Imagine you went to a restaurant.
It wasn’t very good.
The food tasted bad. In fact, you got sick afterward, and had to spend a lot of money to get well again. Would you go back?
Of course you wouldn’t. Why would you?! You didn’t even enjoy the food. AND YOU GOT SICK!
You explain to me the reason you continue to go back, get sick, and pay money to get well: you really like the people who own the restaurant. You are afraid that if you don’t keep going back and ordering food, they’ll go out of business. And they’re really nice people (who just happen to serve really awful — and dangerous — food).
You’re supporting — even encouraging — the restaurant owners to produce something unseemly and dangerous.
Does that make any sense whatsoever? No. Absolutely not. That’s crazy-talk.
Yet people buy puppies from pet stores (puppy mills) every single day. Every day. Buying a puppy from a pet store does the same thing I just described in the beginning — it supports something that is really, really bad.
I just had a client with a 5-month old large breed dog who has pretty bad fear issues. In the entire hour I was there, tossing delicious-smelling chicken, the dog was ready to bolt at any movement or eye contact from me. She was never brave enough to approach me to take chicken from my hand. Most puppies are all over me and I need their owners to put them on a leash to avoid being licked to death.
I’m going to make money whether I work with puppy mill puppies, responsibly bred puppies, or rescue dogs. The money doesn’t change. It spends the same.
To me, though, I would be thrilled if there wasn’t any money to be made in puppy mill puppies because they all went out of business. I’d rather make my living helping owners teach their healthy puppy all kinds of fun behaviors and cool tricks. I’d much rather solve a leash-pulling problem. Or help the owner teach the puppy to love his crate.
But to earn money fixing an issue that an irresponsible breeder created, an issue that impacts the dog’s quality of life? That makes me mad. And sad.
Because that irresponsible breeder from the puppy mill has demand for his puppies. Feeling sorry for the dog doesn’t change anything. Buying a puppy from a pet store guarantees that another puppy will take the place of that sold puppy. It’s like giving a drug addict his drug of choice because you can’t stand to watch him go through withdrawals. That’s enabling an addict. It may make you feel better to see him happy, but the real bottom line is that the addiction isn’t getting better because the addict is enabled. There’s no getting better from that point — it all goes downhill from there.
If you want to help those pet store dogs, donate money to breed rescue. Adopt a dog from breed rescue. But, for the love of Pete, do not buy from a pet store.
Here are three reasons that pet store puppy shouldn’t come home with you:
- Financial. The puppy millers (the reason that puppy is in the window to start with) stay in business. In fact, their business is profitable. Only because people continue to buy from pet stores.
- Ethical. The conditions in which those puppy mill dogs are bred, born, and live are despicable. Puppy millers don’t breed dogs because they love them. They breed dogs to make money. They don’t care about the health or temperament of their dogs. (Which, in the end, will cost you money. Usually LOTS of it. And even more important, your dog’s quality of life will be compromised.)
- Practical. The good breeders, the rescues, the shelters all lose when a puppy is bought from a pet store.
If saving a dog is the objective, a lot more good can be done by adopting a dog from a local shelter or rescue. A dog’s life will be saved, and hopefully a puppy miller will be put out of business.
WE have the power to stop puppy mills and pet stores.
It takes everyone. It takes commitment to adoption. The lives of so many dogs are impacted and ruined by puppy millers. Let’s begin to put them out of business one by one by one…