Puppy with a cause
Hi! My name is Teddy. I'm a French Bulldog puppy and a very lucky pup at that! My 2-legged mom went looking for the bestest, handsomest, sturdiest, healthiest little boy she could find. And she came home with me!
Sharing our space!
My mom also told me that not all pups are as lucky as I am and I have to be a good boy and share with puppies who aren't on purpose.
So I do! Mom and I work at a really cool place with a special area for people to come play with and train their dogs. And we invite our friends from Community Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.). The dogs meet here to learn to be fantastic pets - like me!
Last time was really, really special. The shelter has over a dozen puppies in foster care. The puppies' moms were picked up as strays, or turned in by people who couldn't care for them any more. They may not be as lucky as me, but they've got food and a foster homes where people will care for them until their forever families meet them. And they got to come play with me in our puppy playpen!
Cute puppies can grow into wonderful dogs with patience, training, and love!
My shelter friendsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Pet stores are puppy-mill outlets
We all know the song "How much is that doggy in the window?" - but purchasing that puppy is a terrible thing to do - regardless of the price. The same thing holds true for purchasing puppies from slick internet sites.
The puppies purchased from pet shops or internet sites may be okay. They may be too young to have been subjected to the terrible conditions most puppy mill dogs must endure: life in a too-small cage, often with numerous other dogs, without clean food or water, unsanitary conditions, no temperature control, etc.
I really don't want to go into the horrible details of puppy mill conditions here - but if you're curious you can just search "puppy mill" and be inundated with the horrible conditions these dogs must live with.
Most people want to do the right thing - for their families and for the larger community. When you know better, you do better. So here are some of the warning signs you may be dealing with a puppy mill.
- Multiple breeds available. Good breeders focus their attention on one, or perhaps two breeds of dog.
- Taking payment over the internet.
- Willingness to "ship anywhere." Good breeders want to know you, your family circumstances, how and where the puppy will live, and who will take care of it.
- Cross-breeds available. Reputable breeders don't randomly breed dogs together. Any "doodle," "poo," or "malti-" isn't a "designer" dog - it's a cross-bred dog, indistinguishable from many same-size dogs available from your local shelter.
The myth of "hybrid vigor"
It's just not true that "hybrid" dogs are healthier than pure-bred dogs.
Reputable breeders go to great effort and expense, including many kinds of health testing, to be sure the dogs they're responsible for will not only be beautiful examples of their breeds, but healthy ones as well. They also pay attention to the temperament of the dogs they breed, seeking out the best exemplars.
Cross-bred dogs, on the other hand, are randomly bred. Just as you and I didn't get all the best traits from our parents, neither do these dogs. The puppy-miller may advertise a "non-shedding" doodle-thing. But what if it inherited the other dog's shed-like-anything genes? Would anyone really try and "return" a puppy that's already stolen the hearts of the entire family?
A support system for you and your dog
Shelters and breeders have a lot in common - even though there are some in each community who would disagree. I've found that both provide valuable support systems for the new dog owner, including sharing resources for training, health, feeding, etc.
Both shelters and breeders will try to find the best dog for you and your family. You may find their questions about your life, job, family and home intrusive - but they're just trying to be sure that everyone is happy and the dog will find its "forever home." Pet shops and internet puppy sellers simply don't care. Once you've bought the dog - it's your problem, no matter what happens.
Despite my best efforts to educate, my own neighbors went to a pet shop and came home with a puppy. A Siberian Husky puppy. Exactly the wrong dog for first-time dog owners with a tiny house and a sedentary lifestyle. These well-intentioned people now have a dog who lives in the backyard, rarely interacts with them, and howls constantly, making it a nuisance for the entire neighborhood. Because they are unwilling to admit their mistake, and do provide housing, food, and water to the dog, there is nothing we can legally do about it.
© 2010 Hope