I am a pet dog owner. I have had purebred dogs and mixed-breed dogs all of my life. I love to be able to rescue a dog, as we did with our current mix, Max. He’s perfect for us in temperament and size, plus he’s just so cute! But the first dog I owned as an adult, my Irish Setter, came from a breeder. And I’m positive the dog of my life, a tricolor Sheltie, had an amazing pedigree. I didn’t know enough to recognize it at the time, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she was almost perfect, conformationally speaking. Even better, she was smart, very sweet and the most empathic dog I’ve ever lived with.

But my point is that I’ve always had the option to go to a shelter, a rescue organization or a breeder, and I want to have those options in the future.

Of course I’m opposed to dogs being raised in substandard conditions, without socialization, veterinary care or appropriate exercise. Every dog lover and responsible breeder is abhorred by such practices.

But legislation, and modifications to existing laws, must be carefully crafted to target only problem operations. It’s critical that responsible breeders, who do right by their dogs, are able to continue breeding and making purebred pet dogs available to people like me.

I won’t buy a pet-store puppy. I simply won’t.

So, if the day comes when I can’t access a reputable breeder of the breed I want, I will have only shelters and rescues as my options.

I hope that never happens.

You can help keep all three options viable for me and other pet dog owners like me by signing the AKC’s petition opposing proposed changes to the Animal Welfare Act and by sending your comments to the USDA before the Monday deadline.

Please help all dog lovers retain their options…today…right now.