When we were contemplating dog ownership, I did some research on the Internet and learnt new terms such as “puppy mill”, “backyard breeders”, “animal rescue” etc, which eventually set us on the route of dog adoption, rather than buying a puppy of a known breed from a pet shop.
One of the dogs on the Internet which made a lasting impression on me was Rosie. When I showed Mr P Rosie’s picture, he wasn’t sure what it was I was showing him.
Rosie is a poor little chihuahua born from a backyard breeder with severe congenital deformities of the face, jaw, spine and legs. Despite her deformities, she managed to survive by crawling across urine soaked floors of the backyard breeder’s home through years of feces to eat what bits of food the other dogs being hoarded left behind. More about Rosie’s story here.
Rosie’s story is a very visual reminder why not to buy from any ol’ breeder but to ask questions, do our research and make sure we do buy a dog from a reputable breeder.
But reputable is not enough.
Originally broadcasted in 2008, the video below – Pedigree Dogs Exposed – dug into how breeding practices of some reputable breeders in the UK is destroying pedigree dog breeds through inbreeding and of dogs not scanned for pre-existing conditions. The investigative documentary focused particularly on winning showdogs, their health and their detrimental impact on the breed’s health when used as studs to breed puppies close to the breed standard in form. You may not want to watch this, if you cannot stomach images of dogs in pain or discomfort.
So yes, reputable is not enough. If we were seeking a pure bred dog, we should love your future pet and protect its health right now by making the effort to identify a socially responsible breeder that makes good health and diversity a criteria in his operations.
In the end, we decided that rather than buy, we should adopt. We know our limitations and were not looking to be all good Samaritan and adopt the first troubled shelter pup with all sorts of health conditions. But one more shelter dog adopted I guess would open up one more space for another rescue in the shelter, as long as there was an adoptable dog that fitted our criteria, there’s no reason to buy one. I’d rather save up that money to spend on better food and other stuff like heartworm preventatives and medical care for my adopted dog, especially if we had ended up adopting a breed that can be expected to have congenital conditions as it age.