Save Dogs by Adopting, Not Shopping with John Rush




December 5th is Celebrate Shelter Pets Day and who better to help Carly honor this day than John Rush! John Rush is a professional Canadian football player, vegan, violence against women advocate and lover of rescue dogs. In this episode, John and Carly dive into the issues of breeding dogs, shelter pets and more. You can find him on Instagram or check out his videos on Youtube! Check out his food blog and new shop with fun gifts perfect for the holidays!


Please note, this episode has been transcribed by a computer, expect some typos!


Carly Puch

Welcome back to another episode of Consciously Clueless. I'm your host, Carly, and I'll be your guide on this journey from consciousness to cluelessness and back around again. I have a very special episode for you today. This will come out a few days before December 5, which is annual celebrate shelter pets day, and I knew just who I wanted to talk to for this. John Rush is back. John is a professional Canadian football player, a vegan, an advocate for ending violence against women and a lover of shelter dogs. We talk about breeding shelter pets, and why you should adopt and not shop. Enjoy the episode.

Carly Puch

Well, thank you for joining me again.

John Rush

Yeah, for sure. Thanks for having me on.

Carly Puch

Yeah, I thought that it would be fun. I had to look back and see what the day was actually called. But we're recording this in honor of December 5, which is apparently celebrate shelter pets day. There you go. I wanted to talk specifically about that on the podcast soon. And I was like, Who better to talk to than John?

John Rush

Yup that's right.

Carly Puch

About celebrating shelter pets. So give us a if people haven't listened to the very first episode, which shout out to you for being brave enough to be my first episode again. Give us a little recap of your shelter pets that you have right now.

John Rush

Yeah, for sure. So, I mean, I've been adopting dogs since I was nine years old. I could somehow convince my parents when I was a nine year old to let me have a this crazy black lab from the niagra Humane Society. He was a great dog. He was a wild, wild dog. But he was great. He was he was so much fun. And then we had him for 14 years. And then when I went to college, he passed away

John Rush

14 years is a long time for a bigger dog too

John Rush

Oh, yeah. Yeah, it's it. It was it was crazy how long we had, I think, I think it surprised kind of all of us which was, which obviously was you know, it was very good for us. We were happy with it. Yeah. But yeah, it was very long time for a big dog. But now right now I have two dogs bone and Bailey bones. 150 pounds. Most people think he's a polar bear. But he's a great beer and he St. Bernard mix. And Bailey. I was fostering her at the start of the year. And like the first day I fostered her, I'm just like...

Carly Puch

She's still here.

John Rush

Exactly. Yeah, so I knew I was gonna adopt her kind of from the start so but yeah, she's she's about 100 pounds. She's about to turn one. She's a Great Pyrenees something mixed? We're not really sure yet. We got bone DNA tested. So we know but we don't know.

Carly Puch

So did you have you fostered dogs before Bailey or was that the first one and then you were like, Oh, this is gonna be a problem.

John Rush

Oh, no, I did foster one dog before Bailey. I bossard. Wolfie,

Carly Puch

Oh ok I do actually remember that

John Rush

Yeah. Yeah. He was kind of there for a couple months. He was a great dog. He was wild as well. And like we we had to work with him. He was a so he came from like, Northern Manitoba, where, like, he was just like a wild dog. Like he, like, had never been in a home. He had never like live with people. They found him on like living underneath a porch. They thought he was a coyote at first. Joe like, yeah, like he was just like, when I got him. He was I want to say like, I can't remember exactly, but he was like four or five months.

Carly Puch

Okay,

John Rush

He lived outside his entire life.

Carly Puch

So literally wild. Like, like,

John Rush

Yeah, like, legitimately wild dog. And so like, there was like, a lot of work we had to do with him that like, he was just crazy. He was just crazy. It wasn't used to living in a home. But by the end of it, like I have pictures and videos like, like, he loved it. By the end. It was like that, like just like love to cuddle. Love to like, hang out on the couch. Like, you were like, he was like, he was kind of like a German Shepherd, probably a husky mix. So he had a lot of IV. So he would like he loved to wrestle but like he also he was a big gel too. So yeah.

Carly Puch

So what about Bailey when you fostered her where you were like, oh, shit, I'm gonna keep this dog.

John Rush

She the problem with wolf he was yeah, he was going to be a smaller dog. And like he loved to wrestle so much. But with how big bone is, I always had that fear that like, bone would just throw them and he'd like break his leg or something like that. And like that was always like a big concern of mine because like, like bones, not aggressive in any way, like, like at all but like when they're playing around, bones so big that it's easy for him to start. Jump up in the air and if he lands funny, like, there goes a leg or they're, you know.

Carly Puch 05:04

Bone could break a leg of mine on accident.

John Rush

Like, so like I have to be like I have to be like really careful about especially when he's like around other people when he wants to play like I'm like, hey, like, you can play but like you guys got to know like, he's 150 pounds. And like, that's a lot of dogs. So yeah, so with Wolfie It was like, it just didn't really make sense for like, kind of like our situation. But then what Bailey came around she, I got I got her at like 16 weeks. And she was already like 60 pounds. And I'm like, Oh, this girl's a unit. Yeah. Girl like, and like and she like loved uracil too. She was like, she's about that like life where she would like, come in hot and like, just like no fear. So, so I just kind of worked out and she's like, she's about to turn a year. She's like, 110 pounds like, and she like when she plays with bone. She like holds her own like, I'm not like ever worried about like a situation where like, Bailey would get hurt because like, I honestly I honestly worry more about bone because of how it like wild Bailey is.

Carly Puch

A girl after my own heart.

John Rush

Yeah, exactly. So yeah, but yeah, so like that. When I kind of met her. I was just like, Oh, yeah, this girl like, she's the unit. I love it. Like, yeah, this girl is gonna get this girl's gonna stay here.

Carly Puch

So you had the foster dog growing up that you convinced your parents Yeah. To get how did you get bone? Like what was like you were in school? And so you didn't have a dog for a while? Right? Like, you know, going to college and stuff.

John Rush

Yeah. So there's it took me a long time. So it all all of university, I didn't have a dog. Like it just didn't make sense. I had, you know, so much other stuff going on. Like, you know, I think people get dogs in college. It's not the right move. Right?

Carly Puch

And you're an athlete too. So that's like, time and..

John Rush

Exactly. Right. So like there's there's so much stuff going on in college, and especially with the added athlete part on top of that. It's just like, it's not really a good time for a lot of people to be getting dogs or like animals. But yeah, so like, I waited till I was out and then I like played my first full year at the CFL. And I'm like, you know, I like I'd really I really want a dog like, I love dogs. I'm like, I'm established now I have you know, money coming in. I feel like I can take care of a dog again. So I actually looked for like eight months. Oh, wow. Yeah, like I was I was looking everyday like I knew I wanted a big dog. My first dog Hunter was a black lab. He was like, he was like 90 to 100 pounds kind of hovered in there. And my brother has 130 pound Rottweiler that I love. Yeah, that like meet me and you go like me and your best friend. Go Oh my god, he loves me. I love him. It's you know, like, we're the we're besties and I live with my brother for a while so I always knew I'm like hey like if I'm getting a dog I want to a big dog so I can that it can play with like Hugo I don't want like a small dogs Hugo is like, are you with a big Rottweiler right so

Carly Puch

That Hugo would see as a snack.

John Rush

So like I wanted a dog they could like wrestle and play around with it. Yeah, all that stuff. And that like I could like wrestle with to like, you know, I like I love playing with I love playing with the dogs especially in the snow like so. I was looking for like eight months and then it was like super it. Honestly, how I got bone was super fluke. It was crazy. We were on...

Carly Puch

Hold on just a sec. Did you know that you wanted to shelter dog? Right? Like you were like,

John Rush

Oh, yeah, okay. Yeah, I wasn't I wasn't gonna do anything else. Yeah, like, at that time, like we bought like me and a couple guys on the team, like, volunteered at the Winnipeg Humane Society and did all that like there. Yeah, there was no chance I was ever not gonna get 100 dogs.

Carly Puch

I figured just making sure

John Rush

Yeah. So um, so it was super fluke, actually, like I we were on by week it was like week, I want to say like 17 of 18 on the season. And we had a bye week. So I flew home to Niagara to see my parents. And I was looking on the website. It's called petfinder.com. And it shows kind of like all the shelter dogs in your area. It's a sweet website. It's that's where I count both my dogs actually. And so I was just like, looking on there. Like, while I was home to just see like, because like, I'm 2000 kilometers away Winnipeg, obviously the dogs are going to be you know, very different. So I was looking just like one morning and and, like bone was the first dog to pop up. And, you know, it was like this big white dog. I was like great parodies. I'm like, creep here. And he's like, I never even heard of great parodies. Yeah. I'm like, What the hell is this like? So I looked at him like, man, like this dog looks crazy. Like, it looks big. Like, I'm like, I gotta go see this dog. Boy. I gotta see this die. Great, you know? Yeah. I'm like, I'm like here for a week. So like, so I mentioned her like, hey, like, you're here for a week. Like, can I come see this dog and they're like, yeah, For sure, like one works. I'm like, it'd be there in like 45 minutes. Maybe you soon like, they're like, Alright, so I whip up to it was like it was in Hamilton. So I whip up like 45 minutes away from my house. And I meet this dog and I'm like, Oh, yeah, like I'm adopting this dog. Like I told him straight up. I'm like, Oh, really? Oh, yeah. So like, he just got there, like, literally that day. And they're like, well, he's not neutered. He needs to be neutered. Like, he still needs to get all his vaccines and do all that stuff. I'm like, okay, like, that actually kind of works out perfect. Because I still had to go back to Winnipeg for a couple weeks. Like, because we still had like, last regular season game and some playoffs to finish. But I'm like, I'll be back in like three or four weeks. Can I pick him up then? Like, yeah, it's perfect. He'll be like, fully healed fully ready to go on like, perfect. So like, yeah, like, we finished the season. I drove home and went and picked him up like right after that.

Carly Puch

And didn't I think you shared this before. I don't think I made this up. Wasn't he like really close to? Like getting ixnayed?

John Rush

Yeah, yeah, I know for sure. He was so okay, story is he's actually from a breeder originally. His first family got him from a breeder. And then at six months or six to seven months, he got too big. He was like, he was like 100 pounds at six months. And they gave him up for adoption. And he's from Quebec, and there's a lot of a lot of shelters in Quebec are still kill shelters. And they're not they're not as common in in, like Ontario or Manitoba. It's like very rare that you'll find that but in Quebec, they're still relatively common. So he was at a kill shelter. And he was there for like, I think he was there for like, two, two or three months. And then they they're just like, especially because how big he is. It's like he's not like a cheap dog to like, house and take care of, you know what I mean? Like it's a lot of money for shelters to take care of them. And most shelters are already on like very thin budgets. Yeah. So the shelter is like, called out like he was like set to be euthanized that week. And the shelter they called out to like other shelters like hey, like this dogs like, perfectly fine. They're like, we just can't afford to take care of them anyway. Oh, my God, we're gonna like have to put them down kind of thing. If, like, if someone doesn't come pick them up. So the shelter I got them from, drove nine hours to come back to pick them up, drove nine hours back, and had I just happened to see him. Literally the morning they got back from Quebec, and then adopted him like from there.

Carly Puch

The Universe was like this is John's dog.

John Rush

Yeah, literally, right. So so they Yeah, it was crazy. Like he was like, literally about to get killed. And like, like, He's such a perfect dog. Like, yeah, I mean, you've seen all the pictures and like, he's, he's a Big Chill, like, doesn't like he was perfectly trained perfectly how he's trained. He doesn't have any accidents. Like, he's chewed the odd thing, but like, doesn't choose shoes. Like, his favorite thing is like wooden spoon. So I'm like, yeah, so like, I just, I learned to like, put away wooden spoons. You know what I mean?

Carly Puch

That's like, also kinda cute. Like, I know he shouldn't but like, it's kind of cute.

John Rush

Yeah, exactly. So like, but like, you know what I mean? Like, he's such a great dog that I'm like, there's literally nothing wrong with this dog. Like, it's crazy how good he is. And like, how, like, he's well trained, like, knows how to set give a PA like, do all the tricks like? I'm like, man, like, I can't believe someone gave him up and like, not to mention, like, Great Pyrenees, St. Bernard's. If you hit them from a breeder. That's like five or $6,000. Like, they're not like cheap dogs. Like I looked into it after because a couple people told me they're like, like, oh, did you get a neuter? Like, you should breed them? And I'm like, Fuck no, like, like, missing the point. Exactly. Like, like, first of all, no. And like, second of all, like, like, why would I do that? And like, people are like, Oh, man, like, you can make so much money that Great Pyrenees is like, especially good looking ones like that, like go for so much money. So I looked into it. And like they do. Like, if you have a good looking like, they people were telling me he could be like a show dog. Because of how good looking is that? Like, I should breed them and make a bunch of money. I'm like, I'm like, so the family that had come before me. Like, I don't know what they were thinking. Like, I don't know like, what they were thinking when they bought him. Like what was going on in their mind because they like they definitely paid a lot of money for this dog. And gave him up after six months. Like for no reason for absolutely no reason.

Carly Puch

Because he's too big. Right like that was there.

John Rush

But how did they not know he was gonna get big if you got him from a breeder like you don't mean like, Huh, he's a Great Pyrenees St. Bernard. Literally called giant dog breeds, right? Like it's not like, you go into a secret. Yeah, it's all like you buy like a Ford F 150. And then you get it. You're like, oh, the truck. I wanted a fucking car. Like I wanted a Prius like, oh, Whoa, whoa, works.

Carly Puch

Well, and that's one of the couple things you said. I think one of the misconceptions, or at least we like kind of want to think that way to like, make us not feel so guilty is like, Oh, I bet at kill shelters, they only put down dogs that are like sick or that are not going to get adopted or whatever. And you're like, yeah, bone was fine. Yeah, it literally is because they couldn't afford him.

John Rush

Yeah, well, and that's and that's the problem. Like, it's not just because they're sick. And it's not just because they're bad dogs or anything like that. It's just a lot of times it comes down to money and, and just the length of time they stay in the shelter. They don't get a lot of a lot of the kill shelters have set like dates. It doesn't matter. Like, you know what kind of dog it is, or like how good it is it. It's like, every shelter is different. But it's like if your dog's been here for six months, it hasn't been adopted, it just gets put down. Like I like that's just like the rules some of them have. And it's like, it's super crazy. But like it. I would never blame the shelters. Right? You know what I mean? It I would never put the onus on the shelters, because, you know, they're First of all, like, completely overrun and running on shoestring budgets, like, Uh huh. You know, like, they can't, they can't just like, like, hold dogs forever, like I completely understand. It's like, it's plastic, like, shelters are banned age. Like a gun wound, you know what I mean? It's like, yeah, these people like shelters. You know, they're doing the best they can. Right, right. Like all these rescues and shelters, they're just, they're trying the best they can to manage the problem. Mm hmm. But it's like putting a band aid over a shotgun wound in your stomach, you know what I mean? It just like it. It's not solving anything. Now the problems only getting worse. We're just bleeding more, right? That's kind of like, there's a there's a larger problem here.

Carly Puch

So what are some of the laws or changes that have happened in Canada or in like different Providence, because I know, in the US, it's like, state by state has their own different thing, and everything varies so much. Is there any kind of changes in the mix.

John Rush

I mean, it's pretty similar here. Like, a lot of it's like local, like municipality rules as well, like in Winnipeg, you can't have pimples, but outside of Winnipeg, you can. And all of Ontario, you can't have pimples. So it's kind of like it's, it's, it's kind of the same where it's like place by place is different. But like, for the most part, there really isn't any regulation around dogs at all. Except for Pitbull. Like, that's pretty much they anybody can breed a dog like it, you don't need a license, you don't need to register, you don't have to do any of that. You know, there's there's not very much regulation in Canada. Pretty similar to the States, I'd say. Like, I know, there's there there are a couple states that are coming out with some really good regulations regarding backyard breeders and things like that. Yep. Which is, you know, which is amazing, amazing. But at the same time, it's, there's so much of it happening that it's like, like I said, it's just it's not like it's not really helping yet. So.

Carly Puch

Yeah, so was I mean, obviously, you've been a lover of shelter dogs, since you were little but where does the motivation come from? Or when did you kind of start thinking like, Oh, I really want to like, make this a thing I'm working on in my life because you started a Rushes Rescue Kitchen right?

John Rush

Resuce Dog Kitchen

Carly Puch

Resuce Dog Kitchen. Darn it. I don't know why I throw your last name in there cuz there was an R.

John Rush

No, it's the dog's Instagram. It's Rushes rescues.

Carly Puch

Yeah and

John Rush

I have too many accounts

Carly Puch

I was gonna say, I feel like I've seen that somewhere. I didn't make that up. Okay, I feel better today. But, um, you're really becoming more and more and more outspoken about, you know, adopt don't shop. So like, where does that come from? Like, is it just kind of like a passion that you're like, this is I care about this? I can't not talk about it.

John Rush

Yeah, it's, I mean, like, obviously, I've been adopting dogs since I was young. Right? And it just, it kind of all stemmed from just like these misconceptions that I hear all the time and I mean, it's just difficult to stand by and in see the statistics and see see what these dogs go through. Like when you spend time with dogs, they can anybody. I always find it very interesting that when you have you know, people that own dogs and you know, those people understand those dogs personalities. How they can still sit there, and I mean one not be vegan, but two To buy from a breeder knowing that there are dogs and shelters and like that's kind of where it stems from because I'm like, like I've spent I spent my entire my entire basically life has been with shelter dogs, you know, I had hunter first and now I have bone and Bailey and I had Wolfie, like, there's nothing wrong with these dogs like there's they're perfectly good dogs and they have humongous personalities. Bailey is an absolute coward. You know, something falls in the house and it could be in a completely different room and she's taken off like he's a coward. Like, there's not like, anything out of the ordinary kind of thing. You know, which is by like, His phone is like the complete opposite. He's a huge protector, like will defend anything. But like, you see their personalities and you see, you know, like, sometimes like with Bailey, you can see that they they sense fear, they sense emotions, like these dogs have emotions, and you can really see it when you spend time with them, like they're not just dogs and like, you know, when people that don't own dogs are like, oh, like they're just dogs. I'm like, cat like, you just haven't spent time with them. But like for people that have spent time with them, like man, you you understand that these dogs have personalities that don't literally just like humans, except they can't, you know, speak English. They have that personality, they have those emotions, like you know, they do. So to think in my mind thinking that, you know, bone is sitting in that shelter like shaking because he's so afraid. Or Bailey's you know, freaking out like, you know, crying and whimpering in a corner like to think that that happens. Still in a society where there are so many dog owners and there are so many people that understand dogs have emotions, is like a super to me, like fucked up thing where I'm like, man, like these dogs can't speak, but they can. They can definitely show emotions. And I'm like, just trying to teach people that like, man, like understand this, like, yeah, dogs feel emotions, like you should be like, what, you know, 2 million dogs in the states enter the ENTER, you know, shelters every single year, 2 million, 2 million. Yeah. Or it's 2 million animals. Sorry, but that includes cots. But it's like at 1.1 million. That's like, holy shit. Over a million dogs enter the shelters every single year like, Man, that's super messed up. Like, no, and a lot of them have to get euthanized because it's impossible to keep up. You can't just keep what are you going to do your whole city just going to be a giant shelter? Like, you know what I mean? Like, so there's like a larger problem here that I'm that I like, you know what I see when I think about bone, you know, being euthanized or barely getting euthanized. And like man, like, a guy would destroy me, like that would absolutely destroy me thinking about so to think that there's 2 million dogs or 2 million animals a year that enter the shelter system that don't even get a chance. You know, I think it's like, I have a platform. So I'm like, I should use this to do something.

Carly Puch

Yeah, and I think we, we've talked about this before, but that we just underestimate animals, right? Like, we just underestimate their ability to connect. And like you said, like, they have emotions, they have personalities. They know I think things before we know you see all those videos of like animals like when women are pregnant that it just like, lay on the stomach of the woman because they're like, something's happening in here. Like they're so smart. They sense things. They smell things. We one of my parents shelter dogs, he's I've talked about this on the podcast before but he's half Pitbull, half Great Dane. And he, he can jump and be a little bit overwhelming at times. But when my grandma was staying with us, she has Alzheimer's. That dog would sit by her side and sit under her feet, and just lay there and let her pet him. Which was like the most heartwarming thing and then also my mom and I were like, you will shit. You know exactly what you're doing. You jump on us, but you don't jump on her. What are you doing? Like? They know. They know.

John Rush

100% they're smart. I mean, like, it's crazy, like bone, bone. I go into them all the time. I'm like, like, You're an idiot. But you're so smart like you like because I give him shit when he steals something he knows he's not supposed to have like, he's not a dumb dog. He knows there's certain things you can have in certain things he can't. And when he steals something he's not supposed to have and I'll be like sitting on a couch in the living room. He'll like walk by the living room, but like turn his head so he like he's like, Hi, he can't see me if I turn my head. But I'm like, You're an idiot. I know you're doing something if your heads turn, like, like, the fact that he like, in his mind knew what not that he's not supposed to have this idea. And he's trying to hide it from me like that's smart thing to do but like the way he did it was just barely under smart these these these creatures, they're not stupid.

Carly Puch

Oh no.

John Rush

Right?

Carly Puch

Not at all. No my favorite is watching my parents dogs try and like bury a toy away from you but they're like sitting next to you and putting it in a blanket but they're like, they'll never know.

John Rush

Exactly.

Carly Puch

That's my favorite.

John Rush

They can't see it they don't know.

Carly Puch

It will be under this blanket, they'll forget. But they still are trying to hide it from you.

John Rush

yeah,

Carly Puch

You know, there's so much smarter i i've been torturing myself lately looking at rescue sites non stop because I want a dog so bad.

John Rush

Yeah,

Carly Puch

So bad. so bad. This conversation is not helping. Um, I think the statistic you just said, I mean, I know this is just audio, so no one will be able to see my dumbfounded face. But when you said 2 million animals in the states enter shelters like I I knew it was high. But sometimes I just don't look at the numbers because it's sad, which is totally, I need to I need to know the scope of the problem. But holy shit.

John Rush

Oh, yeah. It's like, it's a problem. It's like, like, so I don't know if you've seen the movie. I love dogs. Watch it. It's a pretty sure it's a Wes Anderson movie. So it's like super. It's super like, it's like different and very artsy. But the whole the whole movie is about. So what happens in the movie is I think it's Japan gets overrun by dogs, because of, you know, over breeding and overpopulation, and they just they can't handle the problem anymore. Because there's too many dogs. And what happens is a sickness breaks out within the dogs. It's kind of ironic that Corona is..

Carly Puch

I was just gonna say..

John Rush

Yeah, I know. So sick, this breaks out. It's called, like, dog cough or something like that. So what they do is they ban all dogs, all dogs get exiled, and they ship them off. Every single dog in the entire country gets shipped off to an island, where it's garbage. It's like, where they go dump their trash. It's another kind of like, you know, trope on society. But

Carly Puch

I was just gonna say, wow, all of the metaphors here.

John Rush

Yeah, exactly. Right. But so, so what happens in the movie is, you know, the whole movie is about how, you know, one of a very elite person's dog gets shipped off by accident to the, to this island. And this, this kid, this elite kid, goes, goes back to save them, it goes to this garbage island to save them and then comes back to society and tries to reintroduce dogs into society. And it's like, we are on par and we were on path to essentially reach that, like we are we are, we are breeding at such a rate. You know, in in, I think it was Norway, or one of the Scandinavian countries, they just had a Coronavirus outbreak in their mink farm and how to kill millions of mink. And and it's like, man, like how, how is this society? Do we not understand that what we're doing right now. Like, you can't just keep breeding dogs and bringing them into society. And then people abandoning them, like, decide like, eventually the shelters will become overrun. And when the shelters are become overrun, people will just abandon them into forests, or which already happens, which already happens, I don't know, alarming rate, but it's just going to come more and more prevalent. And then all of a sudden, dogs are going to be everywhere you don't eat and it's going to become a problem in in, in places. Unless like legislation is introduced. Right? And that's like that's ultimately what it all kind of circles around to it. And I know a lot of people are like very anti government and anti you know, control. But the fact of the matter is people are shitty. Whatever they can until they get and continue to get away with like that is at the end of the day people are shitty, and that's what they're going to do.

Carly Puch

Mm hmm.

John Rush