As many of you will have noticed, the blogger alternates on an informal and irregular basis between Moira and me, depending on our commitments. During my recent absence I was in the UK, where amongst other things, I visited my closest friend, who is a military officer. She has been the proud and loving owner of two terriers for about 16 months now, but talking to her made me a little bit angry, so I thought I would share her experience with you.
When Debbie looked into getting a dog, she was very keen to rescue. She knows me well and agrees wholeheartedly with my views on bad breeders and the immorality of making money from selling puppies (here I exclude good breeders, again). However when she contacted the various rescue organisations in the UK, she was instantly rejected on the grounds that she was a single person in the military, and therefore would undoubtedly dump the dog at the first hint of inconvenience.
There are several points to make here. Firstly Debbie is a very senior officer and although she could be posted abroad, she has done more than her fair share of war zones recently, and is now in a position to pick and choose where she goes. Also people making such rules just have no idea about how close the military “family” is. Living on a “patch” (a group of military houses), there is always someone to walk and feed dogs if a meeting goes on too long. Hardly anyone even locks their doors, so access is never a problem.
Debbie did get her dogs, brother and sister lakeland/ border terrier crosses called Rosie and Hatchi. And they have the life of riley. But instead of being able to rescue her dogs, she was obliged to pay for them. And although they came from a working farm at the age of 10 weeks (and yes, she saw both mum and dad), her paying for the pups may encourage the owners to breed again, just as buying from a puppy farm or pet shop just encourages the breeding of more unwanted dogs. I emphasise here that although there are good breeders out there, this was very much a back yard breeder, not a responsible one.
It is true that soldiers can be sent abroad with relatively little notice, but this does not mean that they will abandon their dogs. I am sure the people that rejected Debbie as a suitable adopter did so on the basis of experience, but not everybody should be tarred with the same brush. I spent 20 years in the MOD and neither I nor my husband (who was “in” for 32 years) ever abandoned a dog.
My experience at the SPA has showed me that what looks like the perfect home can often prove not to be, and military families are no more or less likely to abandon their animals than civilians. It is a form of discrimination and should be stopped.
At the SPA we ask the obvious questions about back up plans etc, but we do not have any kind of blanket ban on letting military personnel adopt. If we single out a particular category (or indeed nationality) of people as unsuitable adopters, then we are no better than the ridiculous laws that classify some dogs as being “dangerous” because they are of a certain breed.
All discrimination is wrong. Be it against people or animals.
And a poster to try and discourage adopting from backyard breeders.