Sunday, December 15, 2013

That Doggie in the Window

   We’ve all walked by the pet stores and seen the adorable puppies and kittens frolicking in the big front window display.  I’m sure back in 1953 when Patti Page sang, “How Much is that Doggie in the Window,” people didn’t give much thought to where the store received “the one with the waggy tail.”  As the saying goes, the times they are a-changing…
   The availability of pups from pet stores has diminished in the past few years.  However, there are still too many in the business of offering designer dogs for ridiculously high prices.  As long as there is a demand, there will be stores selling them and puppy mills breeding them.  What’s wrong with that, you ask?  Let me explain…
   Puppy mills are large-scale breeding operations where the puppies are considered products for profit.  Most puppies are kept in over-crowded, unsanitary conditions with little or no socialization.  Most of the cute little puppies in those pet stores have never played outside, been to the vet, or handled with care.  They are kept in wire cages with little food or water, taken from their mothers at 6 weeks of age, then hauled in an 18-wheeler truck by a pet broker to various pet stores.  Once the puppies get to the store, if they are lucky, a vet gives them a quick check-up before they are made presentable, and then put out on display.
   Meanwhile, back at the puppy mill the female dogs are bred again as soon as possible.  When the time comes that they are no longer able to reproduce, they are often abandoned, shot, or starved.
   I know this is not a happy story, but it is an important one.  What can you do to help?  First, NEVER buy a puppy or kitten from a pet store and NEVER buy your pet from a website or ad.  No reputable, responsible breeder will sell a pet to someone without meeting the potential buyer first.  If you go visit a home that is advertising puppies for sale and discover they have a variety of breeds for sale, be VERY LEERY!  Better yet, leave.  Most breeders specialize in a particular breed and have a wealth of knowledge on their dog of choice. 
   Christmas season is a huge time in the pet industry, not only for the sale of new pets but for gifts and stocking stuffers for our furry friends.  Remember, a new puppy or kitten is not a toy to play with until you get bored.  They are a responsibility for the life of that animal.  Make certain before you put one under the tree, that you are ready for that type of commitment.  Never give a pet as a surprise present for someone.  This video from the ASPCA is not graphic, but it does make a point.
  There is another way you can help in the fight against puppy mills.  Please join with me in signing the pledge to “Not Shop Until They Stop.”  It is a pledge sponsored by the ASPCA stating you refuse to buy anything from a store that sells puppies or kittens.  To sign, follow the link on the video or just click on the badge at the upper left sidebar of this page.  Thank you!
   If you are looking for a pet, why not consider adopting?  Your local shelter has many wonderful friends just waiting for a loving home.