I hadn’t even grown into my paws yet when I learned about the "other dogs." I was introduced to the others, the adopted dogs, when I met two scruffy little things in the summer of 2012, just a month or so after my first warm, wet-nosed meeting with this weird and wild spinning ball they call Earth. Those tiny mousey creatures ended up being my “adopted” Yorkshire Terrier sisters Lily and Nutmeg, and their origin shocked me as much as their upturned ears and shrill barks. 

     The concept of adoption was unsettling enough. In my mind, dogs came to life, sniffed their surroundings in confusion, only to soon figure out their purpose: to make their kind, kibble-providing human families feel loved and entertained. And if they had to move to another home as I did, it was only because someone else wanted their hearty licks even more than their first family. 

     Not so, I learned. Lily and Nutmeg’s original home was comprised of an unkind sort, people who could care less if their dogs were funny or cute or sweet. It was the monetary value of their canines they were after, and so care and compassion was left behind in the pursuit of money.

     My sisters and their countless Yorkie siblings and non-siblings were not “bred” like me. It would take some serious doing by Dr. Doolittle to discern the two’s biological dog mother from the bunch; there were that many. It was as if they were dog factory made. 

     One Yorkie after another would procreate until there was a basement full of little bustling, yappy cages. Barely a surface was kept clean. Their dingy bowls would get filled daily, but with the dog version of junk food. And when my cute furball counterparts were rescued and adopted, their fragile parasite infected bodies and overall poor health was of no surprise.

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     From that day forward, I would view myself and other dogs differently. Some of us, like myself, need not seek shelter. We’ve had a family from the start. Millions of others, like Lily and Nutmeg, had or have uncertain futures. There’s either a new family, a shelter, another broken home, homelessness, or death waiting for them on the other side. 

     This is where my dog pal Barkley’s “Shop Less, Adopt More” Apparel Initiative comes in. Our personal experiences combined with the creativity of our design savvy families formed the budding movement. We hope to call attention to the need for dog adoptions with tees, sweatshirts, etc. that feature the slogan “Shop Less, Adopt More.” And since five percent of our earnings goes to the Best Friends Animal Society, the largest animal sanctuary in the United States, the campaign will also help to feed and take care of existing shelter dogs. 

     If our project gains enough headway, we hope that other dogs will find the brightness of a loving family on the other side just like Lily and Nutmeg. After all, it only takes one decision to “adopt more” to save a life! So we encourage you to wear our gear and inspire others to do just that.