Nowadays I dread being asked where I got my Bichon Frise, Frankie. No, she's not from some famous breeder. Nope, she's not a rescue. She's from a pet shop (gasp!). So I always begin my reply with a more apologetic tone because almost everyone has read or watched about the connection between pet shops and puppy mills. The conditions of puppy mills are pure evil, inhumane, and morally reprehensible--something that should be punished. So is Frankie from such a terrifying place? It's impossible to know. What I do know is that she lives a plush life cavorting around the West Village, frequently travels to L.A., and summers at the beach. All materialistic comforts aside, she has a family that loves her more than anything. While there's no disputing the whole puppy mill and pet store dilemma, how about the problem of people buying pets on a whim?
A quick story: A couple walks into a kill shelter and falls in love with a Shitshu. In a matter of minutes, they were close to being the new owners of a dog. No application process with in-depth screening. A worker at that very shelter pointed out that the majority of the dogs in there were brought in by owners who were either moving into smaller spaces, different cities, or just couldn't commit to taking care of their pet anymore. Well, so wouldn't ya think the staff would be sensitive to the crucial need to screen before any adoption.
Oh sure, rescuing a dog is admirable--beyond. But, wouldn't a more in-depth application process make this more ideal?
Which is why Animal Haven in SoHo, a non-profit no-kill shelter, is hands-down the best resource and place to adopt a dog or cat. They're all about the match making process and are experts when it comes to matching the right pet and owner. They do an in-depth screening process to make sure the animal is placed in a "forever home." And they've also got a stellar selection of merchandise on display and grooming services with all the proceeds going to benefit the shelter's mission.
It's as amazing as anything I've seen to-date in terms of animal adoption.
To learn how you can help or about the adoption process, here's the info: Animal Haven Soho, 251 Centre Street, NYC, 212.274.8511; animalhavenshelter.org