Where do Oregonians get their Dogs?
Years ago, many Oregonians got new family pet dogs from various sources: shelters, individual dog breeders, or pet shops. Today, by far, the largest source of pet dogs are rescue associations, humane societies etc. In Oregon, we actually have more people to adopt dogs than we have supply. So many potential “pet parents” would be without a best friend without humane associations importing dogs from various other locations in the USA and even around the world. This is a great situation to be in - more adopters of unwanted dogs than dogs to fill that need, so we have been able to help other areas of the county avoid unnecessary euthanasia of healthy wonderful pets!
At Plateau Veterinary Hospital, we work with a wonderful and caring group “Street Dog Heroes”, who adopts dogs rescued from all over the world. At our sister hospital, Willamette Valley Animal Hospital, we work closely with the Oregon Dog Rescue, who adopts both local dogs in the Portland Metro region as well as many dogs from California that would not otherwise get a home. These groups and others like them (as well as several cat rescue groups!) are an integral part of our mission as owners of small animal hospitals. These pets are universally neutered or spayed as a part of an overall mission to avoid pet overpopulation and unnecessary euthanasia. Rescue groups overall have been very successful in their mission around our country.
However, this is not the whole story about where Oregonians get pets. Pet stores, which historically have obtained and sold dogs from large commercial dog breeders, have in most instances stopped these practices and have joined humane groups to help rescue dogs. This is commendable and should be cheered on!
I think though, that we should also address the last common source of pet dogs: small and medium, reputable purebred dog breeders. These are committed people in our country and around the world that are breeding purebred dogs to be adopted into loving homes, to be used in competitions, both conformation and performance events of all kinds. Breeders like these conscientiously breed many different breeds of dogs for many different purposes and jobs. It is their livelihood or more often their hobby or “calling”, they are most often participating in improving their chosen breed over years or often decades. Most of these dogs are registered with their breed associations or in the USA, the American Kennel Club or other clubs. Without these devoted breeders, the many dog breeds which we all are familiar with, and others that are less recognizable would not be in existence. Each breed has a job, a purpose, and most breeders are absolutely committed to improving the individuals in their breeds.
I am one of those small breeders - every year or two we breed our best individuals. Mostly we love and participate with our dogs in competition, and occasionally sell puppies to well screened homes that will love and care for them as we do. In the past, to breed these dogs, breeders would travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to “meet” a prospective mate. Today, with advances in reproduction (the study of Theriogenology), veterinarians can help breeders to breed their dogs NOT in the “old fashioned way”, but with artificial insemination. This requires dedicated monitoring of female dogs, but we have gotten pretty good at not needing to ship dogs around the country or the world to help us improve our genetics and make “better” dogs for all to love.
Plateau Veterinary Hospital and Orthopedic Center has recently decided to add reproductive procedures to its services. We have an in-house hormone assay machine (Progesterone monitor) that can be done more efficiently (answers within 30 minutes), and more economically to help breeders to follow their bitches’ cycles and improve reproductive success. We offer artificial insemination and surgical inseminations, depending on the need. We offer elective cesarean sections, and have a puppy incubator to help both with sick or newborn puppies after delivery. Our progesterone machine will help with making sure timing of cesarean sections is correct and more successful with puppy outcomes. We hope to let breeders know of our equipment and new education in this area and stand ready to help breeders in our area should they need these services.
Sheri Morris DVM,
Diplomate, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Canine and Feline specialist)
Member, Society for Theriogenology