Dog News

How Much is That Labbie In the Window?

by Leslie Fisher

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Priceless! To me anyways. Bridget actually hailed from a breeder in South Carolina, donated to K9 Partners For Life, intended to live her life as a service dog. Due to illness, she was released from that program, works as my right hand dog and is worth her weight in gold.

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Recently Bridget also completed Certified Therapy Dog training. Priceless.

Puppies literally purchased from store windows can be priceless, but not in a good way. I often experience first hand owner “tails” of woe. Certainly one should not generalize that every pet store puppy originates in a puppy mill. However many are; the connection is undeniable. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary recognizes pet stores that have begun adoption initiatives as opposed to sale of puppies.

Pet store puppies often astronomically exceed their original cost. Some thoughts to ponder from my perspective and experience:

  • These puppies usually come with poor guarantees of health and little recourse should they become ill.
  •  Poor breeding means genetically flawed puppies and a host of inherited disorders. Just off the top of my head, let`s say hip dysplasia in Labrador Retrievers and cherry eye in English Bulldogs. Both conditions often necessitate costly surgery.
  • Mill puppies are often host to worms upon arrival in your home, via the nursing bitch, poorly cared for as a breeding machine.
  •  Severe worm infestation (I know icky) brings diarrhea, dehydration and necessary Veterinary intervention.
  • Puppies with worms are poorly nourished, often immuno-deficient and easy prey for the killer virus of puppies, Parvo.

Yes, all the above adds up to beau-coup bucks. How about other non-financial costs?  How about stress? People can and do end up with puppies they did not sign up for.  I frequently observe this during behavior consults. Imagine the stress when your new pal:

  • Hides under the bed and will not come out, only to eat.
  • Willingly uses teeth when strange humans (you) attempt basic handling.
  • Acts like he has never even seen another human being.
  • In fact acts like he has never seen anything in a house.
  • Is scared to death of the other family dogs.
  • Freezes and cowers outdoors, making you appear to be an abuser of puppies.
  • Must be retrieved from under the bed to go outside and will not walk on leash, in fact you have to drag him, even though you hate to do it but you just don`t know what else to do.
  • Is so far from the blissful vision of puppy hood you had imagined, you wonder what happened.

And what about the unrelenting daily stress of trying to cope with what is so outside your realm of experience, you really just want to run away? Or for somebody to make it all better. For somebody to realize you did not sign up for all this. This is where the dog trainers come in. Lots of folks get puppy training; however these pups need above and beyond basic training. These pups are projects. Back to beau-coup bucks.

  • Dog trainers need to be consulted for extensive rehab.
  • The first three did not help at all, in fact made things worse.
  • The next one offered hope but recommended a Veterinary Behaviorist to short term medicate for debilitating fear.

Have you been there done that? Suppose you are considering a Christmas puppy? Oh the vision of the cute puppy gamboling about the house over the holiday season. Is this you? Run away, quickly, from the doggy in the window. Consider adopt don`t shop. True, rescued dogs can come with baggage, but many many dogs are in shelters these days relinquished by owners who can no longer afford them. Your heart is set on a certain breed? There are all manner of breed rescues. Still want that purebred puppy? Do your due diligence and find a responsible breeder; only then purchase that puppy.

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Window to Labbie World

In my opinion, busy holidays and homes teeming with activity are not the best times for a new puppy; that could be another article entirely. Do be aware that in this age of technology anyone can put up a fancy storefront on the internet, with puppies that appear to be living in paradise. Never ever buy sight unseen over the internet and have a puppy shipped in by plane. Having provided the previous link, enough said! But please please please do your research.

How much is that doggy in the window? Often far more and at greater financial and emotional cost than one could imagine. Sometimes, from my perspective, a little humor can be an effective way to spread the anti-puppy mill word in this great video featuring Dexter! And with that I bid you farewell until next week,

Leslie Fisher and the labbies Talley, Bridget, Certified Therapy Dog and Doobie

“your pet positively trained” Rainwood Kennels Elkton MD, close to Bear, Newark and Middletown DE