If you are old enough, you will remember the days when the milk man delivered the milk, free kittens were found at the local dairy farm, free puppies could be found in a box, on the bulletin board at the market, the local village newspaper or people who bred their dogs once a year for a little extra income. No contracts, inspections, and little money.
You could go to your local pound for a small fee, and take that new best friend home with you that day. People were decent, honest and yes, there was most likely cruelty; you just didn't hear about it until the internet spread it around the world. Times have changed at lighting speed over the last 30 years when I bought my first puppy. She is pictured on the Home page.
There are all new words to merge into your vocabulary such as: forever home, foster home, adoption process, adoption applications, fees and home inspections. Finding and acquiring a new puppy/dog is harder than trying to adopt a baby. It can be frustrating, disappointing, costly and an intrusion on your privacy. You are often made to feel you are not worthy of an animal even though you have one now or had one before.
As owner of five puppies to maturity, two who were sick and left before seven months and one rescue dog over many years; I want to pass along wisdom recently learned the hard way over the last 11 months. My fifth best friend passed on in February after 13 years. Puppy six came from a breeder. The first time I've used this method. She came with a severe UTI and by seven months diagnosed with Sudden Rage Syndrome. She was given to the Great Pyrenees Club of America for observation and euthanasia at seven months old. In return, I received a refund, dishonesty and heartache.
Puppy seven came from what I suspected was a puppy mill. I did not care. I was lonely. I could not go thru anymore frustrating paperwork, dishonesty, annoying people just to end up with nothing. After no return calls, emails or letters, from all the adoption applications, I didn't care where my next puppy came from; I just wanted a new friend. Five weeks later, she was handed over to the Golden Retrievers Club of America CNY Rescue, due to a diagnosis of an Ectopic Ureter and an Inverted Vulva. Her surgery costs plus spaying ran about $4000. I could not financially afford it. The Rescue Club took care of her surgery and eventually she will be up for adoption. I am sure she will find a great new family.
What did I learn? I did not do my research on number six's breeder. With number seven, you get what you pay for. However, I did the moral thing that saved her life.
In a span of nine months I put down or lost, three four footed members of my family. These are not just companion dogs; they are my Therapy Dogs. I did discover thru all this trial how much harder it is to raise a puppy being a single 57 years old with a back disability. It was the longest hardest way around, just to learn that.