I first contacted the local shelters and humane societies. They did not have the breed I was looking for, but I was able to fill out a want list for them to keep on file. One of them referred me to petfinder.com, a wonderful website with hundreds of thousands of homeless pets in need of adoption. You can search by animal type, breed, age, size, gender, location or all of the above. Two weeks later, the same humane society contacted me about my want list. One of the breeds I wanted was being fostered locally by a rescue that operates in my state. I had no idea there were foster homes for pets.
I filed an adoption application, visited the dog, and am now in the process of awaiting background checks and a home inspection. It is a long process and sounds like a lot of hassle when you can go to the pet store, point a finger, and say I'll take that one, but a highly recommend it. The adoption process is in the best interest of both the animal and your family. The rescue wants their animals to find loving "forever" homes and you want a pet that you will love forever. No snap decision, impulse buys here. Not only that, but do you know where pet store dogs come from? Puppy mills. I will spare you the heartbreaking photographs. If you feel so inclined go ahead, click on it, but beware! The images are not for the faint of heart. I akin pet store shopping to buying clothes at Walmart (or any other big-box store). Overworked, underpaid, hazardous working conditions, zero social or environmental responsibility - this is what you support by spending your dollar there. You eat organic, shop local, buy fair trade, avoid over-packaging, go au naturel... Why wouldn't you do the same for your four legged furry friends?
Addressing the other concerns, one quick google search brought up a bounty of eco-friendly websites catering to all your green pet needs. Two in particular that I liked were EarthDoggy.com and Only Natural Pet Store. Lots of fancy eco eye candy there! Collars, leashes, and toys made from hemp. Like this Bungee Bone Hemp Dog Tug:
Organic cotton dog beds filled with IntelliLoft made from recycled plastic bottles. Like this one offered by West Paw Design:
100% recyclable dog toys certified safe by Oko-Tex standard 100. They even cover the recycling cost! Just send it back when no longer needed.
Sweaters made from reclaimed cotton.
Or my personal favorite, the skooperbox. No more plastic poop bags!
As for the issue of what to eat, my potential pet has allergies and is currently being fed Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Venison dry dog food. Food is another whole realm I am just beginning to explore. I want to feed a natural diet and am curious about the BARF (Bones and Raw Food) method but know nothing about it. I welcome opinions from both sides, for or against it. Any other Earth-friendly, tree-hugging (not just tree-peeing), green pets and owners out there please feel free to sound off!
Arya and Soots you must have some advice to give?