By Lynn –
May as well admit to what I’m into now that I have moved.
I work at a pet store selling puppies.
Mostly small breeds and mixes, the majority bred by the owners of the store herself, and the rest coming from breeders that have passed inspections and been approved.
While I do have a little bit of shame admitting to this, it’s really a well-run operation and it’s definitely not your local Petland. Without going into details, basically the deal is that if someone’s looking at a puppy, we make sure they know what they’re getting into. If they aren’t sent out the door without the pup, then they are told time and again to make sure this is what they want, because this dog will be with them for 12-15 years or even more. If they are sent out without a puppy, it is to take some time to discuss things over, and more often than not they will come back for the particular puppy they have picked out. And sometimes the puppy they have came for isn’t even the one they choose: they tell us the criteria they are looking for, and because we know the temperaments and characteristics of each individual puppy, we are able to match them up with one that would work the best for them and they enjoy being around.
If someone is looking for an adult dog or a particular breed we don’t carry, I always mention rescues or the shelter. Granted, in my area, the probability of a variety of foster homes is most likely lacking, but it can help people get an idea of what they want.
While it isn’t in the contract that the owners HAVE to spay/neuter a puppy, I wish it was. But even with that, in this part of the country, money is short enough so that while enough change can be scraped together for the cable bill or heroin dose, somehow there isn’t enough to fix the dog. That, plus the “eye for a good dog” is legally blind up here, as anecdotal evidence states that a majority of people think their dog is “good breeding quality.” It’s even a higher quality if it’s a bully and it has muscle, whether for weight-pulling or for biting people. Or really, anything with four legs and a uterus or a hanging pair is quality.
I have to apologize, America: my location ain’t really doing the best job in putting the most lovely face on the pit bull breed. If my city ever tried to put a ban on “vicious” breeds, there would be such an uprising that war would break out. Because here in redneck country, we don’t just got the pit bulls, we got the guns. And the trucks, because someone’s always hauling something, whether it is said pit bulls, other huntin’ dawgs, or a trailer full of cattle on the way to the butcher. (I’ve actually followed such a caravan, and I now frequent said butcher because now I know where the meat comes from!) Either way, “All your rednecks [or at least a good portion of them] are belong to us.”
And holy wow, the cats! People can’t GIVE away cats! Please, just trust me here and get your freakin’ cat fixed!
So getting back to my new job, I’ve sold a few puppies to families who were either a) dead set on a particular puppy, or b) looking for something that would be a good match for them.
And I figure I can go over these silver linings on the puppy store cloud:
-It is illegal in my state to sell a puppy under 8 weeks old. As such, puppies are not brought into the store until at least 9 weeks, preferably 10 weeks old.
-All puppies are taken out daily and allowed to run, interact with each other and people, and I’ve started brushing each of them while they’re out.
-Shots and worming are done at the same time, with vaccinations for Parvo and Bordetella starting at 4 weeks old (which is a little young, I’ve heard, but there’s been no problem with the schedule)
-Every puppy can be traced to a specific breeder. A majority of puppies come from the store owners themselves, but those who don’t come from select breeders who’ve been inspected and passed by the store owners.
There’s more, but I figure that’s enough for now. A good thing is that, no matter what, if something goes wrong with a pup (whether genetically health-wise or otherwise) and the owner can’t keep it, it comes back to the store and we’ll adopt it out.
I’ve already been able to help people with behavior issues, mostly starting out with NILIF (well, those who’ve asked and are willing to do something other than say “That’s too much effort”). Hopefully I’ll be able to put up a monthly reading about basic behavior or pet care, and maybe even later, create a binder with helpful tips for care, nutrition, and training. Granted, there ARE books out there, but I figure maybe a binder with quick notes is easier, quicker, and cheaper to read.