So You Want To Buy A Puppy?
I'm always a little shocked when I hear someone say that they don't like dogs or any animal for that matter.
It makes me wonder if they lack the ability to care and tend for things other than human.
Why am I writing this, I hear you ask? It's just that lately in my capacity as a trainer and as a store owner I have met a few people who are about to purchase puppies for the wrong reason.
WHY? "We're getting it for the kids.
" Further questioning has found that at least one of the parents, if not both, doesn't really like dogs or the idea of owning one.
"It'll be the kids responsibility to look after it.
" HOW? The children in question are usually under the age of eleven.
Would you leave your 11 year old in charge of your 2 year old? Of their feeding, potty training, washing, health and well being, warmth and comfort, education? I don't think so, but this is what they are essentially asking of their kids.
To be in charge of the welfare of an animal which is as sensitive, impressionable, vulnerable and complicated as a young child.
And what happens when this grand plan doesn't go quite as predicted? You usually end up in an unhappy situation with an out of control dog, miserable adults, screaming kids and a trip to the dog pound.
The figures surrounding the euthanasia of our unwanted pets in Australia are staggering, over 40,000 a year in NSW alone.
We should be ashamed.
And these numbers are growing.
Which brings me to my next bone of contention.
How do people get roped into appeasing their tearful child by buying them a warm and fuzzy puppy to cuddle? I blame it on the growing proliferation of pet shops, most noticeably in shopping centres.
Doe eyed puppies placed strategically in storefront windows, conveniently at the eye level of your average young child.
Doesn't this just tear at the heartstrings.
I myself can't resist looking at the gorgeous little things, until I get up close and become enraged at the sight of living animals in display boxes, being picked and chosen like any other disposable commodity.
And where do these pet shops find their never-ending supply of puppy flesh? Breeders don't sell to them; no reputable breeder could keep up with the demand.
The unfortunate result of this upsurge in the lucrative pet shop puppy business is the growth of the backyard breeder and 'puppy farm' industry.
Unregulated and unconscionable.
Give Pets A Chance has more information about this terrible trade.
So you want to buy a puppy? I personally can't think of a more wonderful thing to do than to bring a dog into your home and have it play an integral part of your life and your families.
But that's just me.
Please, always carefully consider why you are planning on doing this, how much time you have to give, do you have the proper environment for a young puppy (and remember they sometimes grow up into big dogs), who is going to be the main caregiver, and, is this a reasonable request to make of them? If a dog is not for you then please, for goodness sake, don't get one.
It's their life at stake not yours.
Click here for some basic information on bringing home a puppy.