contains an almost unsettling amount of cuteness. There is a good chance after looking through its pages you will get puppy fever and be thrown into an unwavering quest for your next pet. Here is my sound advice if you are indeed afflicted by this condition:
Rescue your next dog! Hear me say it. Hear me say it in a self-righteous and possibly annoying voice. Picture me holding a picket sign in front of any pet store that sells dogs. A sign that reads "IF YOU SHOP HERE, YOU SUPPORT PUPPY MILLS," and I'm screaming at you like a zealot with spit flying this way and that.
Put on some headphones blasting Sarah McLachlan and walk into the Oregon Humane Society. If you don't start freaking bawling and wanting to take every animal home, then register with the local authorities as a bona fide sociopath. Cruise Petfinder like a dog creep and email profiles to your family while you are supposed to be finishing that TPS report.
Think about the time in your life you were most down on your luck, down on life, and then imagine yourself rescuing a dog that is also down, wanting nothing more than someone to give them a few chances to prove they are not damaged beyond repair. A pet you can relate to, because we have all been there.
Love and respect just happen when you take a creature that has been traumatized and give them the space to heal. You get to learn from that pet; you get to see it thrive and see it mess up and forgive it. You get to learn how to forgive yourself and see that love is valuable work that pays off.
I'm not here to punish anyone for choices they've made in their past. I'm here to educate like I've been educated. I'm here to talk about the authentic relationships I've been lucky enough to have with my pets. There are breeders in this world who love what they do in a healthy and balanced way. I'm not here to target them for their passion. I have to say, almost every breeder I know who operates in a responsible manner has been involved in rescue at some time, and would balk at the idea of selling a puppy to anyone they had not thoroughly researched and decided was a perfect fit for their progeny.
I'm here to say that, from this point forward, you can know better than to buy a puppy from a pet store, or from any pet stores online, as well as most Craigslist-advertising breeders, people who won't invite you to their home to meet the dogs and their parent, and people who are downright cagey as all get out. No. Stop it. You are feeding a beast that will only go on as long as it keeps making a profit.
Want a purebred like the Xoloscuintle of your childhood? No problem! A quarter of the animals in rescue are purebred, and if you reach out to a breed rescue (often run by those responsible breeders) and are super patient, you will probably be able to get a puppy if that's what you're set on (FYI, old dogs rule for so many reasons, so think about that too!).
DO NOT focus on the cutest dog and decide that is what's best for you. Be honest about your lifestyle with your local rescue. Let them know what you can handle and ask for their recommendation. They know these dogs better than you think and might just help you pick out the perfect pet, even if it's missing an eye or a breed you never thought you would own, like a Shihtz-wawa!
If your application for adoption is rejected, think long and hard about what they see and whether you are really in the right place to have a pet. Listen, I've seen some totally insane rescue apps that require unrealistic things, but those are not the norm. Many times if you are rejected it's because the shelter or breeder really sees things that would make the adoption unsafe or, most likely, unsuccessful. Ask what steps you can take to have a successful application next time and work toward them. You might learn a lot about yourself and your needs.
Now that you're ready to adopt all the puppies, here are some local Portland-area rescues I love: Panda Paws Rescue, SevaDog rescue, The Pixie Project, and, of course, the Oregon Humane Society.
I want to note that many of the Shake Puppies in the book were sourced from local rescues and owners who chose rescue. Also, I want to give a big shout-out full of love to all of the amazing people who brought their puppies in for this book; we live in a totally special community. You are all so generous, and a photo will be heading your way as thanks soon.