It goes without saying seeing as I’ve written three books and hundreds of articles on the life I share with my mine that I love dogs.
I’m like millions of other people for whom it’s a natural wish that we want to share our homes and lives with canine friends. But it can be difficult to know how best to find and buy puppies in today’s busy puppy market. The puppy business is huge and unscrupulous practices are rife, making it a terrible maze to work through, especially for novice puppy buyers.
The simple answer to avoid being duped by those who put profit before care and welfare of their puppies is to adopt from a rescue shelter. They’re full of perfectly healthy, homeless dogs. The vast majority aren’t damaged, nor problematic, they simply lack a home. But, whilst I wholeheartedly advocate adoption, I recognise that not everyone is going to be able, or willing to go down that route. But, more can consider it if we encourage them to do so. Older dogs are often more suited to people’s lives than puppies.
Nevertheless puppy buying will continue. For one thing, people like particular breeds of dogs – I love schnauzers – and whilst there are many perfectly healthy breeds of dogs in rescues, for some people, a puppy is the only option that they’ll take. I’d be a hypocrite if I objected to this, seeing as I’ve bought two puppies and rescued three dogs. Although having immersed myself in campaigning against the industrial nature of today’s puppy business, from now on it’s adoption all the way for me.
But, puppy buying does have a place, alongside rescue and adoption. Finding a puppy from a good, responsible breeder is key. They do exist, it’s a question of finding them amongst the far too numerous irresponsible, money-driven and downright cruel that sadly exist ready to dupe the puppy buying public.
Here Are My Tips for Puppy Buyers:
Never buy a puppy from an online retailer or a pet store.
Puppies sold this way are bred in facilities where profit drives the business. Dogs will typically be crammed into poor conditions, given little or no veterinary care, food, water or kindness. Puppies from these backgrounds are badly socialised and their parents have hellish lives as they never get out of these conditions. Purchasing a puppy online typically supports this cruelty.
Never allow a puppy to be brought or sent to you, or meet anywhere other than the breeders home.
If the puppy’s not in a home, don’t buy. After all, you want your puppy to be living in your home, it should have started life in a similarly kind and loving place. We should also want it to leave its parents enjoying a home environment, not a caged or kenneled life. Modern understanding of dog psychology shows dogs have a need for human love and company; it’s as essential to them as air and water, and dogs kept in breeding facilities that are not home environments are affected badly, as are their puppies.
Good breeders are proud of where and how their puppies are raised.
They’ll want to show you the loving home environment your puppy has started life in. If they don’t, walk away. Take a good critical look around to see if there are kennels or sheds that may be housing other dogs or puppies, these are not signs of a breeder that I would be happy to support. See how the puppies interact with their mother who most definitely should be present. Do not accept excuses for her absence.
Be patient when looking for a puppy.
It is a lifetime commitment you’re making, it should take time to find the right breeder and right puppy. Decent breeders often have waiting lists. Respect this and know that the wait for a good puppy that’s well raised and the parent dogs loved for being themselves, not puppy making machines, is something worth waiting for. If you’re not prepared to be patient, question if the patience that puppies require is something you’re ready for.
Do not be tempted to buy a sick puppy because you feel sorry for it, however tough it is to walk away, this is what you must do, for if you take the puppy and hand over your cash, the misery continues for the parent dogs.
You are creating a sale and the market continues. You create space for another puppy to be bought in and sold. But by walking away this doesn’t mean you’re doing nothing for if you come across this, report it. Always report cruelty, or doubts you have about a breeder. Don’t support their business by thinking you’re saving a puppy.
Janetta Harvey is a writer and commentator on the international puppy breeding industry. She’s author of three books: Saving Susie-Belle and Saving One More for adults and her latest, Saving Maya for young readers. All are based on the lives of her dogs, rescued from large scale breeding facilities. Janetta is a strong advocate for pet adoption, especially seniors and her writing promotes this to all ages.
Janetta lives with her husband Michel, and their three dogs in England and France.
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