Buying a Puppy?

Based on my varied experiences….

one dog from a hobby breeder:

She was so loyal and sweet may she RIP

She was so loyal and sweet may she RIP

One from the Sebastian County Humane Society:

She gets it from her mother

She gets it from her mother

One from a snooty upscale UES boutique (don’t kill me…this is how ZoeyStory.com began):Her first favorite toy

Her first favorite toy

I AM ALWAYS GOING TO SAY ADOPT AND DON’T SHOP FOR A NEW PUPPY.

In addition, I recommend you contact me and let me know what kind of dog, breed, male, female, etc. you are looking for.  I will do whatever I can to find you the perfect rescue dog, since doing so does not assist the puppy mill industry in any way, direct or indirect.  However, if you are adamant about buying from a breeder I am going to post some tips:

Find a reputable breeder.  What makes a breeder reputable?

  • The HSUS says that a reputable breeder would never sell to a pet store or any other entity (e.g. online; Zoey’s pet store) that cannot ensure their pups are going to a good home.
  • Visit the breeder’s facility.  In fact, I encourage you to visit it as many times as possible.  It should be clean and it should not be crowded.
  • The puppies at the breeding facility will seem like part of the breeder’s family and will not exclusively stay in their kennels.  They will be socialized and have adequate time to play and interact with humans and other puppies alike.
  • The dogs should be friendly and should not shy away from you.  They should appear happy and healthy.
  • All reputable breeders will have current, recent veterinary records showing all shots, exams, worming, etc.  They will clearly explain to you future medical care and needs.

According to The Humane Society of the United States,

“A reputable breeder will never sell dogs through a pet store or in any other way that doesn’t allow interaction with buyers to ensure that the puppies are a good match for the families and that the buyers will provide responsible lifelong homes. Please don’t ever buy a dog without personally visiting where he or she was born and raised. Take the time now to find the right breeder and you’ll be thanking yourself for the rest of your dog’s life.”;

  • There are only 1-2 breeds of dogs being bred.
  • The breeder knows and adheres to the “breed standards” (size, proportion, coat, color and temperament).
  • You are provided  with a written contract and health guarantee.  And you are allowed plenty of time to read it thoroughly and ask questions.
  • The breeder does not allow puppies to leave their litter before they are at least 8-weeks old under any circumstances.
  • The breeder has a strong relationship with at least one local veterinarian and shows you records of veterinary visits for the puppies.  This includes an explanation of the puppy’s medical history and what vaccinations he or she will need once you take him/her home.  The breeder should also be able to explain potential genetic problems commonly found in the breed.
  • The breeder should be willing to offers guidance for care for and training of the new addition to your home.  The breeder should make him or herself available to happily assist you with all those puppy questions even after you take your pup home.
  • The breeder should provide you references and phone numbers of other families who have recently purchased puppies from them.
  • The breeder should feed high quality pet food and not the cheapest and most cost efficient.
  • A good breeder should have a waiting list of interested families for their puppies as they SHOULD NOT always have puppies available.  (Of note, when Zoey was in the hospital the breeder offered to send me a new puppy the next week from another litter of Cotons if/when Zoey died.)

AND if you are a breeder you should require the following of your prospective owners.  The breeder should ask you to:

  • Encourage multiple visits and wants your entire family to meet the puppy (The store we purchased Zoey from was turned off by our multiple visits and made us put a deposit down of $1000 on Zoey to hold her for 48 hours while we attempted to make an educated decision).
  • Explain why you want a dog and what draws you to this breed.  Do you have any other pets?  (We had another dog but they would not allow us to bring our dog into the store to spend time with the puppy due to transmission of disease – funny how she was in the hospital close to death without getting to play with her sister).
  • Explain who in your family will be responsible for the pup’s daily care, where the dog will be sheltered and fed.  (The pet store never asked or cared.  I doubt they do for all the dogs they sell online as well.  They only cared about who was going to pay the bill and who they were going to sell all the puppy supplies to.  They sold me a dog bed, dog blankets, pee pads, pee pad holder, dry food, wet food, dehydrated food, nutra gel for low blood sugar, some crap to put in her water for electrolytes, 4 different types of treats that she never touched AND pretty much anything that could possibly prevent this dog from getting sick after its transport from the puppy mill).  Zoey now eats Evo, a natural food that is filled with nutrients she loves.
  • Provide the name of the veterinarian you will be using.  (When we had to put Zoey in the ICU at the most reputable animal hospital in NYC, the pet store hounded us with calls to remove Zoey from their care as it was “so expensive.” The owner was clearly more worried about his obligations under New York’s Lemon Laws than in seeing Zoey get well.)
  • Provide proof from your landlord or condominium board (if you rent or live in a condominium complex) that you are allowed to have a dog.  (In our case we had a strict condo policy and maximum dog weight policy but the pet store owners didn’t care.  They only cared about getting their money).
  • Sign a contract stating that you will return the dog to the breeder should you be unable to keep the dog at any point in the dog’s life.  (I signed a contract in Zoey’s Story indicating that I would not return her under any circumstances.  Their contract had “NO REFUNDS and NO RETURNS” written all over it.  In fact, in light of the Lemon Law, this was entirely illegal.  For more information on your state’s Lemon Laws, go here.

If the breeder you’re working with doesn’t meet all of these requirements OR if you are a breeder and your customers do not meet these requirements WALK AWAY and…….

I can’t help it….if you can please ADOPT DON”T SHOP.  Contact me with any questions.  I learned the hard way!

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One Comment

  1. Posted May 6, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

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