I will never forget my childhood companion - Sparkee. My sweet little dashund. I remember being woken up one summer morning by a commotion outside around this little peanut of a puppy. She came from a local pet store because that's where you get pets - at a pet store.
You don't know what you don't know. And we didn't know how many dogs awaited death at local shelters or were living in cages day after day because there just aren't enough homes. Sparkee was my everything growing up and I miss her dearly. GREAT dogs come from pet stores and breeders - the only problem is that buying them that way keeps that business running while other GREAT dogs are being killed on a daily basis for no other reason than lack of space and services. I only know this now because I've seen these poor beings alive one day and in a garbage bag the next. When dogs join the Black Rhino and the Eastern Lowland Gorilla (totally had to google that) on the critically endangered species list, let's think about breeding.
As I stated before, you don't know what you don't know. I'm not here to judge but to let you know.
1. Not all shelter/rescue dogs are pit bulls. I pretty much share only pit bulls because I absolutely adore the breed. I truly believe they have the perfect temperament/personality. They are fun and playful yet chill and lazy. Also, I feel like they are the underdogs of the world, and who doesn't root for the underdog? However, there are breed specific rescue groups. If you are looking for a specific breed check to see if there is a rescue group first. With just a google search I found a rescue group for golden retrievers, basset hounds, pugs, greyhounds, etc.
2. Not all shelter/rescue dogs are broken. I'm honestly guessing my "rescue" pitbull was breed and then given up because of XYZ. Hard to tell for sure but there are a ton out there. People buy dogs, don't truly realize the commitment, and surrender them to a shelter thinking they are doing a good thing. It's a "shelter" such a warm fuzzy feeling of a word. Are there shelter/rescue dogs with issues? For sure, but hey, you try going through a life of neglect, mistreatment, minimal social interactions, minimal physical activity, poor nutrition, etc. and tell me that wouldn't affect a human being. Good news is that dogs are a very forgiving species.
3. You can't get a puppy from a shelter/rescue - WRONG. Stray dogs become pregnant or people breed them and unable to sell all the puppies. And just a suggestion - puppies, as insanely cute as they are, are A LOT OF WORK. Constant work. 24/7 work. Shoe chewing, floor pooping, sharp teeth nipping pain in the necks! Most rescue/dogs 1 year + are over that phase.
4. All rescue/shelter dogs have health problems. Maybe, but at least it'll probably be figured out and identified before they place that sweet soul in your care. They will normally be fully vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and have had a full physical exam so you know what you're getting.
5. You'll be able to get a better match. Although rescue dogs are desperate for homes, rescues do their best to make a perfect match . It's difficult sometimes but most rescues can tell if a particular dog will do better in a single pet home, a home with no children, an active home, and more quiet home, etc. There is a lid for every pot.
DISCLAIMER, because I know people may tar and feather things they don't like to hear.
For the record I am no professional or expert dog rescue person. I am just someone who cares and wants to share things I've learned through volunteering and being more involved with animal adoptions. I am personally more drawn to dogs (specifically pitbulls) but the same applies to other animals/pets.
I understand the world has bigger fish to fry, like global warming and say, terrorism, but in the words of Mother Teresa - excuse me, SAINT Teresa, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love. I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”
PLEASE - Don't shop - Adopt!
So I have a bit of a confession to make. From my website and my Facebook page, you know I promote health and wellness as a career. Well, I have to confess... IT'S A HARD TASK FOR ME TOO! Yes, finding time to exercise, finding the energy to exercise, choosing a side salad instead of fries, wanting nothing more than to sit down with an ice cold beer or finish a bottle of wine in one sitting when drinking 8 glasses of water a day seems like an impossible feat!... it's a real struggle!! I know i'm not the only fitness professional out there like this. I've seen my fair share of overweight gym teachers and nurses who smoke. As much as we talk the talk it hard to always walk the walk. However, my own struggle is what makes my job great. I don't get pissed at clients when they don't reach their goals. I don't make the process of losing weight sound simple or easy. "Just do some sit-ups during a TV commercial." YEA OK! I'm watching a DVR'd show I can skip right though that shit. My clients keep me as motivated and I keep them!
I guess the point of this rant is don't ever think it's easy for everyone else. Everyone struggles. Some more than others of course. And if it's not keeping up with their fitness/health than it's something else! If health/fitness is what you struggle with, well, that's why God invented personal trainers! To help you to reach your goals and to motivate ourselves to keep striving for our own!
I'll leave you with a picture of one of my good friends I met in college. Her shirt says it all!
Healthy Habits for Getting Back to School
First, lets take a look at what all these health related, exercise-y words mean...
Health- A state of being with freedom from disease and illness that also includes a positive component (wellness) that is associated with a quality of life and positive well-being.
Physical Activity- Any form of exercise or movement of the body that uses energy.
Exercise- Planned physical activity geared toward achieving or maintaining fitness.
Fitness- An improved physiological state that leads to improved health and longevity.
For optimal health, we want to incorporate EXERCISE in to our daily lives to improve FITNESS. Physical activity is very important to get, but it's exercise that is going to benefit us the most.
Tips for Getting Exercise During the School Year
DEDICATE TIME- Exercise is medicine. Of course, taking a pill for an illness is a lot easier but you wouldn’t skip a dose if it was going to compromise your health. When students go back to school, time is limited with the increased work load. However, truly understanding the benefits of exercise will make you never want to miss a dose.
I get it, there is sometimes just NO TIME! Even as a personal trainer I find myself skipping exercise because I'm so busy with other commitments or I'm just too tired from my daily tasks. There is no trick, no magical answer. You have to make exercise a priority!
Things that did help me - Sign up for group fitness classes or personal training. You almost get guilted into exercise which in the bigger picture is not a bad thing. And you don't want to let that money go to waste that you just spent on that 10 session package!
MAKE IT FUN- It’s not rocket science that you’re more likely to stick with something you enjoy. If you don't enjoy yoga, don't do it no matter how many studies support how great it is. There are tons of options out there! Kickboxing, Pilates, running, bike riding, various sports leagues, boot camps, 5k races or other obstacle runs, hiking, swimming, track workouts, and yes, yoga too.
CHALLENGE THE BRAIN- Not only make your body work but make your brain work as well. Tons of studies show how regular exercise increases brain activity. Adding brain challenges into exercise is a win-win!
For more tips and information feel free to contact Teresa Gleason at StrongLikeBullTraining@gmail.com
There are thousands of dogs in need every single day in shelters all over the country. Adopting another and/or fostering is a thought of ours but became an active push when I saw Trumpet on Facebook the morning of September 4th. She, along with many other healthy, young dogs, were going to be put down due to "enter dumb, pathetic reason here." Trumpet caught our attention since she was a pit and because my husband plays trumpet. I tried contacting the right people and I filled out two rescue applications to save her. Things seemed promising throughout the day, the shelter she was at had to know someone wanted her, but at around 8:00pm I found out she was killed along with 3 others. It's sad enough and to think, but more dogs are going to be put down today, tomorrow, and the next day and not just in NYC. All over the country. Please spay, neuter, adopt, foster, advocate, whatever you can do. When the day comes that dogs are on the endangered species list then let's think about breeding. RIP Trumpet.