Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Story of Charlie and Gretzky

When John and I lived in Burbank, Ca we frequented a pet store close to us to keep our fish tanks going. One day, I was greeted by a small corgi puppy that stole my heart. I played with him and eventually talked my husband into buying him. Now, keep in mind, I am a knowledgeable pet owner...I know that you should never buy a puppy from a pet store, but he was too adorable to say no to. Even though we lived in a no pet apartment complex, we bought him and brought him home. He was our baby, our sweet boy. We had no idea where he had came from, or what his breeding was, all we knew was that we had to have him. Charlie lived with us for 12 wonderful years...but, his health and behavior issues would plague us throughout that time. By the time we had to make the decision to put him down, his medical bills cost us at least 12,000 dollars. He was a puppy mill dog from Missouri. A year after we got him, we bought another corgi from the same pet store. He had health issues as well, but his emotional problems far exceeded his physical problems. We lost him at 15 years old. All the time we had these two wonderful dogs, they never suffered loneliness, abandonment or lack of veterinary care, but they almost put us in the poor house.
You can look at this two ways...we gave these two poor dogs a wonderful home and the best care. You can also say that we fed money into the monster of the pet store/puppy mill machine. Yes, we loved them dearly and gave them wonderful lives, but what of their mothers? A Corgi mother that churns out puppies for profit, never seeing the loving home her pups see?
I don't like to preach, but on this subject I must. We now own two wonderful, healthy corgis that I got from respectable, honest breeders and one shepherd mix rescue with a pacemaker that is our pride and joy.
I have to ask that if you are looking for a dog, please do not buy from a pet store...in fact, do not even patronize pet stores that sell puppies and kittens. Shelters put dog and cats to sleep at the rate of 15 to 40 a day. This includes purebreds and puppies. Talk to your local ASPCA or breed rescues if you are looking for a dog. If you do not find the breed you are looking for, find a local breeder where you can meet the parents, see the facility that the dogs are living in and research the bloodline. Most of you will research a car that you will drive for 3 to 5 years, why not do the same for a family pet that will be with you for 10+ years?
Please forgive my soapbox, but I am trying to pass on the knowledge I have gained from my own experience.
I would not give up the years that we shared with Charlie and Gretzky, but I also harbor guilt that we gave money into the puppy mill pocket. Next time you are at a pet store and you see that adorable puppy, know that when you walk away from that purchase, you are not abandoning that dog, but you are saying no to the vicious circle of the puppy mill. If we stop buying the puppies from these dealers, the pet stores will stop buying the puppies from the mills, thus breaking the cycle.
Thank you for letting me vent on this topic, it is near to my heart.

3 comments:

Mike Lyons said...

I feel for you. Your story is so close to my own (see my blog post here: http://better-puppy-buying.lyons-japan.com/2007/02/14/my-own-backyard-bred-puppy-mill-dog/)
The costs of irresponsibility are very far-reaching.

Chrissy said...

It will work eventually if all people go to a dealer. I cannot remember here in the UK the last time I saw a puppy for sale in a pet store! Chrissy

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