The Gift of Life

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November
30

This past Saturday, my fiancé and I spent the majority of the day Christmas shopping (ugh) – nothing like spending your weekend in crowded Metrotown mall (Burnaby, BC), full of manic shoppers hoping to cash in on the hangover of Black Friday. We split up for awhile to do our shopping for each other. As I wondered through the mall in a stimulation overload comatose, I found myself standing in front of Pet Habitat. My stomach instantly went into knots as I glanced at the window showcasing two litters of kittens for sale. I kept walking, telling myself that there was nothing I could do to change the situation at this very moment. With my heart pounding, I tried to breathe and remember where my initial destination was. However, apparently it was not so easy for me to just walk away, for 10 minutes later I found myself walking into the store, straight to the back where there was a few small groups of people standing in front of the showcases of puppies.

oh my God, they are so cute…look at the one”….”ahhhh…I want one”….”mum…looked at him isn’t he soooooo cute”….”holy shit, did you see the price?

$1,300 was the average price of the puppies living behind glass walls. $1,300 is the price you will pay to have a puppy whose parents are living in horrific conditions and will continue to do so until they are no longer able to breed. If they are ‘lucky’ they will be rescued where they may live out what little time they have left in relative comfort. Most likely, however, they will be killed. $1,300 is the price you will pay for a puppy that could very likely have serious health issues and/or behaviour issues. $1,300 you will pay to buy a puppy as a shelter dog dies.

While the movement to ban the sale of animals is slowly gaining momentum, there is still a tremendous amount of work to do before it is eradicated. And for as long as the demand remains, the perpetrators of this inhumane practice will utilize other modes, such as the Internet and newspapers, to market their wares. In the mean time, rescue groups and municipal shelters across the country work tirelessly to save the abandoned, the neglected and the abused.

As I paced back and forth in front of the three walls of puppies and the six or seven litters of kittens, I felt so completely powerless. I was angry at the people for their ignorance. I was angry at the staff for their complicity. And I was angry at the owner of Pet Habitat, at the Hunte Corporation (where the majority of these dogs come from) and at the puppy millers and back yard breeders who put profit before the well being of living creatures. As a group of young people headed towards the puppies, I lost my composure. I can’t quite recall what I said in my state of rage, but it was something to the effect of them having no idea where these puppies come from and the horrible, inhumane practice they were supporting. I had lost any sense of professionalism, any sense of objectivity and fled the store.

Something must be done. As a society, we cannot in good conscience, stand by as tens of thousands of animals suffer each year for profit. Paws for Hope is committed to being part of the solution and we hope that you will join us in our endeavours in the new year. In the meantime, consider giving the gift of life for Christmas. Donate to your local shelter or one of the over 65 rescue groups in the province. Purchase a gift where contributions will go towards helping animals, such as a Puppy Mills Bite t-shirt from the Fleas Knees or a hoodie, t-shirt or calendar from HugABull. For that really hard to buy for person, donate in their name. You can also donate to Paws for Hope to support Roxy’s Fund, which supports homeless pet guardians, to our upcoming Guardian Angel Program, which will provide veterinary funding support to rescue groups and our upcoming campaign to ban the sale of animals in pet stores in the Lower Mainland.

There is also much that you can do that does not require financial resources. Volunteer, foster and educate your friends and family on why they should not buy an animal from a pet store (or any other animal welfare issue you are passionate about). You can be a strong and powerful voice.

Make this holiday the beginning of something powerful and you will see just how good giving the gift of life will make you feel.

For more information on puppy mills, visit No Puppy Mills Canada

Kathy Powelson

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