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be careful when buying a puppy.

September 20, 2013

Dad, mom, my aunt and I headed out to the outskirts of a small town just over an hour away from where we live. Our goal was to take a look at a miniature poodle puppy. If we liked it, we’d put a deposit on it, and pick it up later. Mom and my aunt are heading to the midwest in a few weeks, and will gone for ten days. We thought it best not to get the dog until after they get back. That’s why, if we liked the dog, we’d put a deposit on it with the breeder, so the breeder would keep it for us.

Poodle breeders are hard to find in the area where I live. It’s quite popular nowadays to breed any of a multitude of poodle mixes, like goldendoodles (half golden retriever, half standard poodle) labradoodles (labrador and poodle) cockapoos (cocker spaniel and poodle). I don’t know why poodle mixes are so popular. I’m guessing many people, like my mom, have allergies and want “hypoallergenic” dogs. The reason I put that word in quotes is that there are no true hypoallergenic dogs.. all dogs have dander. But, there are some dogs, like poodles, which do not shed, and are far better for dog allergy sufferers than shedding dogs.

I am guessing folks who have allergies want lots of options to choose from, and also these mixed breeds look pretty cute. Maybe that’s why poodle mixes are trendy right now. My brother and his family have a goldendoodle.

Here’s the thing about mixed poodle breeds.. some of them shed, even if their sellers say otherwise. My brother’s dog sheds like crazy. People who are looking for dogs that are even remotely hypoallergenic need to be careful about what dogs they choose. Best to stick with a breed that is not a mix, if you are concerned about allergies.

Mom has been thinking about getting a dog.. been thinking about it for quite awhile. There are bishon frieses and coton de tulear breeders near where we live, but their dogs are papered (AKC certified) and are very expensive. Some are over a thousand dollars. Cotons are not as susceptible to health problems as most purebred dogs, and, apart from the price, might be a good choice for us. Bichons have the usual fairly high amount of health problems purebred dogs are susceptible to.

Mom has been looking for poodles, preferably poodles that are not AKC (American Kennel Club.. the people who set the standard on dog breeds in the USA) certified. Non-papered dogs are not necessarily worse, and are generally cheaper.

Mom was happy to find a poodle breeder in the paper some days ago, and that the breeder wasn’t very far away.

We had a pleasant ride. It’s been a warm sunny day. Not too hot. Although I’ve lived in this state for some years, I haven’t seen much of it, and have been in the mood for a road trip. It was good to get away from city traffic for awhile. We drove through agriculture land, with dry hills in the distance. The ride was enjoyable until we got to the house where the dogs were.

It is quite common to drive along country roads and see crumbling houses with torn up yards and old cars and other debris strewn about. This place was like that, but worse. Worse than any place I have seen in my life, and I have driven down a LOT of country roads.  Generally, I feel very anxious about driving. I hate city traffic, and avoid busy highways and freeways. The only driving I like to do is on back roads. When I was living in California, I wandered down many country roads, and saw many country houses.. nice ones, those that were in ok shape, and terrible looking places.. but nothing as bad as this, except for one place I saw years ago in CA.

The home of the dog breeders I saw today.. Beat up old house, an almost falling-down, barn-like car port with some destroyed vehicles, two old and decrepit camper trailers, a massive amount of junk piled up in the breezeway (outdoor hall) of the house.. amazingly shockingly bad.

No one was home. We heard a lot of barking, but didn’t see any dogs. Mom looked through the screen of a window, and saw a dirty, dark room with some dogs in cages in it.

My aunt called the lady selling the dogs, explaining that we were at the house, and no one was home. I had told my aunt we should have called and said that we couldn’t make it out that day. If my aunt had said that, we would have gone home, and the dog seller would not have known we’d been out to her place, where she lived with her husband.

The dog lady had earlier told us she was willing to drive to a halfway point so we could see the dog. Now we know why.

The lady and her husband were not home. She told my aunt she had been trying to call, but had written my aunt’s number down wrong. The dog lady said her kids had been in a car wreck, and that’s why she and her husband were not home. It is a very good thing the dog lady got my aunt’s number wrong. If we’d received the call, we would have just met the people somewhere else, and never seen the house.

Dog lady said she and her husband, after seeing the kids, would be out delivering dogs, and could meet us at a gas station. I am guessing their grown kids were not hurt all that badly, or the lady and her husband would have brought the dogs back home, and gone to be with their kids in a hospital. But, they were waiting for us at a gas station. We got lost once along the way, then found the place.

Surprisingly, the husband was dressed decently, and the lady wore a fancy blouse, had her hair up, and her fingernails obviously had an expensive manicure. The truck they were in was quite nice. This was a shock.

The pickup truck was a dually.. one of those pickups with extra wide beds that have four wheels in the back. There were two dogs in two permanent containers attached to the truck bed. I could not tell what kind those puppies were. There was also a kennel case in the truck bed. The dog carrier was not tied down anywhere. Two dachshunds were in that kennel. The lady had the miniature poodle in the cab, along with two toy poodles.

Some days back, while talking with my mom on the phone, the lady had clearly told mom that she did not breed poodle mixes. While the lady was talking with my mom and my aunt this afternoon at the gas station, I asked the man what kind of dogs were in the back of the truck bed. He said,”those are labradoodles.”

Hmmm….

Also, the lady earlier said she just breeded dogs as a hobby. When my mom asked her about that today, the lady obviously hesitated before saying yes.  Judging by the amount of barking we heard at the house, and the number of dogs the people had with them, this was more than a hobby.

One other odd thing the lady said earlier this week. I had told mom to ask the lady if we could take the puppy to a vet to get it checked before buying. The lady said she was very germ-conscious, and whenever she took animals to the vet, she brought her animals wrapped in blankets from home, so as not to get the dogs sick. She told us she would not allow us to take her puppy into a vet to  get it checked.

After seeing the incredible squalor that this lady lived in, I must say that I don’t think she is especially germ-conscious. For all we know, there might be something seriously wrong with her dogs.

We met these dog sellers in the parking lot of a gas station. They didn’t even let the little poodle walk around on the ground. It would not have been safe to do that at a gas station. Without seeing the dog walk around.. who knows if the dog was healthy or not.

It looked traumatized, but that might be normal. Perhaps it had never been taken somewhere in a little doggie kennel and ridden around in a truck. Hard to say if the dog was healthy or not. But we certainly did not want to take a chance on this dog.

Wow.. ok folks.. let our experience be a lesson to you.

If you are wanting to buy a puppy, if you can possibly do so.. always check out the place where the puppy comes from. I am guessing that since the dog sellers were out delivering dogs, the people who had ordered the dogs never got to see where the dogs came from.

The conditions of where the dogs are bred is important.

Another good reason to check out the place is to see the parents of the puppies, Are the adult dogs in good health? Are they both noticeably of the same breed?

Lastly, going to a breeder’s place gives you the opportunity to see several puppies, and watch them.. see if they are healthy.

We got lucky. That lady messed up the phone number, we ended up at her house, and saw what the place was like. We also caught the lady in at least two lies.

I’m home now. A few hours have passed since we left the house where the dogs were, but I am still somewhat shaken by seeing the place, and comparing that to how the lady and her husband looked.. they looked quite normal.. and the lies the lady told..  wow.

We will still look for a poodle breeder in the area. Mom is going to call a good dog groomer out here. We took my brother’s dog to this woman’s place last year. Mom figures the lady who runs the grooming studio might know if there are any poodle breeders around. If not.. maybe we won’t get a dog. Maybe mom will make the tough decision to spend a lot more money than she wants to on a dog.

Hopefully, we will find a really good poodle breeder, selling reasonably priced dogs.

And.. we will certainly be careful about from who we buy a dog.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2013 7:25 PM

    I have typed out so many comments, but in the end what can I say. Report this person to the ASPCA and don’t look back. Good luck, there are plenty of responsible breeders out there! And rescues 🙂

  2. tomschronicles permalink
    September 20, 2013 9:59 PM

    Yeah..I was thinking of calling the humane society. Maybe the ASPCA would be a better idea. Trouble is, I didn’t see into the building, my mom did. But, I think if an animal inspector goes in there, they’ll see what they need to see. I’ll look for either an ASPCA or humane society chapter in the area where I was. Thanks for your encouragement.

  3. tomschronicles permalink
    September 20, 2013 10:25 PM

    I just sent an email to someone on the contact page of the state Humane Society website.

  4. tomschronicles permalink
    September 24, 2013 9:37 PM

    The Humane Society contact person said there are no Humane Society folks up where we were, and that I should contact the sheriff. I emailed the sheriff. He sent an email back, letting me know he would be dispatching a deputy to the place where the puppies are.

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