For Pet’s Sake

They’re cute. They’re eye-catching. They’re relatively rare, adding to their cachet. They’re French bulldogs, the new “it” pet in Astoria, Queens.

They cost up to $5,000.

Why not "freedom bulldogs," hmm?

The price tag made my jaw drop as I read an article about the breed in the New York Times. Now, I’m not above spending money on my pets once they’re part of the family. My last three cats have had various maladies that led to some serious vet bills. But I do think paying for a cat or dog is a waste, regardless of the fee. And a little questionable from a moral stance. The extreme ridiculousness of the cost of the Frenchies just stirred a little extra pique.

PAWS Chicago, the shelter where we got our cat Callie, and which now has one of the nicest no-kill shelters in the country.

Yes, I understand some people like the particular traits of a particular breed. The bulldogs are prized because they’re small and they don’t bark, perfect for apartment dwellers. If the coos and curiosity of strangers only bolster their appeal, well,  bonus. But every time I read about some new breed of dog or cat sweeping into the public eye, fueling sales, I can only shake my head. A trip to the pound or a shelter will give you an animal just as loving as any high-priced breed, at almost no cost, and you’ll have saved a life. The demand for pedigree pets just leads to puppy mills (not to say all breeders/sellers are disreputable, of course) and, at times, genetic issues. If you must have a purebred, odds are good you can find one at a shelter, especially one for a specific breed.

And the cat herself (devil eyes not the norm)

I suppose the ethical aspect of my veganism informs some of my concern for the strays and pound pets of the world. And a distaste for unbridled consumerism, which turns sentient beings into another craved commodity that, in some cases, is later tossed aside. I’m not usually outspoken on the issue, though I’m glad some people are. (While realizing that maybe some folks do go slightly overboard, like my friend/ex who briefly took to dognapping abused pets to get them out of their hellish predicament. Noble sentiment, but one as likely to get you beat up/shot/arrested as to liberate a pooch.) I don’t say anything when friends or acquaintances beam about their new purebred pet. But I think a lot. And now I’m writing this, asking that you take a trip to the nearest shelter when you’re looking for a pet. I suppose in a year or two, you might even find one of those cute French bulldogs, for free, and in need of a loving home.

For more information on getting a shelter pet, check out the links here, here, and here.

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~ by mburgan on November 17, 2009.

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