I wanted to do a blog about adopting, but I realized it's a lengthy and important subject so I'm going to do it in parts.
Today I am going to talk about the reasons and benefits potential and current dog owners should consider when getting a new dog (or guinea pig, cat, horse, hamster etc). I personally feel very strongly on this subject, so take it as opinion, but one at which I hope people will follow.
The Question Remains - What's the big deal?
A lot of people don't understand what the big deal is about buying from pet stores or back yard breeders. They think what difference can ONE person make? The truth is, one person CAN make a difference, especially when that one person - turns into 5 people - then 20 - then 100 - then 1000 - you see where this is going. The mindset has to be made that it in UNACCEPTABLE to be buying from irresponsible breeders and pet stores. So, what is the big with Pet Stores?
Why Pet Stores are The Root of Animal Evil
- Animal Health - Pet stores do not take their "products" to the vet for health checks. Many of their dogs are from puppy mills or back yard breeders and they do not do genetic testing of the parents. What this means is your new puppy could be harboring a disease or genetic defect (like blindness, deafness, neurological disorders, allergies) that could potentially cause you thousands in vet bills, special care you are not prepared to commit to, causing stress and possibly resulting in you having to re-home your pet. THAT IS THE WORSE THING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO AN ANIMAL. Many animals who need to be "re-homed", end up in garbage bags. Your pet store pet may end up there too, if it is too far gone with illness when you get it home.
I saw a sign at a petstore awhile back, it said the puppy had "one shot already", like that was such a huge deal!!! When you adopt a dog, they are always up to date on shots, worming, many are fixed and even microchipped. more on that later.
- Where did the Puppy come from? - Most petshops get their stock from puppymills, or unreputable breeders. Puppymills are probably one of the most disgusting, heinoues, cruel, and selfish operations out there. I won't go into details, but if you don't know what they are I suggest you check these links; http://www.hsus.org/pets/issues_affecting_our_pets/get_the_facts_on_puppy_mills/, http://www.prisonersofgreed.org/, http://stoppuppymills.org/, http://www.nopuppymills.com/. The other source for dogs for petshops is breeders. The majority of breeders they get their supply from ARE NOT reputable breeders with show dogs. They are back yard breeders, or irresponsible breeders who breed their dogs solely for income and have no concern for their own dogs, the dogs they produce, or the countless dogs left homeless or to be euthanized each year because of their actions.
Buying from Petshops is supporting Puppymills and backyard breeding. They contribute almost wholey to the population of homeless dogs in shelters and rescues worldwide.
- Don't count on Breed Descriptions - So you got your puppy. Wow it's cute, it's a pug/beagel cross, you can picture taking everywhere with you...you are best friends for life. Except that pug cross grew into a Great Dane and you live in a one bedroom basement apartment and work full time. UH-OH.
This happens ALL. THE. TIME. It happened to my sister for christ sakes! I hope she doesn't get mad at me for including her precious Winnie in this blog, but seriously...it's a good example. My sister lost her Jack Russel, so naturally when they were ready to get a new dog they headed to the pet store. There was the cuuuuutest jack russel/shitzhu cross. She was SOOOO CYUUUTE. They bought her, shelled out $600 or some insane number and took her home. OK so I will admit, Winnie is a really good dog. I love her to death...but she IS SOOOO NOT what she was supposed to be! She looks more like the dog from The Never Ending Story, long like a weiner dog, hairy like an Muskox, pink nose and turned out toes like The Grinch. Picture here:
She is a GREAT dog, but is she at all what she was advertised as? You can get EXACTLY what you want, for much cheaper, fully vaccinated, health guarantee, and often spayed/nuetered for about a 5th of that cost!
Don't Count on Breed Knowledge - Whether you know a lot about different breeds, or the type of dog you want (family, active, working, etc), you can not rely on the petshop workers to give you correct information. Most people working there are doing it because it's a job, and maybe they enjoy animals. They are not knowledgeable about breeds and temperments. If you don't know what kind of dog would be good for you then you are really screwed. Hell if they cant even figure out what breed the dog is how the hell are they going to tell you what that breed is good for? *Bangs head against wall*
- Temperment and Training Problems - Puppies from pet stores have not had a proper introduction to life. They are hardly handled and sleep in cages or behind class in boxed windows. They are forced to poop where they sleep, and eat. Many of them have never been outside. This can make housetraining a pet store puppy extremely difficult. Good breeders start training their puppies at an early age to use paper or go outside, walk on a leash, socialize and sit still for grooming. Breeders will also breed for temperment, puppymills just pump out whatever they can, as fast as they can to make a dollar. This is what you are getting at the petshop.
- Cost - Petstores make me sick. I saw a chihuahua/daschund mix last week advertised for $950.00. For the thousand dollars after tax what exactly are you getting? A mutt, with no registry, no training, no health guarantee (well, if it gets sick you can take it back and they will re-sell is or euth it), no knowledge of their parents, or genetic problems it may have in the future. Chihuahua's have known eye problems, and daschunds have known leg problems. Do you think the pet store part-time worker went over this sort of thing? Do you think the buyers had ANY clue of what their financial costs might be? Is there a good chance for $1000 they are getting a puppymill pooch who will end up at the local humane society? YES.... and there someone will buy THAT SAME DOG, for 1/10th of the cost, have it health checked, fixed, microchipped, given a full report of the dogs personality, temperment, health report, and the option of returning it if it doesn't work out. That dog, is now going to an approved home, where it is much more likely to stay for life.
I have an example of this, but the dog wasn't from a pet store, but a breeder. This is my old dog Zoe, who I lost this summer. I got her from the Quinte Humane Society 5 years ago. She was the most amazing dog, and truely a best friend. Her original owners paid over $1000 for her, but due to divorce had to give her up (or I was told that). She was registered with papers, and completely trained. I adopted her, it didn't cost much and she was healthy and honestly the perfect dog. Her picture here:
Some Closing Thoughts
Really, I'm just sick of all the unwanted animals out there who get shuffled from home to home, to shelter, etc. Dogs are extremely loyal and loving, they DO NOT understand WHY these things happen to them, they only know they do. They are aware how much their life sucks, trust me. They are not the stupid animals people make them out to be. Although less and less pet stores are selling dogs, they are still selling small animals by the bucket load and I disagree with it the same way I disagree with selling dogs. The only thing worse than petstores who sell these animals are the breeders who are supplying them. I will talk about back yard breeders in my next installment, and why I think they are the devil incarnate.
I want to ensure everyone I LOVE pet stores that sell great merchandise and food, just please, stay away from any pet stores which sell live animals. I will disown anyone who purchases animals from one of these stores, so friends...you have been warned!!! :)
10 Reasons NOT to Buy From Pet Shops : http://hattrick-dals.home.att.net/10Reasons.html