He wants a purebred dog. She wants a rescue mutt.
What started as a logistical discussion about getting a dog quickly became a heated, vicious fight about values and ethics.
Don’t you love those questions that seem to be about one thing, but betray a totally different, deeper problem? That’s definitely the case with today’s letter.
We could’ve recommended the obvious compromise: select a breed, then find a rescue organization that specializes in that breed! One quarter of all homeless dogs are purebreds, bro! Depending on the popularity and rarity of the breed, there may be a wait list. But if you’re patient, you can find one that fits both criteria.
… But, yeah, we didn’t even bother with that. Because it’s so incredibly obvious that the purebred dog versus shelter mutt question is the flashpoint for a deeper, more troubling issue. And it’s one we think merits a breakup.
Do you see the same thing we see?
My girlfriend and I are in our mid twenties, and have been seeing each other for four years now. We moved in together last spring and things have been going well. I love this girl. She’s sweet, funny, interesting, pretty, and a little eccentric. She’s absolutely my dream girl and I can’t picture myself without her but we’ve been fighting for over a month and it’s been hard.
At the end of May we decided to get a dog together. We’re both dog people, having grown up with them. Since my parents are close to a couple that breeds dogs, we’ve bought all three of our dogs from them. My girlfriend, on the other hand, had only one shelter pup
When we first started talking about raising a dog together I asked her the standard “what kind of dog should we get?” questions about what breed she preferred. And she scoffed at me and said it didn’t matter, because we would adopt a pet, not buy one. She said it like it was obvious and that I didn’t have a say otherwise. We got into an argument about the pros and cons of adopting or buying. And it just escalated from there.
I’ll get to the point and say we both started taking it personally and said some things. I said that buying gives you better quality, and that you know what you get. She quite rudely said that if we’re paying for quality how come my family’s dogs have had health issues and died young, while her shelter dog lived to be seventeen. She said she looked down on people who’d rather pay thousands of dollars than save a life. We decided to cool down and give the discussion a rest.
We both felt unfinished after that but let it go but then we started getting at each other for different lifestyle choices. Like how she wants to get married and have kids one day and how I’m not so sure what I want yet. And how in my family having a degree is important and to her it’s not. Sometimes we teased her about it since she only has a certificate but we never meant it rudely to her since she has a great job as a software engineer.
She’s always been sort of indifferent to everything and said everyone has different values and the right to have different opinions should be respected. She eats meat, wears fur, buys non-organic, buys fast fashion, is non-religious, she’s fairly liberal but tends to criticize some social movements, which is all fine but my point is she’s never had a firm stance on anything. But it’s like I picked a fight about the one thing she feels strongly about and it’s been rough since then. I’m not sure what to do anymore and I need advice.– A Redditor
This episode is coming out a day late because it was such a struggle to edit. A bent wire caused intermittent static on my microphone. Piggy was drinking something with ice, and her microphone picked up every clink. We both rambled like crazy, both because we feel very strongly about dogs and cannot resist talking about our own dogs. But hopefully you’ll agree that it was worth all the work to dissect this deliciously shady letter!
Thanks as always to our Patreon donors for funding our inaugural season. Technical issues aside, it’s been fun figuring things out! We’ll have so many improvements in mind for a future season two. If you have a question burning in your mind, we are happy to answer it! Find out how at our Patreon page.
Episode transcript (click to reveal)
Theme Song 0:00
If you need some dough
You don’t know where to go
In this patriarchal capitalist hellscape
Well here’s the ‘sitch
We’re gonna help you, sis
Because bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
Bitches get riches
And so can you
Wait, wait, wait, wait. Okay, here’s how we’re gonna open the show. You have to tell the story.
Okay, okay. Okay good. Junior year of college in our suite, our college suite, I was with our friend who whose name I will not name because she actually is a fan of the blog and
She’s a patron.
She’s a patron. Yeah, she’s gonna know the story. But just shortly after we started rooming together, I was awoken in the middle of the night by a strange noise coming from her and I’m going to make the noise exactly as I remember it, and I shit you not, this is exactly what it sounded like, right? Ready?
It’s so accurate.
It’s so accurately right? Like I went and I got you and I called you and I was like, This is what she like, she makes this noise periodically. And it wasn’t every night. It wasn’t for the whole night. It was just like, every couple of weeks it was that noise. And I don’t know. Like, I won’t say I like recorded her or like I like gotten close to figure it out. But like, I don’t know how she was making that noise, but that is the noise that was coming out of her.
I think I was like basically in the middle of a sentence saying like, I definitely don’t believe you, when all of a sudden like from down the hallway I’m like walking towards the bathroom and I hear like very quietly coming under the door. I can’t do it as well as you can, but it was really incredible. To this day, no notion. You know, she’s married now and I would love to ask her partner: Does she still make that noise?
We should get her partner on the phone and be like, sir, we have a very important question. All of our listeners are desperate to know: Does she still make this noise in her sleep?
That’s our new podcast. We’re throwing this one in the trash.
Yep. Start over.
We’re having a new podcast that’s just determining whether the weird noises that people made to their college roommates are still noises that they make to this day, 10 years later.
No, I like that. It wasn’t like it wasn’t like a contentious issue. I was like stop making noises!
It was like cicadas chirping. It was like a seasonal
It was. It was.
It was peaceful nighttime noise.
By the way, I’m Kitty.
And I’m Piggy and we’re the bitches in Bitches Get Riches.
We are two VERY tired adult humans.
And we’re here to help you fix your shit so we can all get some fucking sleep!
Our time on this planet is limited.
So let’s get started.
Okay, today’s letter comes to us from Reddit and I’m really excited.
/r/relationships like oh baby I’m on there like every day like I basically fall asleep thinking about like “you should dump him!” as I’m reading other people’s /r/relationships. This is a great one that I found that I think has a lot of hidden issues: Myself, a 26 year old man with my girlfriend, a 25 year old woman might break up over a puppy.
Dun dun dun!
My girlfriend and I are in our mid 20s and have been seeing each other for over four years now. We’ve moved in together last spring and things have been going well. I love this girl. She’s sweet, funny, interesting, pretty, and a little eccentric. She’s absolutely my dream girl and I can’t picture myself without her, but we’ve been fighting for over a month and it’s been hard. At the end of May we decided to get a dog together. We’re both dog people and have grown up with them. Since my parents are close to a couple of breeds dogs. We’ve bought all three of our family dogs from them. My girlfriend on the other hand has only had one shelter pup. When we first started talking about raising a dog together, I asked her the standard “what kind of dog should we get?” question about what breed she preferred, but she scoffed at me and said it didn’t matter because we would adopt a pet not by a purebred one. She said it like it was obvious and that I didn’t have a say otherwise. We got into an argument about the pros and cons of adopting over buying, and it just escalated from there. We both started taking it personally and said some things. I said that buying gives you better quality, that you know what you get. She quite rudely said that if we’re paying for quality, how come my family’s dogs have had health issues and have died young while her shelter dog lived to 17. She said she looked down on people who’d rather pay thousands of dollars than save a life. We decided to cool down and give the discussion a rest, but then we started getting at each other for different lifestyle choices. Like how she wants to get married and have kids one day and I’m not sure yet that that’s what I want, and how in my family having a degree is important and to her it’s not. Sometimes we teased her about it since she only has a certificate, but we never meant it rudely since she has a great job as a software engineer. She’s always been sort of indifferent to everything and said everyone has different values and the right to have different opinions that should be respected. She eats meat, wears fur, buys non-organic, buys fast fashion, is non-religious, she’s fairly liberal, but tends to criticize some social movements, which is all fine, but my point is that she’s never had a firm stance on anything, but it’s like I picked a fight about the one thing she feels strongly about and it’s been rough since then. I’m not sure what to do anymore and I need advice.
There is a lot to unpack here.
There’s so much.
Before we even like get started I feel like there’s two issues to address and you know us and I know us and we are going to address the shelter dog versus breeder issue, but we’re also going to address what seems to be the larger issue here, which is that they don’t agree on some pretty important life stuff.
Yeah, I think we can almost like get the whole getting a purebred dog from a breeder versus adopting a rescue dog from a shelter argument. Let’s just get that out of the way. We are very much pro-mutt.
If you have livestock if you’re like an IRL cowboy, like go ahead and get an Australian Shepherd or a Great Pyrenees or something that’s truly been bred for hundreds of years, or sometimes thousands of years, for one specific purpose.
Yeah. Working dogs, hunters, same thing. If you have a dog that’s going to have a job, fine. Get a purebred that’s really good at that job.
Yeah. But I think beyond that very specific, pretty narrow circumstance. We are very much pro-mutt. We don’t think there’s really a compelling reason for anyone to go to a breeder. Breeds are eugenics like let’s just go ahead and like get it out there like breeds are weird eugenics. It was a thing that the Victorians started doing because they were obsessed with pedigree and that was absolutely true in humans and true and dogs and the reality is that getting a purebred dog, a lot of the pros of doing it are really overstated and I think a lot of the cons are maybe understated. I have friends who have Bullmastiffs because they love mastiffs and one of them passed away very suddenly the other year at like two or three years old.
And even if that dog had made it a really good age for a Bullmastiff is like six to eight, whereas like you know little mutt might live to double that amount of time.
Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
So, you know, there’s a lot of things going on there, but in general, like we have a huge pet overpopulation problem in the United States, and in many other countries, it’s the same case. Adding more animals to the population, and also continuing to cultivate an attraction for dogs based on their appearance, which is why most people get purebred dogs.
Right and that sort of perpetuates the puppy mill industry.
There’s a great new book out I want to recommend everyone written by an investigative journalist called “that dog in the window” or “that puppy in the window.” Clearly, I didn’t do my research, but the title of basically that doggy in the window, and it’s her deep dive into the puppy mill industry and how little oversight there is and how abused these animals are. And how you know, the best way to stop this industry is with our dollars, so stop buying puppy milled dogs, obviously our question asker here, they’re talking about going to a reputable breeder, which I mean if you must have a purebred dog like that’s definitely the way to go.
There’s an idea that like oh well mine’s coming from a reputable breeder and even if that is the case, you are still contributing to both the pet overpopulation problem and you are still contributing to the demand that puppy mills are then supplying because people see you out walking your beautiful little golden retriever puppy and oh my god, it’s so cute and I’ve been thinking about a dog honey let’s get a golden retriever! Oh what’s that you are getting you know, give me the contact information for your breeder? Amazing! What they’re making me wait a year for the next litter? Ugh I’ll just go to a puppy mill. No, like that’s very much and no one will tell you like “we’re a puppy mill and we make our dogs live six inches deep in their own waste and just churn out litter after litter” like no one’s going to tell you that. They’re all going to say we are reputable backyard breeders we’re reputable small breeders, they live in the home with us. They’re so happy. It’s lies, it’s bullshit and even when it’s true, it contributes to the lies and bullshit.
Yeah. And I also want to say, you know, we’re not just representatives, we’re members! You know, so let’s cite our own personal experience here. You are a foster parent of dogs. And you have rehomed how many dogs by now?
20! 20 dogs and about as many cats. So all told, I’m about to hit the 40s on foster animals.
20 dogs that were rescued!
I’ve seen some things.
You have seen some things, but let’s let’s talk about the things you’ve seen and let’s talk about the things that I’ve seen. You know, of those 40 pets or so how many would you say were “low quality” to use the terminology in this Reddit users message?
The reality is that most of the dogs that come to us are pulled from high kill shelters in areas that have a huge pet overpopulation problem and shelters, if a dog is acting in any way, aggressive, or extraordinarily shy, or very destructively, this shelter just isn’t going to keep them, they’re not going to pull them, like every foster I’ve had, has been truly an amazing dog. So the way that we have things set up is that I foster the dogs in my home and when applications come in for that dog, I look at their lifestyle and I think really seriously and really deeply about if that’s a good fit for this dog because the dog’s been living in my house. I get to see it when it’s excited, when it’s sleepy, when other dogs are bothering it, when the cat goes running in front of it. I get to see it and all kinds of situations. So, I usually have the best insights into what kind of dog you’re signing up for. An experienced foster looks at your application and tells you like “I think this dog would be a good fit for you.” That really means something. I’ve turned away people who would be FANTASTIC dog owners. One of my dogs, Sunny (for those of you who follow me on Instagram @BGRKitty) Sunny, had an amazing application for a lady who owned a heritage turkey farm up in Vermont and she wanted this dog to just like be like her sweet little farm buddy and that would have been a perfect life for him. The only thing was that she would go to make sales at restaurants and grocery chains and they would be long drives and she said I’d love for the dog to come along. And Sonny gets really, really carsick. He gets terribly carsick. And we hoped he would grow out of it. We took him on some test drives to see if maybe he would get used to it and he’s never grown out of it. Years later we adopted him and he’s never grown out of it.
So like foster parents put a ton of thought into like, “Am I setting you up for success as an owner? Am I setting this dog up for success?” So that’s kind of like, my number one recommendation is go with a dog who’s in a foster care situation. Shelter for me is number two, because that may not be the most natural behavior. You may see a dog that looks super shy and is cowering in a corner and it’s just because it’s scared. It’s just because it doesn’t know what’s happening to it. And then when you bring it home, you’ll see a completely new side to that dog.
Different dog. Yeah, yeah. That was a little bit of my situation, as you know. So my husband and I adopted a dog almost 10 years ago now from the Municipal Animal Shelter, otherwise known as the pound. He had been on the streets and according to the vets had scars consistent with dog fighting, which is a huge problem in the part of the country where I live so it’s very likely that he was you know, either bred for dog fighting or a big dog of some kind, but definitely like did not have an easy puppyhood, but you know, we met him at the shelter and they put the little whiteboard on their kennels that has the number of days until they kill them because they only keep them for 60 days before they euthanize them. So he had 20 days left and he was just this like, athletic, charming, happy looking dog and he hopped right up and you know, my husband is a large breed human so we love large breed dogs and he’s you know, he was on the larger side so we saw the 20 days left to live and I was like “we can’t leave him!” So we adopted him and it turns out, you know, this dog was really just looking for a family and someone to protect because shortly after we adopted him, he got super protective of us and super fear-aggressive and what we realized was, you know, he was sort of in this limbo where he was like, “I just need to be with someone I can love and protect and once I get there, like I will protect them with my life.” So for you know, as long as we’ve had this dog, it’s been an uphill training battle because he is very fear-aggressive and because he is a large dog it could be quite dangerous so he’s muzzle trained, and he’s, you know, he’s never sort of out of our supervision like new people have to go through, like jump through a whole bunch of hoops til they’re like, they’ve got his trust, but now once you’ve got his trust, he will remember you forever. We’ve had friends who moved away and three years later came back and he remembered them and was cuddling in their laps, but you know, we were sort of in this situation where the pound was very much pressuring people to adopt dogs and I don’t regret it at all, but I just think if he had been adopted by a family with small children or someone who didn’t have the time to devote to training him, he would have needed to be euthanized.
Yeah, he really lucked out getting you and your husband as adopters because you guys, I have been through the dog acquaintanceship training seminar. It is a 90 minute seminar, not to minimize, you know, sometimes rescuing a dog that has an unknown background, you know, you may not always know 100% what you’re signing yourself up for, but I would say the exact same thing is true of adopting a puppy sight unseen, or like picking one out when it’s like “Oh, so cute and fluffy and eight weeks old” and are you adopting a puppy who is shy, who’s lazy, who’s athletic, who’s really friendly? You really don’t know.
You don’t know. It is a gamble.
I think kind of setting aside all of the dog stuff…
You’re right, we should move on to what the real issue is here…
Which is classism?
Okay, so I want to point out the reason that this particular letter spoke to me, and this is my favorite thing about reading, like /r/relationships things is people come in saying “we have this one problem” and as soon as they start to describe the problem, I’m like, pulling my hair out like you SO CLEARLY cannot see your real problem, which is that you do not respect your girlfriend’s opinions at all. Interestingly, later on in the letter, he kind of like does like a 90 degree turn to stop talking about this dog thing and start saying, Oh, she wants to get married and have kids one day and I’m not sure what I want yet…
And he’s the one who calls her, not to interrupt, but he’s the one who calls her like not like she doesn’t have a firm stance on anything
“She doesn’t have his own stance on anything.” That was killing me.
The pot, the kettle.
Four years is a great amount of time to determine how serious you are about building a life with someone, like that’s not, if four years in you’re not sure my advice to this woman would be to like okay move on.
Get yourself a shelter dog honey and move out.
Exactly. The point about how she only has her certificate. She is a software engineer, but yet he and his family have teased her about only having a certificate What an asshole!
Fucking rude! Oh my god, especially like nowadays when you know college is such a huge financial strain on people that like I think she should be congratulated for finding a way into a high paying career without saddling ourselves with student debt.
Yeah I think that’s amazing!
There’s nothing wrong with going to college like we both are college graduates. There is also nothing wrong with alternative forms of training and education, like full stop. That is not something that she should be ashamed of and it’s definitely not something that her boyfriend’s family should be shitting on her for.
I’m picking up a ton of snobbery from him and I think that the purebred dog kind of like speaks to that like, “Oh we want to know where this dog came from!” We want to know about its background. We’d like a credit report.
Its pedigree! And I think that shit is completely irrelevant.
It can follow its lineage back to Charlemagne.
The part where he said “Oh, she eats meat, she wears fur, she buys non organic, she buys fast fashion…”
It’s all fine, BUT…
This dude absolutely knows what he’s doing here or he should, which is appealing to an imperfect adherence to a lifestyle manifestation of values and saying, this is proof that I don’t have to listen to you in this one area, because you’re not perfect in every area.
Cause you’re wrong about the rest.
That is something I really truly hate.
If this letter is an onion, and the first layer is the fucking dog issue, and the second layer is this, like his classist assumptions about his girlfriend, I think buried in the core of the onion is the real question, which is he’s looking for permission to break up with his girlfriend.
And, like, dude, I hope she breaks up with you first, but also like, I’m so glad in his defense, I’m so glad that he’s reaching out and sort of looking for that permission right now because to me, it seems very clear that they have a lot of issues to resolve and, you know, clearly we don’t have the full story and that’s fine and they might have something really great going on, but we’re just looking at them in a moment of weakness and disagreement. But like, they either need to have these tough conversations about getting married and having children and about getting a dog and about their shared values as far as what they eat and what they wear before they commit to each other. And four years in is a long time coming to be having those discussions in my opinion.
Yeah, agreed. And I think it bears mentioning that so they’re 26 and 25. They started seeing each other four years ago when they were in their very early 20s. I think our opinion is that you change the most from when you are like maybe late High School, early college age, to, you know, fully an adult, that kind of like 10 year-ish…
Yeah it’s formative. They call your formative years for a reason.
You really change a lot and so if you have relationships that you start dating someone in your late teens or your early 20s, and then you find that you’re breaking up over something, especially if it’s something small, you might feel like “oh, but I’m throwing all this time and the good aspects. I’m throwing it all away”, like, girl throw it away. People change a lot.
It’s the sunk cost fallacy.
We talked about this in personal finance a lot so let me just take a second to define it. So the sunk cost fallacy is basically “Well, I already paid the down payment for this course, but I’m actually not really interested in taking it, but I already spent money on it so I might as well like pay the rest of the money and like spend my time taking this course.” Like no, you shouldn’t make it throw good money after bad by saying, well, I’ve already invested X amount of money in something. I should invest MORE in it, even though it’s probably not going to work out, it’s costing me opportunities and my time. So the sunk cost fallacy is basically even you need to look at the sunk cost, in this case, the time that they’ve already spent together and not have that have anything to do with their future commitment to each other. So the four years that have happened, have happened, they should have nothing to do with their decision to continue dating or to get married and have children or get a fucking dog. They need to sort of look at those years and let them go and admit that you know what, those years were sunk costs. We can’t get them back, but they don’t necessarily mean that we need to keep working this out just for the sake that we’ve already spent those years together.
Totally. And I think we tend to have like a very binary view of relationships: Either they fail or they succeed, they worked out or they didn’t, you’re together or you’re apart. And I think those are a simplification verging on a lie. I think it’s very possible to date someone who is terrible for you and walk away from that with a little lot of very valuable self knowledge, some really good instruction about like, okay, I had no idea what I wanted out of a partner. Now I know some things and I’m going to date someone else and I’m going to find some more things, I’m going to date someone else, I’m going to find some more things. It’s not that you are failing at those relationships, or that those relationships were meaningless and they were a waste of time. In fact, like you, one or both of you was learning more about who you are, what you need from a relationship, and that’s really valuable, so if the two of these potential dog owners, which please don’t get a dog.
Don’t get a dog right now. Just the fact that like, regardless of the details, the fact that he says she doesn’t have a firm stance on anything means she probably does, but he just…
He doesn’t get it.
…He doesn’t take the time to understand that and to get on the same page with her and vice versa probably.
No one who really loves you on a deep bonded level is going to go onto the internet and describe you as someone who wears fur therefore cannot have or does not deserve a strong opinion on purebred dogs.
Not even worse fur, but buys non-organic? Come on dude! Fuck you.
Oh buys non-organic – the charlatan! Are you good with that?
I’m good with that.
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Awesome. Hey, is there anything else that they should know?
Yes, I own a stress ball in the shape of a sperm and it works great.
That is good to know.
Kitty & Piggy 26:32
Huge thanks to Purple at A Purple Life for her help creating these transcripts!