Shelter dogs for sale? – What if you actually had to pay for one? Money adds value to anything I guess, and even though value is subjective, going around bragging about spending three thousand dollars for an English Bulldog puppy is probably something like wearing Prada or driving a Porsche. It makes you feel important. Don’t misunderstand me. I was one of those who came very close to buying a Bulldog. I just loved them, or thought I did. But I was lucky enough to be introduced to the animal welfare world before making that mistake, and more than lucky to grow up with a very familiar legend that goes back to the 19the century and that every single Greek knows by heart.
Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias was elected as the first head of state of independent Greece (1827–31). Back then Greece had just awakened after four hundred years of Turkish occupation. Four hundred! Poverty is an understatement when talking about the vast majority of the population. In an effort to raise the living standards of the population, introduced the cultivation of the potato into Greece. According to legend, although Kapodistrias ordered that potatoes be handed out to anyone interested, the population was reluctant at first to take advantage of the offer. People simply didn’t want them. The legend continues, that he then ordered that the whole shipment of potatoes be unloaded on public display on the docks of Nafplion, and placed it under guard to make the people believe that they were valuable. Soon, people would gather to look at the guarded potatoes and some started to steal them. The guards had been ordered in advance to turn a blind eye to such behaviour, and soon the potatoes had all been “stolen” and Kapodistrias’ plan to introduce them to Greece had succeeded.
Can you make the connection? I did. And since I realized it I can’t stop thinking about it. About what is valuable and what isn’t. About what we perceive as valuable, based on its value for money. What is the value of a King Charles Cavalier puppy compared to a mix breed, black, adult shelter dog? What is the actual value of a beloved pet? Will the King Charles wag its tail better? Will it be more loyal? Will it love you more, or better? Will it love you the King Charles way? Does love have more actual value if you pay a thousand dollars for it? The answer is no. No, to all the above questions.
Will a King Charles of a Shar Pei make you feel more important while walking down the street holding a dog that costs a fortune? Maybe. It depends on you perception of things. Because once you come back home, behind closed doors, when no one can see you, the Shar Pei will just be a dog. So will the Frenchie, the German Sheperd and the Maltese. And so will the mix breed you adopted from your local shelter. And when this adopted dog becomes your best friend, you will be just as proud walking him in the park as you would be for any super special rare breed you could have bought.
Humans invented value. And then they misinterpreted it. When it comes to pets, the value is definitely not in the money you pay for one. You may think it is. When a shelter dog in Greece costs nothing and a purebred costs a fortune, we tend to believe that if you have to pay for it, it must be better. But it isn’t. About two hundred years ago we turned our backs on potatoes (potatoes!), because they were free. Today we turn our backs on shelter and stray dogs because they don’t cost as much. It makes you wonder if people would be interested in adopting the stay of their neighborhood, if it was guarded and treated as something very valuable, like the potatoes back in the 19th century.
I don’t even know if this post made sense. If it did, I’d really want to know what you think about it. I guess it was just another way to say that the dog you simply pick from the street can turn out to be one of your most valuable “possessions”, even if it cost you nothing. Just think about how much money would you ask for, if you were to sell your dog? Because I wouldn’t give away mine even for all the money in the world. I literally picked them from the streets and to me, they cost a fortune.
(The information on Kapodistrias and the legend about the potatoes came from Wikipedia)