Best in Snow

Pictured above is Hooper, our Portuguese water dog who just happened to be born two days after Christmas. We lost our little snow bunny in late August. She would have been eleven this month. Although we wish we had had more time with her, her presence in our lives is a true gift.

Yesterday, a news story got the theme song from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas wrapped around my head like a big Christmas present. A young couple in New Jersey had stolen a Bull dog puppy from a place called The Aquarium in Bergen County.

The dognappers have been apprehended, and I don’t know their motives (just had to have it, wanted to sell for quick cash, etc…). Stealing is wrong, but the way the reporter acted, you would think everyone had done the greatest deed in the world returning the puppy to its caring retailer.

Most of you know by now that MOST retailers of puppies get their “products” from large Commercial Breeders who treat dogs like machines pumping out puppies in conditions that are far from caring or comfortable and for a huge profit. These establishments are either physically sterile with very little socializing involved or filthy and inhumane to the breeding dogs and sometimes even to the puppies who can’t “tough it out.”

The reported gleefully confided that the puppy was, “on sale,” for $3,500. Now most of us know that the mark up for pup shop pups is over 300 times the price paid to the Commercial Breeder. The shop owner was soooo glad to have his precious pup back that he says he will not sell it because it is soooo special. I wonder if you called the shop and told them you were so moved by that special story you are willing to give that the puppy a good home for a small donation. When they hang up on you, call back and tell them you came up with $3,000 to spend, cash, for that particular dog. I am betting they won’t hang up then.

Now let’s say that these shop owners are actually very caring animal lovers concerned about the future of this dog. Prove me right and give them a chance to show that they work with legitimate breeders. Ask him where the dog was bred, name of the breeder and all breeding details.

But remember… No bone-fide dog loving breeder would allow their pups to be sold from a store to anyone walking off the street.

Meanwhile…Here is my Grinch Take on the subject…called No Present like the Time.

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch. Boy, I really am a mean one. Little ones and sweet hearts all over the nation just want a cuddly little puppy and they want it…now (or in time for the holiday). Adoptions are just so darn fickle and there are so many rules and promises to keep and take so much work and those reputable breeders with all their questions, interviews and home visits and waiting periods. Sheesh…who has the time when all ya have to do is go to your local pet retailer? No questions asked…lay down the bucks, whip out the AMEX card…Papers? Wow, they look real and have all kinds of special headings and letters…they sure look official.

You really are a heel…Did someone say heel…isn’t that a dog training command…? You know like as in sit, stay heel… Wait? I need to spend time and money to actually train this dog?  I can save lots of money and inconvenience just yelling at it and watching a few episodes of Cesar(even Cesar would laugh at that suggestion).

You’re as cuddly as a cactus…Cuddly? Yep, new puppies sure are cuddly. But what happens when they get bigger and they are not as cute? They consume a lot of my valuable time, too. Heck, if my puppy gift doesn’t work out I can just go on over to the local animal shelter and give it away…that’s what they are there for right?…But I did pay a lot of money for that dog. Maybe I can make a few bucks on Craig’s List.

You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch. Your heart’s an empty holeYes, I am heartless…when it comes to kings of sinful sots. (Aka those who profit from misery). Yes, I am depriving you and your good intentions and desire to please with a cute cuddly gift. I know people who have great dogs that came from retailers. They are sweet although one has bad hip dysplasia and others some obsessive compulsive disorders. Even if they don’t have any physical or behavioral issues, did you ever wonder how many others were not so lucky and now have to bear the sins of poor breeding, abandoned at the vet’s office or put down because they cannot be healed? Did you ever think of the deplorable conditions in which your pup’s parents lived and most likely died?

Your soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable…Shame on those bad people who protest outside dog retailers hampering small business owners just trying to make a living selling animals.  To be fair, tomorrow they will protest outside of the Vitamin Shoppe (vitamins should not be crowded into bottles), Hallmark Store (free all cards from ill-fitting envelopes and little figurines from snow globes)…oh wait, those are not living things…never mind.

When you see people protesting outside of Pet Retailers understand what motivates them and then stop and give your support. After all, how many times have you told people how much of a dog lover you are?

A gift of a living “thing” requires your time from the moment you bring “it” into your home. Between unwrapping gifts, going to services, getting ready for guests or traveling other, ask yourself if a puppy, kitty or other pet is really a good addition to your family at what is typically a very stressful time when scheduled lifestyles are not in place.

There is no present like the time you can give to an animal that will return your love and care in ways you can never imagine. When the time is right, adopt, foster or choose a caring and responsible breeder who will provide you with a positive experience. It will also be a lifetime lesson for your kids.

And hopefully this is seasonal advice that does not… Stink, stank, stunk.