Jewish Journal

Pet Rescue or a Scam?

by Julia Bendis

April 4, 2011 | 2:30 pm

My son and I were spending last Sunday together, just the two of us.  We ran some errands, bought him things for school, and went to lunch.  As we were driving past a Petsmart store, we saw a sign for an organization that adopts out dogs.  Knowing my son, I tried to avert the car so he wouldn’t see it.  It didn’t work.  He saw it and begged me to go see the dogs.  Damn school, why did they need to teach him to read?  As we pulled into the parking lot, I reminded him that we already “rescued” one mutt a year ago, and I wasn’t looking to add more hair onto my floor, or responsibility to my plate.  Just as I was telling him that, I started thinking about this whole “rescuing” business.

When we picked up our dog at the Humane Society, our total came to $300!  When the attendant gave me that total, I stood there with my wallet open, waiting for her to give me the cash, and she stood there waiting for me to apparently fork out MY cash!  How is it a rescue when I have to pay to adopt a dog?  Shouldn’t they be paying me to get rid of an unwanted dog?  Shouldn’t the so-called rescue shelter be giving pets away?  How the hell did I end up paying such an outrageous amount of money to not only house this unwanted dog, but continue to spend money day after day on her food, vaccinations and “outfits”?  How did I get sucked into this scam?  What I didn’t realize is that this is a well-known procedure, and apparently a well-received one also.

Sure she is a cute mutt, loves following me around the house, lays at my feet while I sit and write this but does she know I had to forgo the kids’ lunches in order to “rescue” her from a shelter?  Why do they need rescuing from a shelter, isn’t that what an animal shelter is for?  Sheltering animals?  If I wanted to PAY for a pet, wouldn’t I just go and buy one at the store?  Yes, I know they are puppy mills, they are bad, whatever.  I am no expert, I am just saying something feels fishy about this whole pet rescue business…

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I was born in Ukraine, in the former USSR, and grew up in Riga, Latvia which is on the Baltic Sea.  My family and I immigrated to the United States in 1989, right before the...

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