Designer Dogs and Rescue Dogs
by Andrea Yerramilli
Long before designer dogs and hybrid dogs were all the rage and people were putting down a hefty chunk of change to get one, rescue centers and shelters across the country were offering just that. They were known as the less-than-desirable mixed breeds—looked down upon, far too often pining away in shelters unless they were rescued and taken to a loving home. My children’s picture book Ralphie, Always Loved is a story of one such mixed-breed pup, whom no one seemed to want till he finally found a home and a family who would keep him and love him forever and always.
These days people are seeking out mixed breeds, but seemingly only specific mixes: hypoallergenic dogs like labradoodles and goldendoodles. But I know amazing rescue dogs who are Labrador and poodle mixes, golden retriever and poodle mixes, bichon frise and poodle mixes, Maltese and poodle mixes, Yorkie and poodle mixes, known as the above-mentioned labradoodles, goldendoodles, bichonpoos, maltepoos, and yorkiepoos. Why would the dogs be called one name in a shelter and another name outside it? All of these are hypoallergenic dogs, fabulous for people with allergies or who want dogs that don’t shed.
I know it’s harder to wait when you absolutely want a dog now, but try calling around to a few shelters within a reasonable driving distance. Explain to them your limitations, challenges, and allergies, and your commitment to having a wonderful new family member. They can recommend the kind of dog that will fit your lifestyle and needs, and can work with you and help you find your pup. They want you and your pup to be a success story too. Shelters and rescue organizations have connections and a network they can call on—especially today, with social media. And the next time one of the kind of pup you’re looking for crosses their threshold . . . boom, you will find your best friend, and you will give a loving home to a dog who would otherwise not have had a chance.
And if you don’t need a hypoallergenic dog and you don’t mind a little shedding, the world is your oyster. I’m on my third ‘designer’ dog. I’ve had Skipper, a spanicollie (spaniel and border collie); Ralphie, a terridor (terrier and Labrador retriever), who was the sweetest most lovable little bug ever; and now Lennon, a labradollie (Labrador retriever and border collie). She is beautiful even if I say so myself. All of them were rescues.
The funny thing is that if you want a purebred dog—and there’s nothing wrong with that—you can find one of those at your local shelter too. So next time you’re thinking about adding a furry member to your pack, call up the shelter down the street. Don’t look only at breeders, and definitely don’t support a puppy mill! And please, spay or neuter your dog! Spayed or neutered dogs live longer, and mixed breeds live longer. And that’s important, because once they are part of your life, you will want them to live forever!
Here are some awesome rescues organizations that I love and support:
The Rescued Dog https://therescueddog.org/
Animal Rescue Force Inc. (where we got Skipper and Ralphie) http://www.animalrescueforceinc.com/
Helen Woodward Animal Center (where we got Lennon) https://animalcenter.org/
St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center https://www.sthuberts.org/