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In defense of Best Buddies

By Meredith Horne
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007

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Pittsboro, NC - First of all, I feel for Liza and her family, so I'm not taking the stance that the dog should not be returned, but I do think it is important to understand the side of an organization like Best Buddies.

These rescue groups are in existence because people do not spay/neuter their animals and shelters put to sleep billions (yes, billions) of animals each year. I understand the argument that being poor, doesn't mean you don't love your pets, BUT there are several low-cost, even free clinics, that cater to people who are financially strained so they can be responsible pet owners. It is irresponsible at this day and age when there are so many low-cost clinics to not spay/neuter pets. If there wasn't an issue with too many animals running free, then there wouldn't need to be rescue groups around.

Best Buddies probably deals with pretty extreme situations of neglect, abuse, etc., and not that this is one of those cases, but if you spent your time trying to save the lives of animals day in and day out, my guess is you would have pretty stringent guidelines as well. I'm pretty sure the ASPCA and HUMANE SOCIETY would have the same sort of adoption guidelines, and I know for a fact several of the other local rescue groups operate with these standards.

It is also my belief that indoor/outdoor animals are happy pets, and can be well cared for, but I also know that is how so many animals end up dead on the side of the road, dead from fighting with wild animals, etc. Leaving a dog or cat to roam free seems a little careless as a pet owner.

Personally, we have five pets and my husband and I both work full-time, and crate our dogs during the day. We pay a pet sitter to come let them out at lunch if one of us can't get home (it's a 20 minute drive each way from our offices, so when we go home we have about 10 minutes to eat- it IS a sacrifice) and we have a securely fenced in yard. If you want your dogs to live outside, it is my belief you should install some sort of fence area to keep them safe. We also get up early to walk them before work, and walk them in the evenings for excercise. Having dogs is more than feeding them and giving them somewhere to sleep. It's a commitment beyond that.

I'm just asking that you all put yourselves in the shoes of Best Buddies, before you berate them any further. They are volunteers in many cases, and humans who can make mistakes, but they are out there rescuing dogs or cats from the shelter before they are put to sleep, and trying to find them good and loving homes. Had Best Buddies not gotten "Shelby" from the shelter, "Shelby" may not even be alive, as dogs can be put down depending on space or breed pretty quickly at shelters.

Owning pets is a privilege, not a right. Just like being a parent. You wouldn't leave kids outside without boundaries, so why not set boundaries as a pet owner.

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