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Daily Connect: Puppies and Meditation?

Last weekend I faced an ethical dilemma. It has not yet been fully resolved. My girlfriend and I found the most adorable Shih Tzu puppy at a puppy store in the West Village. Yes. A puppy store.

This puppy, however, was perfect: healthy, alert, affectionate, sweet, smart, the whole shebang. Basically, rip- your-heart-out wonderful. This was our puppy. Remember, however, the puppy was in a puppy store. And although the store certainly assures its customers that they do not source from puppy mills, the idea that a reputable breeder would sell their pups to a commercial store in Manhattan is almost as unappealing. The overwhelming consensus on a FB inquiry I made yesterday could be distilled into this one (non-)sentence: "Rescue rescue rescue rescue rescue rescue rescue rescue rescue."

I wish I could say I decided not to get the puppy because it was clearly the most moral thing to do. But I can't. I didn't get the puppy because the numbers didn't crunch - there just wasn't enough money to justify such an extravagant purchase. I'm still torn on the ethics of the situation. Clearly, all sentient beings need to be "saved." Clearly, puppies in puppy stores become the adult dogs "saved" in shelters. But clearly, public purchases of puppies that directly or indirectly support an industry built on the commodification of live beings kept in cages is...um...harmful. I'm still meditating on this. But to soothe my sad heart, I'm going to imagine that whomever buys my puppy (my!) will read it Mingyur Rinpoche's Ziji: The Puppy Who Learned to Meditate. Happy Tuesday. 

Daily Quote: 

"The Buddha's teaching leads us to the realization that we must always strive to harm no sentient being, human or nonhuman, whether or not it is in our selfish interest to do so." - Norm Phelps

 

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Comments

Your Puppy is Adorable

Oh, Lani, I understand how you feel.  I had shelter pets all my life and  never imagined that I could (would) fall in love with the most adorable Tonkinese kittens - but I did.  That was several years ago and I still feel embarrassed (and sometimes even stutter) when explaining where my cats are from (a breeder).   Was it wrong of me?  I don't know.    But my cats are living loving beings and I'm blessed to have them.  

Kim

Kim!

That actually is a brilliant a picture of a Shih Tzu puppy I found online. Here is the actual puppy in full glory. Alas. Another friend of mine on FB wrote this (which I think is wise and also pertains to your situation): "Although I agree shelters are the way to go, if you happen to accidentally fall in love with a puppy from somewhere else...I say it's fate and he's supposed to be yours." *sigh* (and he's still there!)

puppy refuge

May I suggest that you go to petfinder.org and look for a shelter puppy -- or adolescent or adult shelter dog? The shelter near me recently had a young shih tzu. The thing about these cute dogs is that having been bred with an unnaturally short snout, they suffer from serious respiratory problems, especially in the heat. Pugs are the same way. Is it ethical that animals are bred to suit our human tastes (and historical needs), so that they have unhealthily short snouts, or no hair, or a relentless chase instinct, or back problems (dashunds) etc etc?

Once our beloved rescue cat passes on, I intend to adopt a shelter dog and train him/her to be a visiting dog, to give comfort and joy to people in nursing homes and such.

No easy answers ....

Lauren T

Hey Lauren...

Petfinder.org has become my new best friend. And actually the ethics of breeding dogs in general to be completely dependent upon humans regardless of particular breed characteristics I find somewhat disconcerting. Thanks for your comment!

tough one

My first reaction after seeing the photo was "Are you crazy? Get the puppy!" But, after reading the entire post, I certainly understand your dilemma.
I have two cats that are both "rescues"...and I really can't imagine doing it any other way.
But, on the other hand, couldn't you argue that you are "rescuing" the puppy from the puppy store? The fact is, someone has to take that puppy. Otherwise it will stay in that store and miss out on the opportunity to grow up in a loving home. It's not that puppy's fault it ended up in a store window. The puppy should be running around someone's living room and chasing a ball.
I'm not saying you should've bought it...especially if you can't afford it. And there are so many puppies out there to adopt for very little money....and they all need a good home. This puppy in the window just happens to be staring at you....giving you that cute "take me home" look...and once you've locked eyes...it's hard to resist. :-)
Good luck with your dog search. I'm sure you will find what you are looking for....
-R

Hello R

Yes! Puppy mill puppies need love too! Ack. Thank you for your well wishes. xL

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