Adopt, Don’t Shop – a Rescued Dog Blog Inspired by Millie

Adopt, Don’t Shop – a Rescued Dog Blog Inspired by Millie

A Reminder to Adopt, Not Shop

The Rescued Dog - MillieI try hard not to get on my high horse about the choices people make about their pets. I know that we all have breeds that we like, we all have nostalgic memories of childhood pets, and we all look for pets who meet our families’ needs best. My first love was a purebred black lab named Thor, and I will forever have a black dog in my heart (and my home) because of him.

And really, I know that there are such things as “reputable” breeders, people who take the craft seriously, who produce dogs with good blood lines and minimal health issues. I know that if you have your heart set on a certain breed, it seems like the safest and most expedient way to secure yourself a purebred dog is to find a reputable breeder.

It may shock you to know that at least 25% of all dogs in shelters in southern California are purebred dogs. For almost every dog breed imaginable, there is a breed-specific dog rescue out there (probably even local to you) dedicated to rescuing the dogs who are discarded by the very people who pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars to have them bred. Reasons for relinquishment often include excessive vet bills for breed-related health problems.

People who advertise themselves as “reputable breeders,” sometimes listed as a “hobby breeder,” are actually people who see their poor female breeding dog as a cash cow. Once the breeding female has either passed breeding age or starts having health problems, you will see her in the shelter, abandoned, unhealthy, middle-aged to senior, and because of these factors, essentially unadoptable.

The Rescued Dog - MillieCase in point, our latest rescue Millie. One look at the photos of her saggy teets and enlarged lady parts, and you can see what an overbred dog looks like. It is painful to see. English bulldogs are a highly sought-after breed, whose puppies can go for up to $2,300 on Craigslist by the quintessential “hobby breeder.” We rescued Millie from the Ramona Humane Society, and our vet theorizes that she has likely birthed all of the bulldog puppies in the immediate area for the last 6 plus years.

In addition to her obvious breeding-related insults and injuries (i.e., spinal issues, enlarged lady parts, mammary tumors, and saggy teets), Millie also has several tumors that have been unattended to, including a tumor on each of her eyelids. Like many bulldogs, Millie has zero tear production. Left untreated for many years, her lack of tear production has caused vision issues. Millie is malnourished, and to date we have pulled over 60 ticks off of her emaciated body. Not to mention, her blood work results came back today, and they are not great. She is a mess.

Millie has many wonderful qualities: she is dog-friendly, a great size at around 40 pounds, spunky and energetic, but also happy to settle down, crate-trained, and let’s face it, she’s pretty darn cute. She also snores like Godzilla, is gassy, and eats like Cookie Monster. We consider this part of her charm. But it is hard to ignore the saggy boobs, the mammary tumors, the neglected teeth, and yes, the ginormous “lady parts”. It is a cruel and unfair reminder of the hundreds of puppies she was forced to birth in her  ~8 years of life.

My point here? ADOPT, DON’T SHOP. If you like a certain breed, scour the shelters for that breed. You can also look for breed specific dog rescues, or organizations like ours who are willing and eager to Mutt Match for you. You can find the dog you want and still rescue a dog in need. Unless your goal is to show your dog, there is literally no reason not to survey the dog rescue world for your furry friend.

millieMillie has had an unfair life to date, but she has a great attitude and a lot of miles left in her. We feel fortunate to rescue a gem like Millie and give her a chance at the life she deserves. And the great thing about dogs is that every day, they hit the reset button. Every day starts out as the best day ever. Millie is no different. All these injuries and insults she has endured as a breeding dog are water under the bridge as far as she is concerned.

It is up to us humans to follow suit–to a point. I hope before we live and let live, we all take a moment to recognize the unnecessary excruciation that Millie has gone through. I hope we all understand that while she and all the dogs she has bred are cute, “they” are already out there, waiting to be saved, or even worse, being put down in shelters because of the carelessness of humans. Let’s look to save the ones who are already out there, rather than create the ones we will later try to save.

Katie Michelmore


The Rescued Dog




I got my start in dog rescue by using Facebook to help network dogs who were in high kill shelters in San Bernardino, CA.  While that was fulfilling, I really wanted to be more hands-on and interact with the dogs who were being saved.  I wanted to personally see the transformation from a scared shelter dog to a happy and adoptable dog.  So far I have fostered four wonderful dogs for The Rescued Dog and hope to foster many more!  I also love volunteering at the adoption events and watching when a match is made between a dog and their new owners.


My design thesis in my senior year of college revolved around re-designing the animal sheltering system. I spent hours and hours a day volunteering at a handful of shelters. I saw someone bring in a terrified dog as he screamed at shelter staff: “I just don’t want the damn thing anymore..” That was the tipping point for me… Also, this is my favorite quote…ever: “All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.”


Life has so much to offer if we remember to look beyond ourselves. I volunteer because it continuously teaches me something new about people, about cooperation, about compassion, and about myself. I have a great passion for animals. We have three rescue dogs that came to us in 2008.  Since then I’ve wanted to work with an origination that helps save dogs and put them in forever, loving homes so when I came across this opportunity with The Rescued Dog to help I jumped at the chance.  I am passionate about their mission to save dogs from high kill shelters and I truly believe that help comes in many forms, volunteering is one way to accomplish what we are supposed to accomplish in this lifetime.


I started volunteering with TRD in 2015. Volunteering has been great. I love dogs, I mean who doesn’t right?! However, I do not own a dog…not yet. I live vicariously through the rescue. If you can’t afford to adopt a dog or don’t have the ideal living situation to have a dog, like me, you can still “scratch your itch,” that’s a great thing about volunteering with us. So, the irony is I have been telling you about how great it would be to adopt a rescued dog and save them from their unfortunate circumstance and put them in a happy and caring home, and in my case, I didn’t know it then, however, the rescue saved me. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be a part of and for filling my need to be around so many furry friends.


I was introduced to rescue as a child when I met a greyhound rescue organization one night at Balboa Park and convinced my parents to adopt one.  Our family greyhound Bookie and I were best buds for the ten years we had him.  Since then I have been a sucker for rescue dogs.  I am so glad I was introduced to TRD by a friend and fellow foster, and have had a chance to work with some great people and dogs, and found my little buddy, Madison!


I was introduced to The Rescued Dog while working at a local shelter.  I was excited about their mission to save dogs from high-kill shelters & wanted to participate with this mission.  I love working with the TRD team and fosters to get these pups out of the shelter, into a great foster home and finally on to their furr-ever homes!


I have always been a firm believer that doggie cuddles could save the world. So, when my mom said she wanted to start fostering dogs I was very excited. In the short period of time I have been volunteering with The Rescued Dog I realized I want to be an advocate for change. I took on this role not only to push myself but to also be a bigger voice for all of the shelter animals, since they can’t do that on their own.


The bond I have with my dog, Otis who I rescued about 2 years ago,  is that of a family member, a best friend, and a companion. Saving dogs from high kill shelters is a rewarding task, but adding a new member to someone’s family is life changing. Rescued is truly the best breed.


I got involved with rescuing dogs when my own dogs and animal loving kids got a touch older and realized I had a tiny amount of free time to fill! My kids begged for Chihuahuas, Daschunds, Huskys etc….so naturally I thought fostering would be great!  Once I got in, I was hooked and wanted to do more to help shelter dogs find the forever love my own dogs had. In regard to volunteering, I believe that if we all give a little we can accomplish a lot!


10 years ago I took a road trip from Philadelphia to San Diego with my beloved English Bulldog.  As a travel nurse, I was given the opportunity to move across the country, and with working only three days a week, I had time to volunteer with my first passion, rescue dogs.  Through volunteering, I met an amazing group of women who shared my same vision, so we collaborated The Rescue Dog!  I am so proud of our accomplishments and I look forward to continuing to educate and save lives!


I was fostering for the SD Humane Society but was looking for a rescue I could become more involved in. A friend foster failed with TRD so I filled out an application. I feel like I’ve found my calling! There is nothing like getting a dog right out of the shelter and making him feel safe. Now as an adoption coordinator I get to see the rescue through to the end, a great family and a forever home!!


I rescued my first dog in 2010 and started volunteering with a rescue a year later and loved it! After meeting a few amazing friends, it became evident rescue work was more than just a fun hobby. I truly believe the best dogs are rescued dogs and have come to find my true passion in life is in dog rescue. Fostering is one of the most rewarding experiences one can have and I highly recommend it to everyone! I can’t imagine my life without dogs, and thankfully I’ll never have to. I’m so excited to be working with such a fantastic group of people and I can’t wait to see what The Rescued Dog accomplishes!



It is easy to buy a dog from pet stores, online ads, or from dog breeders, but rescuing a shelter dog is definitely more rewarding.  How can you not admire that once sad dog, now all waggy and happy because they’ve been given a second, sometimes third chance at finding their forever home?  The ability of these pups to recognize and embrace their new life never ceases to amaze me.  The Rescued Dog saves dogs from high kill shelters and prepares them to meet and be adopted by a loving family.  TRD fills the corners of my life and it makes me happy to know I’m doing something worthwhile for these sweet pups.  Having rescued – and been rescued – by my own dogs proves that rescued really is the best breed.


My passion for rescuing dogs comes from my great experiences with rescue dogs in my life. I personally have had my life brightened by many great rescue dogs, and I have seen how having pets, and dogs particularly, has improved the lives of my friends and family. For me, the best part of dog rescue is seeing the connection that dogs and people make, and knowing that when we connect the right dogs with the right people, we are improving the lives of everyone involved, both human and canine.