Connor, one of the beloved pups of Dr. Adam Christman of Brick, NJ

Welcome to the 84th Observance of National Dog Week! Please join us by LIKING the NDW Page on Facebook.!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

I began writing this blog in the January of 2010 after I had an idea for a book that would chronicle the evolution of something called the National Dog Week Movement. Begun in 1928, I felt there was something so special about the dedication and determination of its founder, Captain Will Judy, a man trained for the ministry and the Law, who also became a decorated WWI hero and remarkably published Dog World Magazine for 36 years. He changed the way America, and the world, regarded man’s best friend. Certainly others would be as intrigued.

I thought I had a good idea then, and despite many obstacles, I kept up my research and used the occasion to engage others who embraced its mission and to reach out to fellow dog-lovers (and others) on a regular basis. Imagine my satisfaction when I found an agent and a publisher who believed in my journey. Just yesterday I received my confirmation that I am now a full-fledge member of the Dog Writer’s Association of America, which was established in part by Will Judy many years ago. It is an honor.

I thank all of you who have agreed to be interviewed in my posts and all the advice and encouragement you have provided. As my Indiegogo Campaign enters its second week, I thank all of you for sharing its link and for your donations. The campaign will run through mid-November.

Much gratitude to LA-based Dr. Patrick Mahaney for serving as our National Dog Week Pet Health Consultant last year. He did a terrific job  Sometimes you don’t have to travel too far from home to find the spirit of kindness and determination. Often it is in our own backyards. (For the record, Patrick is a Jersey Native, too)!

Today I introduce this year’s Pet Health contributor, Brick Township New Jersey’s very own, Dr. Adam Christman, DVM. As many of you know, Brick’s Town Council banned the retail sale of dogs this summer, making them a true NDW Community. Dr. Christman was personally involved in the rescue of 39 sick and neglected pups removed from Puppies Galore in town last year.

Adam is happy to announce that last month he received his MBA. Congratulations on all your accomplishments!

Please tell us about your involvement with the closing of the Puppy Retailer in Brick Township last winter. What role did you play? As the Chief Veterinarian for the Jersey Shore Animal Center, I received a phone call from the Brick Animal Control officers. They had received an anonymous tip from an individual who was walking past the store and noticed a German shepherd that had jumped out of a crate and was running loose. Moreover, the individual noticed some sick puppies through the window as well. This triggered a series of events that had me walk into the store to assess the situation and perform complete physical exams on all 39 puppies. Of the 39 puppies in the store, 35 were deemed to have some form of respiratory illness. 4 of them had severe pneumonia (2 of them being sold on the floor as is). As a result, I made the executive decision with the support of Mayor Stephen Acropolis, the Ocean County Health Department and Animal Control Officers to close down the store indefinitely until a court hearing.
Can you tell the readers about the emotional health issues that face many puppies produced at puppy mills?Those of my clients who purchased a puppy from a puppy store tell me that they “wanted to rescue him/her from there.”  I unfortunately have to tell them that they are perpetuating the business even further. Most (not all) puppy mill puppies are overbred, have several congenital, genetic, infectious and metabolic disorders. These can range from hip dysplasia, juvenile cataracts, open fontanelle, pneumonia, parvo virus, hypoglycemia, etc.

Once the human-animal bond is established (which is usually “love at first site”), there is a significant emotional attachment. Unfortunately, the financial commitment may be absent. A majority of these puppy mill dogs are overpriced (up to 4-5 times the cost of the puppy!!) and owners may not have the expense to care for the defects. We probably see at least 1-2 puppies per week that are deemed “unfit for purchase.” There could be mild clinical signs (diarrhea with intestinal parasites) or more severe signs (heart defect, hip dysplasia, etc). These could be eliminated if pet owners went to reputable breeders or rescue groups that would make the prospective pet owner aware of recurrent or concurrent illness.

What frustrates veterinarians the most is when a pet owner overpays for a puppy from a puppy store and complains to the veterinarian that they have no money for its healthcare expense. If a puppy is adopted from a shelter, it is usually spayed/neutered, heartworm and fecal checked, fully vaccinated and microchipped for a minimal fee whereas a puppy from a puppy mill/petstore come with a series of vaccines that are allegedly “legit” for over $1,000. I have seen puppies purchased from a puppy store for over $6,000!
I understand you adopted one of these pups. Can you tell us about Connor? Connor is now a 10 month-old short haired dachshund that melted me INSTANTLY when I saw him curled up in his diarrhea in his crate in Puppies Galore. Later I found he had many roundworms in his stool. I didn’t think twice about making him my son. I now have 4 beautiful children–Charles a beagle, Cosmo a paralyzed long-haired dachshund and Chelsea, a black dapple dachshund.
Do you think New Jersey will really be the first state in the nation to completely ban the selling of dogs in stores? YES! I will make sure and do everything I can in my legal power to be the first state to completely ban the selling of dogs in stores. We all need to bond together, sign petitions, AVOID THE IMPULSE IN PET SHOP PURCHASING, do your research and become INFORMED ABOUT PUPPY MILLS.

How can they learn more and help this process? The humane society offers a guide on what you as a citizen can do to help prevent puppy mill puppy stores from occurring in your town: Also letters to your local legislators certainly help! All 39 of the puppies taken from the Brick Township shop have been spayed, neutered, vaccinated, dewormed and examined by either the veterinarian at Ocean County Animal Shelter or myself. They are doing fantastic! They are turning a year of age now and are in the most loving and amazing homes! I couldn’t be any more elated in knowing that we created a happy ‘second chance’ for these babies!

How do you think the dog-human bond can be celebrated during National Dog Week?CELEBRATE the dog human bond by allotting just 5 EXTRA minutes that you may normally not do. Instead of looking at Facebook, checking emails or paying the bills, get on the floor with your baby. Play with them, mush them up, be silly, give an extra treat, take them to their favorite place (dog park, beach, grandma/grandpa’s house, play with their “cousin’s” dogs, take them to PetSmart, Petco and buy them a toy, invite them to your bed (if they’re not already in there to begin with), take them pumpkin picking, have them lick you, have them put their head on your chest, watch their favorite show together, take them for an extra walk, talk to them and tell them how much you love them. I can keep going! As you can tell, I have done all of the above to help strengthen the human animal bond with my ‘children’. I tell my clients that I’m not just a veterinarian. I’m a pediatrician for their babies! Happy National Dog Week!

Thank you Adam. This was truly an inspiring post to write. And so timely, too!