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Dear Labby: Petiquette for dogs (and their people)

My friend didn't adopt! Dear Labby's advice

Dear Labby,

I strongly believe that buying pets from a breeder is wrong. Especially when there are so many shelter dogs who get overlooked — and desperately need a home. Recently, an acquaintance bought a Yorkie from a breeder in the next state over. She is having a "puppy shower" and I don't want to attend. I'd like to be honest about why, but a mutual friend thinks I should just say I have other plans. What do you think?

Signed:

Joyless about Unpedigreed Dogs Getting Ignored Everywhere

Well, J.U.D.G.I.E, here's what etiquette says: If you are not comfortable attending, just tell your acquaintance you can't make it and leave it at that. But let me guess, that doesn't quite feel like enough, right?

It's likely that being honest could cause a rift in your relationship, so you need to ask yourself if it's worth it. Instead, and at the risk of sounding like Mr. Caldwell (my high school guidance counselor), could you use this opportunity to educate your peers?

Perhaps when the time comes for the new mom to open shower gifts, you could explain why you chose to make a donation to your local animal shelter instead of bringing a monogrammed doggie sweater or emerald-encrusted leash to the party. Maybe mention you know about a great little Chihuahua from the Humane Society who is looking for a home.

One extra note of advice: If you do end up attending, it might be a good idea to put some thought into your remarks before you make them. Many of us (Dear Labby included) have to work on our holier-than-thou attitude when it comes to animal issues. We'll reach more people if we swap accusatory, judgmental digs for facts delivered with a level-headed indoor voice.

Vegetarian starter-kit, anyone?

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