True Life: I Bought A Dog From…
by Nawaar Farooq
When you are in the process of purchasing a puppy or a dog, sometimes it is good to hear what others have to say about their own experiences. Here are a few stories to help you gain some perspective as to what dog and resources might be right for you.
Erin McMahon and Jaxson
Erin got Jaxson, her miniature dachshund from Grundy Center at Century Farm Puppies. She decided to go with a
breeder because she wanted to try and raise a puppy at eight weeks at least once in her life. Another reason she wanted to find a breeder is because she wanted a miniature dachshund and those are hard to come by unless you come across particular breeders.
When she began her puppy hunt, she looked at a lot of different places, mostly around Dyersville, Iowa. She found that most of those breeders only had one litter at a time and many puppies were already sold before she could see them.
After she brought Jaxson home, she didn’t notice any major health issues until he started vomiting frequently. She took him to the veterinarian and it turned out he was eating food that didn’t agree with his digestive system. Other than that, he had no main health issues.
Erin abhors puppy mills and thinks they are a terrible thing.
“I am appalled that these people will do anything to dogs to make a little extra money with no concern to the dog’s health,” says Erin. “I have never had personal experiences with puppy mills, but I have seen a dog that was at a puppy mill. She had no teeth, was scared to death at any sudden movements or loud sounds, and she had a number tattooed on her stomach. Sad!”
Erin does have some advice for those who are looking to buy a new furry friend.
“Make sure you know everything there is to know about the breed of dog you are choosing and make sure it is a breed that fits your lifestyle,” she says. Certain breeds need certain things and you will probably not be able to change that.”
Erika Tahmasebi and Lucy
Erika Tahmasebi, a University of Iowa alumni who graduated in 2008, took a different route when finding her true love, Lucy, a maltese-shih tzu mix. Lucy is short for Lucille Lucius Vorenus Bluth and she is now 4 years old.
Lucy caught Erika’s eye when she gazed at her through the glass window at Petland one day in March of 2006. Erika used to go to the humane society to play with the animals and would always get upset and leave in tears. Her friend took her to Petland to play with the animals there, thinking she wouldn’t feel guilty when she left.
The second she set her eyes on the little maltese-shih tzu mix, she feel in love and purchased her that night. She says there was something about her that made Erika had to have her. The fact she was from Petland made her think twice about purchasing her.
“My whole life I have been against puppy mills and had always gotten my animals from either breeders (the dog I had as a child, Sophie, a Scottish terrier) or humane society (two cats, Oliver and Kirby),” Erika says. “I think puppy mills are disgusting and when I think about all of the wonderful and perfectly fine dogs at shelters without homes, I feel incredibly guilty for choosing an animal from a store. That being said, I love my dog more than anything, and I absolutely do not regret purchasing Lucy. But I know my future dogs will be from either an animal shelter or breeder– most likely a shelter.”
Lucy did not have any health issues and Erika feels very lucky about that. She advises other puppy-seekers to go another route than she did.
“Please don’t go the route I did. The first place you should look to find a pet are the animal shelters in your area,” she says. “Do your research on what kind of dog(s) you not only want but fit your lifestyle. If you have no yard, don’t get a large, active dog. If you want a friend to go running with, don’t get a poodle. Your dog should be a part of your family– he or she will love you unconditionally, so make sure you are prepared to do the same. Thousands of dogs abandoned every day by irresponsible pet owners, so please make sure you are ready for a commitment before you bring an animal into your home.”
Amy Braun and Loki
Amy Braun, the pet counselor from Petland in one of the previous stories, wanted a breed that most pet shops don’t carry. She wanted a pit bull, a breed that many fear because of its “dangerous” nature. She currently has one dog, Loki, who is a mix between a pit bull and a mastiff/Chesapeake bay retriever.
Her first pit bull, Killian, was from Animal Control in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“I wanted to feel comfortable living by myself and nobody was going to mess with me. I wanted a pit bull because they are huge and nobody will mess with them,” she says. She does think that pit bulls are some of the sweetest dogs underneath all that stigma.
She let a friend take care of her dog, Killian while she was in Germany for a year and after many attempts of trying to reach her friend, she found out her dog died three days before returning to the United States. Apparently her friend allowed another friend to watch the dog and she had gotten into some antifreeze. She was taken to a vet the next morning, but didn’t survive.
When she returned to the states, she went on the dog hunt again. She wanted another pit bull, but had trouble finding one. All the breeders she looked at seemed sketchy except those that lived in Louisiana, Idaho or Ohio. Luckily she knew what to look for when searching for a breeder. She noticed that many of the puppies weren’t checked over by a vet or didn’t include any papers according to the Web sites. They also didn’t come with warranties and the breeders didn’t ask Amy any important questions that she expected.
“For a solid pit bull I was planning on paying $1000-1500 dollars,” says Amy. “Pit bulls for $200 are sketchy. If you are selling them for that cheap, there has to be something wrong. Most pit bulls run $700-1500.”
She ended up finding Loki, her current dog, from Cedar Valley Humane Society in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Loki is a mix and wasn’t what Amy was looking for at the time, but she fell in love with him. He didn’t have any major health issues. Loki does have a chronic ear infection in one of his ears, but compared to all the other things he could have, Amy considers it to be nothing.
Amy is appreciative of the way Cedar Valley Humane Society handled everything when she was adopting Loki.
“Before they send your puppy home with you, they make sure the dog is kept up to date with vaccinations,” says Amy. “They fix the puppies if they aren’t fixed before they go home with you and are excited to send a puppy home with a new owner.”
As a pet counselor, Amy has offered many helpful tips to people seeking a new pet. Her advice when thinking about purchasing a new dog is to:
“Sit down and make a list of what you want in a dog. Go through everything. Do you want him to be super intelligent, super playful, really friendly with people, a protector dog, etc.? Different breeds fit different desires. Does your lifestyle match up for the breed? Really do your research.”
Please take a look at the slideshow of some of these adorable lil’ doggies! (Photos were contributed by dog owners).
So what should you take away from these other people’s experiences?
Different people are better with certain breeds. Research what specific temperaments would be a good match for you and don’t base your decision on how a dog may look. You may think a Golden retriever is gorgeous, but if you live in a tiny downtown apartment and can’t take him/her on walks, you are going to run into some trouble.
Not only should you research the breed, but where you intend to get the dog from. Meet with an animal shelter, breeder or pet store owner a few times before you make your decision. Ask questions about the facilities. Make sure they ask you questions. Pay attention to how they treat the purchase – is the puppy they are something they are trying to get rid of and get their cash or do they take a genuine interest in the puppy’s wellbeing with you?
It is rewarding when you find the dog that is right for you. With all these new tips and things to watch out for, I wish you only the best when searching for a new furry companion!