OK ... to the point!
Olympic Labradoodles, in Gig Harbor, WA. Paul and I decided to acquire our dog from Shari after much consideration of all sorts of alternatives (including shelter dogs), and, if I were making the decision again — assuming there were still no accessible diabetic alert dog facilities in Canada, and my own dog training skills were back to zero — I'd do the same.
Freddie may not be Mr. Malleable when it comes to training. He has his quirks and challenges, but he's a smart, devoted, affectionate, happy companion, and I wouldn't trade him for ... well, for a cure for diabetes. (Wow, did I just write that? Strange and ironic, perhaps, but it's true.)
So where's the guilt?
Freddie is a done deed, a sealed emotional deal, but that doesn't stop me from wondering if some Lab/shepherd/rottweiler mix from the SPCA could have made a great alert dog ... or wishing we had the space and resources to welcome a rescue dog into our home.
Knowing we're not in a position to have a second dog right now, but wanting to compensate somehow, I recently decided to investigate volunteer dog walking at the two facilities I'd be able to get to on a regular basis: the SPCA and the City's Animal Control Shelter.
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to learn that dog walking is a popular volunteer gig. Both places have long wait lists for dog walkers and take in a very small number of new volunteers once or twice a year. The SPCA's next intake is smack-dab in the busiest part of the summer teaching term; Animal Control has no new recruitments planned. So much for instant gratification.
So what's a designer dog* guardian with a guilty conscience to do? I'm open to suggestions. In the meantime, although I'm not in the best position to be pushing rescue/adoption on other people, here are two local(ish) pups that tugged at the rope toys of my heart today (click on the names for more info):
*The term "designer dog" seems to be used almost exclusively for deliberate cross-breedings of two established breeds (one of them usually a poodle). The expression often has a whiff of condescension about it, such as in this recent anti-Labradoodle article, which, though interesting in some ways, smacks of breed snobbery and sour grapes. Anyway ... I'm using the "designer" label a lot more loosely, to refer to any dog that has been carefully bred to have certain characteristics (Labrador, Labradoodle, Lhasa Apso, whatever) then sold to a "forever family" that has been, to one degree or another, screened for suitability.