There are few things more exciting or fun for one of our Richmond VA area pet sitters than to be assigned a new puppy to take care of. The sitter goes a couple of times each day to let the puppy out, clean out the crate if necessary, feed the pup and spend lots of play time on each visit.
All puppies are cute and adorable, but where did that puppy come from?
Some people consider themselves breeders although all they are really doing is increasing the number of puppies when there are already tons that can and should be adopted from animal shelters and rescues. In that situation, they have a female mixed breed who has never been spayed and she runs loose and the inevitable happens — she becomes pregnant!
Surprise, Surprise!! Now the people have a pregnant dog and chances are, she will give birth to around 6 puppies that the owner will need to find homes for. They have no idea who the father of the puppies is or anything about the size, temperament, etc. of the dad. But these people see themselves as “breeders.” You’ll spot them sitting outside pet stores and other busy shopping centers on Saturday afternoon giving puppies away for free. Will they go to a nice family or will they end up in an animal research facility or become bait at dog fights?
Then you have people who have a dog of a particular breed that they think is the most perfect of dogs. The neighbor down the road also has the same breed and now the owners think it would be great to breed the dogs and have puppies. These are called “backyard breeders” because it is not done professionally with any concern about health or genetics. The mom has a half-dozen or more puppies who now must find homes. What makes this more unfortunate is that there are still many, many young dogs who need desperately need forever homes.
Perhaps the most evil breeders of all are the Puppy Mills which flourish all over the country. They are places of horror where dogs spend their entire lives in a wire cage. They are never allowed to walk on grass, know a human’s touch and are mainly used for breeding. Of course, the idea is to sell the puppies and keep producing with no concern again about health or genetics. Many rescue groups try to save these breeding dogs from the puppy mills.
I have a friend who has a rescue Japanese Chin from a Puppy Mill and the dog spent years walking on the wire cage and her feet are deformed and the poor thing has a terrible time walking on them! Are the people who run Puppy Mills animal lovers? No, they are money lovers!
Professional Breeders Are Different
A professional, reputable breeder is to be sought out if you want to buy a quality dog of a particular breed. These people are dedicated to improving the health and conformation of the breed they are passionate about.
Here is a quote from a breeder in North Carolina whom I think speaks for responsible dog breeders everywhere:
“I am a breeder. I spent a lifetime learning pedigrees, going over dogs, talking and learning from those in my breed and those outside it. I raise each litter as if I gave birth to them and spend an equal amount of time finding them loving forever homes. I only put puppies on the planet that I think will be the healthiest (mentally and physically) and nicest examples of their breed. I support each family who chooses one of my puppies and let them know that they are now a part of our extended family.
I am there if one needs to come back. I support my breed in rescue and education. I hold them when they arrive and leave this world. I share my knowledge and socialize my dogs so that they will be the best advertisement for my dedication. I don’t keep track of the money and time I put in to my love of dogs – it would not be a true measure of how I feel.
The price I charge for my puppies is never profit, but investment in the next generation. I am not ashamed of who I am. I work hard at being a good dog person and encouraging others to be the same. I am a breeder and I am proud of it. If we don’t support each other – we are doomed as a Fancy.”
Breeders many times have pet quality pups who are a little older or a retired show dog that they are willing to sell. Breed rescues are an excellent place to find a pet for your family. Dogs go to rescues for many reasons — the owner dies, the owner goes to assisted living or the owners simply cannot care for their pet any longer.
Just because a dog is in a rescue situation does NOT mean it is a bad dog. It might just be in an unfortunate situation. Rescue organizations also take care of any medical problems with the dogs they rescue and make sure they are healthy for adoption.
People have many choices for finding a dog. Just be careful and pick wisely to have the healthiest and happiest new member of your family!
Carole Tomas is the owner and president of Pet Pleasers, Inc. She is a graduate of Ohio University and a Charter Member of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. When she began Pet Pleasers in 1985, business was conducted Old School via a landline, snail mail and an answering machine the size of a breadbox. No internet, email, text messaging, digital photos, social media or mobile phones! What has remained constant over three decades: Carole’s love of animals and an unwavering passion for professional pet sitting.