Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Great Puppy Hunt

 

shutterstock_336435884Everywhere you look there are ads telling you that you must adopt a rescue pet or Sarah McLaughlin will come kill you in your sleep. Lord knows how many calls to suicide hotlines that woman has caused. If it isn’t an animal “charity” telling you that you need to adopt, it’s a celebrity (with a designer dog in their purse) or worse yet, those who have already “rescued” a dog.

There is a reason these people are compared to CrossFit fanatics.

We’ve been searching for the right puppy for nearly a year, so it’s not like we’re making a rash decision. This search has opened my eyes to all that can be involved with just the simple wish of wanting to add a dog to our family. I’ve taken so much grief from friends, family, and listeners over my somewhat “controversial” position of getting the dog I want.

Throughout this, I took heat that I’m certain will continue, however I have my reasons. I decided to share some of them with you.

Just this week I had considered going through the excruciating process of “adopting” a dog from one group. It was nearly $400 for this particular mixed-breed rescue, then deposits, paperwork, background checks, and even a home visit before they would even tell us if we’re “good enough” for these dogs — the ones who desperately need homes. Not all rescue operations are scams, but unfortunately many are. They take advantage of our love of animals and desire to help.

Point is, I’m a huge animal lover, I’ve had animals my entire life. Cats, dogs, fish, bunnies, even horses. None of them died due to my lack of care. So why is it when I follow the instructions given to “adopt, don’t shop,” I find many rescues charge more than the “puppy mills” they claim to detest?

Having said that … I’m buying a dog. Make that a puppy. Yeah, I said it. I’m researching and finding the best breed for my needs, as it will be My Dog. One problem I have with all the guilt associated with wanting a puppy, is the idea that somehow I should feel obligated to make up for others’ bad decisions.

I want a normal dog without baggage. Is that so wrong?

I realize that fact living in an area where the “pound puppies” are actually just old fighting or companion dogs. This is not the dogs’ fault, of course, but it’s not mine either. Our pounds are like “Oz” for dogs.

If you’ve adopted a fantastic dog, good for you. I’m buying a puppy because I have other animals and needs. Please don’t judge me and I won’t compare you to CrossFitters. Deal?

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  1. Retail Lawyer Member

    $400 is too much. You are fine with me, really, and I rescued my dog, and even volunteered with the rescue organization for awhile. It seems even the volunteers buy their dogs from breeders, in many cases. The rescue organization was German Shepherd Rescue of No. California, and they are a wonderful group, and would never ever go all Sara McLaughlin on you. They just make sure you know what you are getting into.

    • #1
    • May 11, 2016, at 3:14 PM PDT
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  2. Basil Fawlty Coolidge
    Basil Fawlty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Which ones taste better?

    • #2
    • May 11, 2016, at 3:15 PM PDT
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  3. H. Noggin Inactive

    I agree with you about the ridiculous scrutiny that goes with adopting an unwanted/homeless dog these days. I drew the line at a home “inspection”. However, city pounds aren’t so silly, and my pets were all found there. Good luck with your purebred!

    • #3
    • May 11, 2016, at 3:28 PM PDT
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  4. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Golden or Black Lab.

    I love how we can be purely racist when it comes to dogs…

    • #4
    • May 11, 2016, at 3:38 PM PDT
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  5. thelonious Member

    Basil Fawlty:Which ones taste better?

    Never go farm raised. Eat the ones raised in the wild.

    • #5
    • May 11, 2016, at 3:48 PM PDT
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  6. Basil Fawlty Coolidge
    Basil Fawlty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    thelonious:

    Basil Fawlty:Which ones taste better?

    Never go farm raised. Eat the ones raised in the wild.

    Just like salmon. That’s what I thought.

    • #6
    • May 11, 2016, at 3:58 PM PDT
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  7. Mark Wilson Member
    Mark Wilson Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Mickey White: This is not the dogs’ fault, of course, but it’s not mine either.

    See, there’s where you go wrong. All problems are your problem in the progressive worldview.

    • #7
    • May 11, 2016, at 4:06 PM PDT
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  8. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Black markets are best. Forget the pet store. Forget the breeders. Odds are, some neighbor has puppies and will throw one at you for free.

    Rescue a mom instead.

    • #8
    • May 11, 2016, at 4:11 PM PDT
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  9. John Davey Member
    John Davey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Our first Labrador we found locally back in 1988. He made it to 11 years old (stupid cancer!). We were married in 1986, and as dumb as it sounds to say it, he was like our kid. He was obedient, and full of character. Hard to get over, so I refused to get another dog.

    We had our first daughter in 2001. The second in 2004 – and by 2007 all the ladies in the house were campaigning for a dog. We went through a Northern California Labrador Rescue, and ended up with two year old Cody. He was just the right amount of play and vigor for our then 6 year old, and the perfect dog for our then 3 year old. He still babies her to this day. A lot of grey in that muzzle, and on those paws. Not to jinx it, but he’s been a pretty darn good dog – except for his wanderlust. He loves to explore.

    • #9
    • May 11, 2016, at 4:22 PM PDT
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  10. Randy Webster Member

    thelonious:

    Basil Fawlty:Which ones taste better?

    Never go farm raised. Eat the ones raised in the wild.

    Free range dogs?

    • #10
    • May 11, 2016, at 4:32 PM PDT
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  11. Douglas Inactive

    We wanted a little dog for inside the house that didn’t shed much. Step One, research breeds (“Ah ha! Poodles!”). Step Two, find dog breeder. Step Three, buy Poodle.

    We are blessedly free of that Cult of the Rescue Pet crap down here in the land of cotton.

    • #11
    • May 11, 2016, at 4:38 PM PDT
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  12. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    You’re good with me. Always had purebred dogs since we were married. Our first dog was a puppy mill Samoyed. Oof, if you’re going to have a dog with an improper coat, a Samoyed is exactly the wrong breed to buy!

    We decided to do it right the next time, so I contacted the Samoyed breeders association here in Colorado. We stumbled into the dog show world by getting lucky with a puppy the breeder thought she was selling as a pet — until she got a look at his gait a few months later. She did all the primping and showing and had his championship in hand at nine months. He really was magnificent.

    If you go this route, know that breeders like to share ownership with you, which can save you about half the price. And it’s kind of a kick if you end up with a really stellar show dog whose also your pet.

    We ended up with a second “rescue” from that breeder, who is the most conscientious person I’ve ever known in any endeavor, ever.

    Since then, we bought a (PW) corgi (now 8), and a couple years ago a border terrier (notice a size trend?). The border terrier is by far my favorite breed for many reasons, but they’re hard to come by.

    I have no guilt about getting the dogs I want from reputable breeders and neither should you. It’s a (dog’s) lifetime commitment.

    • #12
    • May 11, 2016, at 5:02 PM PDT
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  13. Nerina Bellinger Member

    So, our first family dog (wasn’t supposed to be mine – you know the story) was bought from some Mennonites. Well, when you tell that story in my part of NY, you get some pretty horrified looks. You see, Mennonites are infamous for running puppy mills – a fact of which I was completely unaware. Anyway, it was a puggle and she quickly became my 6th child and I adored her. She was, in the words of Eloise (from the NYC Hotel fame), my “mostly companion.” Long story, short, she because unexpectedly and severely ill (auto-immune hemolytic anemia) and I had to put her down when she was 3. To say it was devastating is saying far too little. I felt like I couldn’t breath and I lost alot of weight and I just cried and cried for weeks.

    In my grief, I resolved to try and fill that dog-shaped hole in my heart with a “rescue.” So, we ended up with “Rosie” – a boxer mix. I’d like to say it’s been all roses and sunshine, but that wouldn’t be the truth. I’m glad we have her, and she did provide a distraction during my grief, but “rescues” can have serious issues and you can’t really know the history of the dog. For some people it works great, but for others it can be a disaster so I don’t blame anyone for wanting a puppy. Good Luck with your search!

    • #13
    • May 11, 2016, at 5:47 PM PDT
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  14. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    We had a family from Vietnam in our neighborhood when I was growing up that had to be put on the do not adopt to list. For some reason their dogs kept “running away.”

    • #14
    • May 11, 2016, at 5:51 PM PDT
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  15. PHCheese Member

    I have had 17 dogs. The best one I ever had was found in the classified section of the news paper. They wanted to recover the cost of his shots $35 otherwise he was free. He was a black lab / collie. His ears stood up. He owned me for 14 years. I miss him everyday. He once saved my life. He always rode in the backseat with his paws on the center console. We were driving late one night and I fell asleep at the wheel. The next thing I knew he was on my lap and would not get off until I found a motel room. Try Craigs List in your area.

    • #15
    • May 11, 2016, at 6:01 PM PDT
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  16. Tim Wright Inactive

    I’m on the board of our local Spca. There’s a reason we check people who want to adopt. As one long time board member told me: “I started out a bleeding heart liberal. After ten years of dealing with human slime that slithers through our front door, not so bleeding heart anymore.”

    Then there’s the problem of getting all the AKC pure bred dogs that our lovely local breeders foist on the public, with no thought of whether it’s an appropriate situation. Yeah, and when the pure bred breeding moms are burnt out, they bring them to us to “surrender for a better home.”

    When you see how cats and dogs get treated, and casually discarded, you become a pain in the ass, and don’t much care what the reaction is.

    tim

    • #16
    • May 11, 2016, at 6:14 PM PDT
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  17. Front Seat Cat Member

    A dog without baggage? The best ones are found at your local animal shelter – just go and see who you connect with and be done with it. That’s how I adopted my cats. In fact, my latest one I found on our local animal control website – I was looking for my cat that went missing. When I saw her, I picked up the phone and said I’ll take her. That was 9 years ago. Sometimes we make things too complicated – not saying you – but try it and see if a pup captures your attention.

    • #17
    • May 11, 2016, at 6:42 PM PDT
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  18. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Tim Wright: Then there’s the problem of getting all the AKC pure bred dogs that our lovely local breeders foist on the public, with no thought of whether it’s an appropriate situation. Yeah, and when the pure bred breeding moms are burnt out, they bring them to us to “surrender for a better home.”

    This is why it’s so important to go to a reputable breeder. It’s night and day. The breed associations are a great resource, as they’re “in the know” and are working hard to maintain a good reputation for their breed/breeders.

    Our Sammy breeder groomed our dog every quarter for the first two years of his life (and taught me how to do it properly), and paid half his (substantial) medical expenses when he got older and had problems. She’s also a judge for AKC events and is “known” throughout the dog show world for her honesty and excellence. Just an impressive person all around.

    She even did research on breeds (asking her compatriots at the shows) when we needed something very specific due to my daughter’s medical challenges. She found our border terrier for us and recommended the breeder for our PWC.

    If you’re going purebred, I cannot emphasize enough the benefit of getting inside the breed association/show world. These are people motivated to “do right” by you and their dogs. It’s worth the leg work. And the shows are fun!

    • #18
    • May 11, 2016, at 6:44 PM PDT
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  19. philo Member

    Mickey White: …with all the guilt associated with wanting … should feel obligated to …

    Made me think of this: Short Story: The Last Rescue Dog by Jon Katz.

    • #19
    • May 11, 2016, at 6:54 PM PDT
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  20. Acook Member

    I’ve been a cat person all my life, but when our daughter was 9, (circa 1988) she started begging for a puppy. Feeling guilty for not giving her a sibling, I fell for the puppy. We researched breeds and decided on a sheltie, but before we could get one, we drove by a neighborhood sign advertising AKC springer spaniel pups. Stopping to look at those sealed the deal, and a few weeks later we brought one home. We had Riley for 14 years, what a great dog, and in that time, accumulated so many springer spaniel trinkets, that we couldn’t change breeds. Next we rescued a pair that turned out to be springer spaniel/border collie mixes, about 5 years old. Mocha and Java. We imagined the others in the litter were Latte and Carmelmacciatto. They were wild dogs. Had we not lived near a 75 acre off leash area with a river and ponds I don’t think we could have kept them. But god how I miss them. Dogless now, we feed the birds. Still have cats. Daughter grown and gone, has 4 cats with hubby.

    • #20
    • May 11, 2016, at 7:00 PM PDT
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  21. Casey Inactive

    iWe:Golden or Black Lab.

    I love how we can be purely racist when it comes to dogs…

    Black and Gold dog! Genius!

    #HereWeGoSteelers

    • #21
    • May 11, 2016, at 7:05 PM PDT
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  22. Paul Erickson Member

    Retail Lawyer:$400 is too much. You are fine with me, really, and I rescued my dog, and even volunteered with the rescue organization for awhile. It seems even the volunteers buy their dogs from breeders, in many cases. The rescue organization was German Shepherd Rescue of No. California, and they are a wonderful group, and would never ever go all Sara McLaughlin on you. They just make sure you know what you are getting into.

    I think it depends on what the fee covers. We adopted a terrier mix last year (yes, she is “wired” and loves to dig.) Fee was $350, but when you consider she came to us spayed, with all shots, after being boarded for 2 months and driven from Kentucky to NJ, I thought it was completely reasonable.

    • #22
    • May 11, 2016, at 7:31 PM PDT
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  23. Profile Photo Member

    What, no adorable pictures? Let me start with Pepper, our (mostly) border collie rescue from Arkansas to Maine…

    ContactPhoto-IMG_20130929_220522 copy

    …with a delightful personality to match her good looks. We had extensive contact with the rescue shelter before making our final decision. They even made us a video showing her interacting with other dogs as well as people of all sizes.

    • #23
    • May 11, 2016, at 7:48 PM PDT
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  24. LC Member
    LC Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Job-locked Poet:What, no adorable pictures? Let me start with Pepper, our (mostly) border collie rescue from Arkansas to Maine…

    ContactPhoto-IMG_20130929_220522 copy

    …with a delightful personality to match her good looks. We had extensive contact with the rescue shelter before making our final decision. They even made us a video showing her interacting with other dogs as well as people of all sizes.

    Yes, pictures. I want pictures when the topic is dogs.

    • #24
    • May 11, 2016, at 8:02 PM PDT
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  25. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Okay, pictures. This is not our Samoyed, but he looked a lot like this:

    samoyed

    And these are our current Anglophile pups, Honey and Pepper:

    Honey Pepper Pumpkins

    • #25
    • May 11, 2016, at 8:38 PM PDT
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  26. Trinity Waters Inactive

    Basil Fawlty:

    thelonious:

    Basil Fawlty:Which ones taste better?

    Never go farm raised. Eat the ones raised in the wild.

    Just like salmon. That’s what I thought.

    You two are disgusting.

    • #26
    • May 11, 2016, at 8:45 PM PDT
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  27. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Meanwhile, in Louisiana…

    • #27
    • May 11, 2016, at 10:10 PM PDT
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  28. wilber forge Member
    wilber forge Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Tom Riehl:

    Basil Fawlty:

    thelonious:

    Basil Fawlty:Which ones taste better?

    Never go farm raised. Eat the ones raised in the wild.

    Just like salmon. That’s what I thought.

    You two are disgusting.

    Try to eat one of my dogs and there is room in the freezer for you. They love bones –

    • #28
    • May 11, 2016, at 10:15 PM PDT
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  29. barbara lydick Coolidge

    Douglas:We wanted a little dog for inside the house that didn’t shed much. Step One, research breeds (“Ah ha! Poodles!”). Step Two, find dog breeder. Step Three, buy Poodle.

    We are blessedly free of that Cult of the Rescue Pet crap down here in the land of cotton.

    Check the pic to the side of this comment. He was the best pup -ever! Made it to 14 1/2 years, which is very good for a standard. Was well loved in the neighborhood, owing to the number of sympathy cards from the neighbors. His vet wrote on the card from the office: “He was a handsome and noble gentleman.” She also made a contribution to the local shelter in his name. Best dog ever (and so easy to train…) I miss his terribly.

    • #29
    • May 11, 2016, at 10:56 PM PDT
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  30. I Walton Member

    Wanted to match our Pyrenees German shepherd mix that died in part of broken heart when our Australian shepherd black lab mix died of old age, but got fed up, told them I was looking to buy a dog not adopt a human child. They were both rescue dogs, cost the price of shots and were the greatest dogs we’d ever had.

    • #30
    • May 12, 2016, at 2:54 AM PDT
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