The most common question we get about our whippets is, “Are they rescues?”
We assume this is because people think whippets are greyhounds, and greyhounds usually are ex-racing dogs from a track – so much so that the group Greyhound Pets of America has the subtitle, “the greyhound retirement specialists.”
It’s delicate enough explaining that whippets are not track discards in need of a retirement home – I can only imagine how tricky this question is if you own a greyhound that is not “a rescue.” Implied is that the only acceptable way to get a pet is through a shelter or rescue operation.
We could make a case that our dogs are all “rescues,” in the sense that we did not buy them as puppies. C-Biscuit, raised as a show dog, went to one home for a few months and then was returned to the breeder. She was re-homed to us, and we like to think this was her destiny all along. Sesame is a retired show dog. He was treated very well by his breeders and now gets the royal treatment from us.
Machu Picchu went through several homes and was surrendered to Whippet Rescue before going back to the breeder and then to us. She would have found a home if we had not taken her in, but it would have been the home of people like ourselves, who want to share their lives with whippets.
To insist that the only good dog is a rescued dog is to relegate our future with the canine species to random relationships in which humans are forced to settle for whatever renegade breeders produce and fail to care for.
– Judith Lewis, Los Angeles Times opinion essay
Some things to consider when thinking about rescued dogs vs. purebreds:
- A dog from a reputable breeder doesn’t usually end up homeless. Potential owners have gone looking for a specific breed, presumably after thought and research, and they are personally screened. Responsible people should be able to get the pets they want, and love and care for them without public scorn – or inquiry, for that matter.
- Would one ask a parent with a baby carriage, “Is your baby adopted?” Parents are not thought selfish for wanting a specific child (their own) rather than giving a home to a homeless child.
As I wrote about previously in the article, “Obamas & Bo – Why get a purebred pet,” I wouldn’t have gotten a dog from a shelter because I only wanted a whippet. Sharing your life with an animal is good for you and arguably good for society, no matter where it comes from.
I recommend reading a very thoughtful and informative opinion essay in the Los Angeles Times, “The Obama family dog saga,” by Judith Lewis, a woman who owns shelter dogs and also makes a case for purebreds.