Don't buy your best friend.
Dogs Like Us
Full Essay here by Ted Kerasote.
Here's an exerpt from the NY Times:
"Of the 180 breeds listed on one popular Web site for choosing purebred puppies, 42 percent have chronic health problems: skin diseases, stomach disorders, a high incidence of cancers, the inability to bear young without Caesareans, shortened life spans. The list is as disturbing as it is long, and poses a question: dazzled by the uniqueness of many of the breeds we've created, have we the dog-owning public turned a blind eye to the development of a host of dysfunctional animals?
...If every dog buyer did research, it would also help shut down the 5,000 puppy mills that, according to the Humane Society, provide most of the half-million purebred dogs sold through pet stores and the Internet. Poorly regulated, unsanitary factories in which females are imprisoned their entire lives, puppy mills survive because people get charmed by that puppy in the window.
Unlike the wrong computer or an automobile, however, faulty dogs can't be readily exchanged or resold. They can be "given up" to an animal shelter, and they are, at the rate of about four million dogs each year, this soothing phrase disguising the end of 50 percent of them a gas chamber or a lethal injection.
We owe our dogs more than this. After all, it is we who have shaped them. Even when we err, they continue to put their trust and their lives in our hands."
--Ted Kerasote is the author of the forthcoming "Merle's Door: How Dogs
Might Live if They Were Free."