Any dog owner will tell you that they have the best dog in the world. Dogs from breeders are sought after, snatched up and pampered the rest of their lives. But what about the mutts who don’t have the same privileges?
I spoke with Liz Kover, Animal-Assisted Activities Director at Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue, about her experiences working with mutts. Marley’s Mutts is an all breed 501(c)3 non-profit based in Kern County, CA. that works to save shelter dogs who are about to be euthanized. They work with these orphaned animals to rehabilitate them and get them adopted into loving homes. Many of the dogs are involved in Marley’s ‘Miracle Mutts’ community outreach programs which takes place in libraries and school assemblies where participants take life skills and/or reading classes. Click to learn more about Barks and Books.
“It’s important people understand that mutts aren’t damaged goods. They’re incredible dogs that deserve love. All of them have stories. Most come from awful backgrounds, which makes them special because they’ve overcome this without resentment towards people,” shared Kover, “We can relate to these dogs, especially because they have had hardships in their lives and they have triumphed. We can look at dogs to learn that we can move forward. It’s [truly] inspiring.”
Perks of Adopting A Mutt
- They are generally less susceptible to genetic health problems. Mutts have lower rates of hip dysplasia, certain knee diseases, most spinal diseases, many heart diseases, plenty of cancers and a whole lot of skin, blood, brain, liver and kidney diseases, among others.
- They tend to be less expensive. Purebreds, or hybrids in high demand, can go for several thousands of dollars. The typical mutt usually costs a few hundred bucks, if that.
- They are in desperate needs of homes. Many shelters are overcrowded and cannot accept dogs who need their help. By adopting a mutt, you are saving two lives: the live of your new partner in crime, and the life of the needy pup who the shelter can now accept.
- They are unique! No two mutts look the same, since many are crazy mixtures, which no breeder would think of putting together.
- Finding out their breed can be a fun guessing game! Oftentimes, dogs are identified as the one breed which they most look like. However, mutts can be any number of different breeds. Other people try to figure out what mix they are. They tend to come up with some pretty creative guesses. If you want to know for sure what breed your pup is, a genetic test is an easy and inexpensive option.
Importance of #AdoptDontShop
Before buying a pet, we have to learn everything there is to know about the breeder, or else we risk buying pups from puppy mills. “People have a personal responsibility to research and learn where their new dog is coming from,” said Kover, “Some breeders are shady. If you adopt a dog, you save a life and make space for another dog.”
- Many animals from pet shops come from puppy mills, which force mothers to have as many litters as possible. These organizations exist for profit rather than for the love of animals. Dogs from here tend to have behavioral or health problems due to the lack of individual attention.
- 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year due to lack of space in shelters and rescues. These animals deserve to live as much as the next. By adopting one of these loving pets, you save an innocent life.
How to Help A Mutt
- Never buy a puppy in a pet store or online. Always meet at the kennel before you adopt a dog to make sure that you two mesh well and that the pup is healthy and happy.
- Spread the word about the dangers of buying from a puppy mill.
- Know someone looking for a dog to adopt? Recommend that they adopt a dog from a rescue. If you can’t find any in your area, be sure to look on Petfinder for adoptable pups near you.
- Donate to organizations that help to rehabilitate puppy mill dogs and cats.
- Be sure to celebrate National Mutt Day again on December 2nd!