Ask the Hairy Dogfathers: Why Did She Shop, Instead of Adopt?

A shelter dog advocate is up in arms when a family member “rescues” a dog from a breeder. The Hairy Dogfathers have some ideas on keeping the peace.

Dear Hairy Dogfathers,

My sister-in-law just “rescued” a dog from a breeder. I have recused both of my dogs from shelters. Without me, they would be dead.

I tried to explain to her that she has made a bad choice; while she “rescues” this pup, she really has only condemned the mother to years of suffering. The cycle will continue as the mother will have to breed to produce more puppies, and ultimately more profit. I support my rescue; she sees my posts on social media and pleas for help. I am so mad that she ignored these and went to a breeder for a puppy. How do I make her understand that she is part of the problem?

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André says:

It’s too bad to hear that your sister-in-law doesn’t get it. All my dogs were adopted from local rescue organizations and I love them to pieces. That said, I have many friends who chose to get dogs from breeders for their own reasons.

I agree with you that it isn’t right if people claim they rescued a dog when they simply purchased it from a breeder or pet store, but in the end everyone is entitled to make their own choices. I see that you are supportive of your rescue and that is awesome. I would recommend that you focus your energy on reachable people, and don’t waste another minute on people who don’t get it and probably won’t ever get it.

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Kevin says:

I get it. She got a dog from a breeder, and you take that as a personal insult. But, perhaps the loving relationship and bond she develops with this dog leads her down the righteous path to rescue! A furry warm nose and his soft puppy paws might open her eyes to empathy for shelter dogs.

The world of rescue needs less judgment, and more hands on deck. Don’t count your sister-in-law out just yet! Leave a door open to her joining in the efforts by being less preachy and not making her feel backed into a corner.

Still got some pent-up in-law rivalry going on? Why not focus your energy on training your dogs, and making them the best ambassadors for rescue you possibly can!

Kevin Roberts and ‎André Lavergne are the Hairy Dogfathers. The dog-crazy couple resides in Winnipeg, where they train, teach and offer support to pet parents. If you have a pressing pooch problem and are in need of some advice, the Hairy Dogfathers want to help. Drop them a line at

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