Purebred or Mixed? Adopters Find Both at National Adoption Weekend

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Shelters and adoption events are full of all kinds of wonderful dogs and cats

Tazz is an adopted dogA few months ago, my boyfriend and I adopted a 6-year-old cocker spaniel/Pomeranian mix named Tazz. I’ve never had a preference for any particular breed, but I’ve quickly grown to love Tazz’s merry mischief and insatiable snuggling, which I’m told are definite cocker spaniel traits. (Her Pomeranian “dancing” is a treat too!) 

So imagine my delight when the National Adoption Weekend event I attended in Columbia, Maryland, was full of purebred and cocker spaniel mixes. Working for PetSmart Charities, I know that 1 out of every 4 dogs in shelters is a purebred, but that didn’t prepare me to see so many fuzzy-eared versions of “Lady” from my childhood favorite, Lady and the Tramp

The animal welfare group adopting out dogs at PetSmart that day was the Oldies But Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue, or OBG for short. In a word, OBG and their foster parents are passionate about finding homes for these small sporting dogs. Shelters in the Washington, DC, area alert them when a cocker spaniel comes in. There are similar rescue groups nationwide for any variety of purebred dogs. 

OBG volunteer Joyce Widmayer spent much of the event cuddling with a buff-colored beauty named “Coyote” Charlie. The 8-year-old recently was transported to the Washington area from Tennessee, where he was rescued after surviving and recovering from a real-life coyote attack. 

“I love cocker spaniels and I want to help them,” said Joyce, as Charlie caught the tennis ball I bounced toward him. Joyce is currently fostering her 25th cocker spaniel, Sophie Sue, who will soon be adopted by a couple from Virginia. 

Minutes later, I caught up with Jerry Gavin from Towson, Maryland, just as he was heading home. He was close to completing his adoption of 3-year-old Blossom. All that was left was OBG’s required home visit. Each animal welfare group that PetSmart Charities works with follows its own adoption procedures to ensure their pets’ health and safety. 

Jerry told me that one of his dogs, Isabeau, recently died after a prolonged illness, leaving his remaining adopted cocker, Biscotti, “a little lost.” “[Blossom and Biscotti] are going to meet and if the dynamics are good, she’ll stay with us,” he said. 

Back in the adoption area, Beth Hoyt told me she began fostering with OBG because of a promise she made to her mother, who had 14 cocker spaniels during her lifetime before recently moving into an assisted-living facility. 

Cocker Spaniels at adoption event“I vowed to keep cockers in her life. She had one when she was a little girl and there are no other dogs for my mother,” said Beth as she held onto 7-year-old Tequila’s leash. Called Tiki for short, the black pup with white-tipped paws now accompanies Beth when she visits her mother. 

Tiki had plenty of admirers that day, including Tomas Dunn and his 3-year-old daughter Jia. He said they were looking for an energetic pup like Tiki that would make a good family dog. When they saw a commercial for National Adoption Weekend on TV, they had to come check it out. 

“These dogs need homes. If I’m getting a pet then I’d rather adopt than buy.” 

My boyfriend and I aren’t ready quite yet to adopt a second dog. Tazz is still getting used to her surroundings and we’re learning how to give her the attention and grooming care her breed needs. But I’m happy to know that if Tazz needs a companion, rescue groups like OBG are making sure that adopters have plenty of options, both purebred and mixed.



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