Why Some People Should Never Be Allowed to Adopt a Shelter Dog

andrew kirschner animal rescue bar

Rocky

When we adopt a shelter dog, we make a lifelong commitment. The dog we adopt may have been hit by a car, neglected and left starving in a backyard, raced, kicked and beaten and now fearing human contact, or surrendered by the only family and home he or she has ever known. These are not reasons to not adopt shelter dogs; these are the reasons we should adopt shelter dogs instead of supporting pet stores with dogs from cruel puppy mills or profit-driven breeders who unnecessarily contribute to overpopulation problems.

Erin Auerbach’s harmful Washington Post article “Why I’d never adopt a shelter dog again” (intentionally not hyperlinked to prevent an increase in your blood pressure) fails to recognize several key points:

1) If a shelter dog has a challenging medical problem, we can’t extrapolate that experience to all shelter dogs. Most shelter dogs are healthy.

2) Any dog we adopt, even from a breeder or pet store, comes with health risks.

3) If we enjoy the company of a healthy dog for 10 years, as Auerbach did, and then the dog becomes ill, that is part and parcel of caring for a companion animal, not cause for complaint. When we sign the paper at the dog shelter, we must be ready to sign the bill at the vet’s office. My dog swallowed a lamp cord when he was six-months-old and almost died. Anything can happen.

4) Purchasing a dog from a breeder is not a “good deed” as Auerbach insists. With millions of dogs waiting for homes in shelters, we don’t need breeders creating more dogs. When we buy a dog from a breeder, we are not “re-homing” the dog, a term she uses to fend off critics. We’re perpetuating a problem that supports the unnecessary breeding of dogs while lonely and scared shelter dogs die. Breeders and pet stores may also be less responsible about spaying and neutering.

5) Many dog shelters conduct thorough interviews and background checks to ensure the suitability of prospective parents whereas many breeders and pet stores are profit-driven above all else. Adopting dogs is about more than satisfying people; it’s foremost about the best interest of the animals.

Auerbach fails to mention that most shelter dogs, including puppies, live happy and healthy lives in their new forever home. While I applaud her for previously rescuing dogs and providing them medical care before she started raising her pom poms for breeders and condemning shelters, and while I empathize with the medical challenges she experienced, she makes reckless generalizations, fails to comprehend the global problem of dogs in shelters, and doesn’t weigh the impact of her suggestions on the millions of adoptable shelter dogs waiting desperately for homes. Many of these dogs also came from breeders and puppy mills because they couldn’t find homes or people surrendered or abandoned them.

tri county animal rescue

Rusty

I’ve been volunteering at dog shelters in Florida, walking dogs, hosting fundraisers, providing orientations for volunteers, and matching prospective parents with dogs, for more than 20 years. Dog shelters are places that give hope to the downtrodden and brighten the lives of families beyond measure. I have never met more happy people than I have speaking with the grateful masses who return to volunteer after adopting a shelter dog or adopt another dog to join their family.

This is Rusty, an abandoned shelter dog with a clean bill of health. I visited him today at my local animal shelter to take him for a walk and provide him comfort until he finds a home. Rusty was thrown over the shelter’s fence in the middle of the night by his owners. When I entered his cage, he was crying, pushing his nose into my chest, and licking my face.

Sammy

Sammy

As I left the shelter today, this thoughtful couple adopted this sweet and healthy puppy named Sammy. They were beaming with pride as they explained how rewarding it feels to save a life.

These are the faces of abandoned, abused, stray, and surrendered dogs. I hope they dispel Auerbach’s inaccurate statements about shelter dogs being sick and inappropriate for adoption.

Auerbach states that shelter dogs are a “crapshoot.” For compassionate people who love animals unconditionally, there’s nothing risky about shelter dogs and our desire to care for them never wavers. To the contrary, it grows stronger as they grow older and our bond becomes unbreakable. With millions of dogs waiting desperately in shelters for homes, it’s the height of irresponsibility to promote breeders simply because she doesn’t want to care for a dog if he or she becomes ill. Her article serves as a valuable reminder to everyone who runs a dog shelter to screen applicants carefully. Not everyone deserves a shelter dog.

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Vegan Chocolate Smoothie

kirschners korner smoothie

Ingredients
3 tbls. Cacao
1 tbls. Maca
2-3 Frozen Bananas
2 cups Almond Milk (I make my own with raw organic almonds, water, and dates)
1 tbls. Almond Butter
1 tbls. Chia Seeds
1 tbls. Flex Seeds

Directions
In a high powered blender, blend all ingredients and enjoy this chocolate smoothie.

It’s delicious and refreshing and it’s always a more compassionate and healthier choice than eating eggs and bacon. Please consider giving it a try. Thank you.

Posted in Smoothies/Juices | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Easy Vegan High Protein Breakfast Burrito

breakfast burrito

Ingredients
Sprouted super firm tofu (2/3 cup)
yellow onion
green pepper
black beans (8 oz.)
cilantro
salsa
coriander
turmeric
cumin
burritos (2)

Directions (Serves 2)
1. Cut up tofu in small pieces. Stir on medium heat until water from tofu is evaporated or tofu is cooked slightly. Drain water if necessary. Add splashes of coriander, turmeric, and cumin and stir for one minute.

2. Add finely chopped onion, pepper, beans, and cilantro. Stir on medium heat for two minutes.

3. Heat burritos in oven on 350 degrees for 30 seconds.

4. Place mix on burritos and add salsa. Enjoy this delicious and healthy breakfast.

Posted in Burritos and Tacos | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

One Last Kiss

baby

I wasn’t ready to rescue a dog but
I learned of a puppy in need of a home
so I decided to visit him on a whim.

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A miniature white Schnauzer,
he was only two months old
and just a few pounds, mostly ears.
When they opened his cage,
he burst out of it with all his might
and jumped up on my lap.

pretzel and andrew hugs

His uncropped ears were bigger than his head,
his skin was still pink, his fur soft,
and he was pure love from the first moment we met.
He kissed my face and wagged his tail at light speed.

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He was adorable but the time wasn’t right.
I put him back down and prepared to leave.
He jumped back on my lap.
I hugged him and set him back down.
He looked up at me, tilted his head, and cried.

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I said, “I’m sorry, I can’t bring you home,”
and he barked and refused to let me leave without him.
I picked him up again,
he pushed his head into my chest,
and I knew we were meant to be together.

andrew and pretzel

Our bond began with a very special encounter.
We were connected from the first time we met.
It was in that moment that I knew
I couldn’t leave without him.
I took him home that day
named him Pretzel after my favorite childhood snack,
and for the next 14 years,
we were inseparable —
as good of friends as any man and animal
that have ever lived.

andrew and pretzel hug

Have you ever loved an animal so much
that the feeling fills you with incomparable joy?
I could hug and kiss him all day
and I would feel like I hadn’t loved him enough.
We used to play a game, “I kiss you, you kiss me.”
It always ended in a tie.

kissingpretzel

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Through the early years of his life,
he became an ambassador for other dogs,
visiting thousands of children in schools
and attending events to teach people
about the rewards of rescuing animals.
He became loved by so many people,
earning him the nickname “everyone’s dog.”

A reminder from my dog Pretzel

What did this gentle soul mean to me?
In every moment of my life,
when I needed someone to cheer me up,
to hug after a difficult day,
to make me smile during life’s most challenging times,
or to remind me of the importance of helping all animals,
Pretzel was always there.

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He gave me purpose in my life,
and he always made me feel better.
If I was sick or sad, he always knew,
and he would push his head into my chest,
and lick my face.
He also made me laugh every day —
whether running around with one of my socks,
or putting the UPS man on notice.

napwithpretzel

Pretzel loved to play with other dogs,
to snuggle,
dig up his blanket,
run around with his food in his mouth
and look for places to hide it,
and smell flowers.

flowers

Pretzel flowers

We sat on this bench hundreds of times.
It was our bench.
I would scratch his head as
we watched the boats sail by,
and the pelicans fly overhead
as we absorbed the fresh ocean air.

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Pretzel loved belly rubs,
to hide under blankets,
to watch birds,
to feel the breeze blow his beard,
and to kiss children’s faces.

pretzel with aiden

He loved my friends and family,
and he loved to love everyone
and everyone loved him.

I wish I could have my dog s life

He taught me to slow down,
to enjoy the simple pleasures in life,
and to be kind.
Sometimes I would just watch him sleep —
such a peaceful sight.

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He was a constant inspiration and reminder
to advocate for all animals
as I saw the eyes of every helpless animal
in his eyes.

Pretzel play date

During the past year,
I nursed him through several medical conditions,
and he always persevered.
When he developed trouble walking,
we used a stroller.
As we faced each challenge,
I pulled out every stop
to ensure a quality life for him
always promising him I would never let him suffer.
This was the last photo of Pretzel enjoying his life —
one of thousands of walks we took together —
taken the day before he suddenly and tragically
passed away.
I miss him so much.

pretzel in stroller

The void is deep now,
every day.
I hear noises
and I think it’s Pretzel
eating his food,
asking me to take him outside,
digging his blanket,
or coming for a hug,
and then I remember.

Andrew

One night, he came to me in a dream
as vivid and real as any I’ve ever had.
He was walking down the hallway,
beautifully brushed,
looking healthy,
and he barked.

I come home and still expect to see him
and he’s not there.
His bowls still remain on the floor
as I’ve been unable to put them away.
It marks an end
that I still can’t face.
The finality of his passing
hurts my heart every day.

photo (5)

Our bond began with the most beautiful moment
and it ended much the same way it began.
As I held him in the hospital
in our final minutes together,
and gently petted him
and kissed his forehead
and our years together raced through my mind,
I couldn’t believe
it was coming to an end.
We had survived so many close calls
through the years.
I did everything I could to save him.

No matter how prepared I thought I might be
to say goodbye to this gentle and beautiful soul,
I realized I was not.
If he had lived to be 100,
it would not have been long enough.

Right before my best friend passed away,
through the hardest tears I’ve ever cried,
I sang him a song
I used to sing him as a baby.

His eyes were closed.
I said to him,
“Pretzel, please don’t leave me.
Please give Daddy a kiss.”
He was very weak and making a groaning sound,
clearly now in discomfort and exhausted.
With all of the strength he had left,
he opened his eyes,
looked at me,
and gave me one last kiss.
It was the most heart-breaking
and beautiful moment of my life.

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I don’t know what will happen to me when I die
but if there is any chance I can find my dog again,
I will spend all of my time searching for him.
I would do anything for one more hug
and one more kiss —
to take him to smell the flowers,
and feel the breeze again.
What a run we had.

Pretzel swim ocean

Our lives together ended the same way they began,
with a kiss.
That is how I will remember this sweet little dog
that brightened every day of my life for so many years.
I visit our bench sometimes
and remember our lives together
as the birds fly overhead and the ships sail by.
I’ll never be the same person without him
but I’ll always try to live a meaningful life in his memory.

Pretzel at beach

Posted in Dogs | 75 Comments

10 Difficult Questions Every Animal Advocate Should Ask Themselves

As animal advocates, we try to inspire others to show compassion for all animals. We may also serve animals well if we reflect on our own decisions since there is always more we can do. I hope these questions cause you to think critically about your advocacy and motivate you to continue to explore ways you can most effectively impact change.

1. How much money do I donate to support non-profit animal rescue and advocacy organizations every year and does it reflect the sense of urgency I feel to save animals’ lives? (If you donate $100 per year and you earn $40,000 per year, you are donating one quarter of one percent of your annual salary.)

2. When I advocate on social media, am I looking for attention or am I taking steps to make a real difference in the lives of animals?

3. Does the way I spend my time in my personal life reflect how much I care about animals?

4. Am I recognizing the work of others and do I help other advocates and non-profit animal rescue organizations achieve their goals?

5. Do I represent the cause of animal advocacy with dignity in the way I conduct myself and treat others?

6. Do I advocate to make myself feel better or to help animals?

7. How do I evaluate whether or not my advocacy is effective?

8. Am I committed to learning by attending workshops and conferences, reading books, watching videos, and asking for feedback?

9. Do I have a full understanding of the decisions I still make that harm animals and am I taking steps to reduce my negative impact?

10. Do I take initiative to accomplish victories for animals by leading the way or do I mainly surround myself with like-minded people and hope someone else will make the changes we need?

For the horse forced to pull people in a carriage in extreme temperatures, the dog tethered in a backyard, the whale swimming in circles of boredom in a tank, the circus elephant being jabbed with a bullhook and transported across the country in a truck, the rabbit enduring ghastly experiments in a lab, the pig wondering why she has been caged, the fox about to be skinned for her fur, the polar bear trapped in the zoo, and the turkey about to be scalded alive, everything we do matters. We owe it to them to consider these questions. We are their only hope.

pig preserve kirschner's korner

Posted in Vegans | Tagged , | 10 Comments

How to Stop Sucking at Life

kirschner's korner liu qiang statue factory farming cows

Artist Liu Qiang’s thought-provoking masterpiece illustrates people’s disturbing addiction to cows’ milk and the anguish it causes these good-natured animals.

almonds

Contrast Qiang’s troubling statue with this photo of raw almonds, also known as one of the world’s healthiest foods. Almonds have provided millions of compassionate, environment-friendly, and health-conscious people with delicious milk for decades. Almonds do not require exploitation, deprivation, and suffering and in the form of nut milk, they work equally as well in cereal, smoothies, cookies, and other foods.

These stark realities beg the common sense question: Why doesn’t everyone drink nut milks instead of cows’ milk? The nefarious animal agriculture industry has successfully convinced people they need cows’ milk to maintain optimal health and have until recent years done a masterful job concealing what happens behind the closed doors of their factories. You may be inspired to think for yourself after learning the truth about milk.

To end your dependence on cows’ milk, complete these three steps:
1) Watch this calf drinking his mother’s milk. Every time you drink a cow’s
milk, her baby calf is not.
2) Watch what happens to these cows to provide you with their milk.
3) Decide which scenario you want to support. Still not convinced? Watch this video of dairy workers sexually abusing the cows that provide your milk.

calf drinking milk

If you’re drinking cows’ milk, you’re sucking at life — the life of confined, abused, and slaughtered cows. If you want to stop sucking at life, drink almond milk. It’s that simple.

Posted in Cows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Favorite Soup

Are you in the mood for a healthy, delicious, and filling soup? Put on your cooking hat, get your blender ready, and bring your appetite! We’re about to heat it up!

picstitch

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:
1-2 cups broccoli
1 cup spinach
1 carrot
1/4 yellow onion
4 sticks of asparagus
1/4 cup basil
1 red potato
1 stick of celery
3 cloves of garlic
14-16 oz. of garbanzo beans
1/3 yellow squash
1/3 green zucchini
2-3 cups of water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
dash of pepper

photo (4)

Directions:
1. Place the water, basil, spinach, lemon juice, pepper, and garbanzo beans in the blender.
2. Steam everything else (the potato, broccoli, etc.) for 10-15 minutes on medium heat.
3. Add these ingredients into the blender and blend until it reaches the desired consistency.
*The predominant flavors will be basil, spinach, and broccoli. Add salt for additional taste (optional). Enjoy!

Posted in Soup | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments