Jul 30, 2012 - Pet Care, Shelter & Rescue    3 Comments

The Trendiest Pet?

A recent  Arizona Republic opinion piece suggests that we should view rescued pets as the new “high-end option,” that:

Taking one home gives you bragging rights in addition to a friend for life.

And it’s trendy.

It’s amazing how fast trends change nowadays. A few short years ago, everyone had to get a doodle mix so they could be just as unique as the rest of their Generation Y friends. Then along came the dog-as-purse-accessory. Remember that? But we’re so over it — the next big push for trendiness is, apparently, rescue pets.

Trendy Dog, circa 2009: in return for pampering, Gazoo provides valuable mascara warming services.

It should go without saying that getting a pet because it is the “cool thing to do” is a pretty awful idea. Whether doodle, purse dog, that purebred you just saw in a movie, or even a rescue pet, becoming a pet owner at the urging of an emotional twinge or desire for status decreases the chance of a positive outcome for all parties. Let’s say it again together for good measure: bad idea.

A realistic assessment of your ability to properly care for a pet over a lifetime and the pet’s suitability to your lifestyle should be the first, and most important considerations. If you’re seeking out a furry (or scaled or feathered) friend for life because you want something to brag about, something to win you points with your friends — sorry, but you’re doing it wrong.

If there absolutely must be a “trendiest pet” to brag about, why can’t it be that joyous companion — friend, clown, jogging partner, bacon-beggar, protector — who is chosen with careful research and foresight, who is properly and lovingly cared for his entire life? Now that kind of lifelong commitment and bond is something to be proud of.


  • Finally some common sense. I am so tired of telling families that the dog they just “rescued” is going to cost them a fortune or the dog is going to be so much more bigger than they thought or require extensive training to change its behavior. I love my mixed breeds don’t get me wrong, but they are not for every family.  A carefully considered choice taking into account the cost, the family dynamics and the breed temperament will make for a far more successful relationship than selecting just any dog. Since nearly 47% of all dogs adopted from shelters will be returned  shelters need to fix this problem before starting a fad to push adoptions which will only increase this rate of return. This is a life long commitment for the animal and 10 to 20 years on the part of the owner. Carefully consider what you can live with and what you cannot, not for your sake, but for the sake of the dog.

  • CCoile

    As a dog writer, it finally hit me one day: I spend pages informing reaedrs who to find a good pet–how to tell good breeders from bad, why you want a dog from health-tested parents and a well-socialized puppyhood. And then I always followed it with a sectio extolling rescue dogs, declaring they were every bit as good. I agree, they can be great. But — almost by definition, they are not from good breeders, probably don’t have health testing behind them, and very likely weren’t well socialized. I think it’s great to save a life, and many rescues are wonderful–I have one–but they’re not exempt from the laws of genetics and learning.

    • Gail F

      I personally love the predictability of purebred dogs. I also have met many loving and lovable ‘rescue dogs’ and think that saving a dog from shelter existence or euthanasia is a wonderful thing to do. These choices should always be available to prospective pet owners; though I would always encourage people to go to responsible breeders and rescue groups/shelters.