. (But not the last one by far. This makes my blood boil. You will hear more from me on this matter.)