We put years of thought and research behind our decision to sell puppies and are more confident than ever now in our decision. Here’s why…
At first the resources we read and people we talked to made it sound black and white. Puppy mill dogs, pet store puppies, and backyard breeders are the popular buzz words people use to describe any puppy or dog that doesn’t come from the shelter or a “reputable” breeder. We thought we had to choose a camp, but it became clear to us that every camp had some serious problems with their philosophies that they hid behind political jargon and emotionally manipulative pleas for justice. We realized that each of these camps was serving their own interests and not the interests of those who matter–dogs and their owners. At this point we realized it was time to blaze a new trail.
Here are some of the arguments made against pet stores:
– They sell puppies to people who can’t take care of them, without doing any screening or interview process.
We have years of experience selling exotic animals which require a fair amount of informal screening. By nature, the culture in our business is to find out what a customer’s situation is and help meet their needs. If they don’t have the appropriate environment we aren’t going to hesitate to say it and lose the sale. Another foundational element of our company culture is knowledge and consumer education, which means we will be trying to match customers to the right breed. It’s true that we won’t visit your house, or make you fill out an application that says whether or not you own or rent your home. We do our best to create an environment and experience that encourages responsible ownership and trust that that creates a foundation for encouraging people to take full ownership of their responsibility.
– Their puppies come from puppy mills, which have poor or unknown living conditions for the parents and puppies
This could very well be true and for this reason we have chosen to get our puppies locally where if we suspect any kind of poor life for any of the dogs involved with the breeder we can investigate it with ease. As of yet, unless we have been deliberately and cleverly deceived, we have not purchased any puppies from any puppy mill or other that doesn’t offer a good life to their parents. Contrary to the powerful statements some breeders and organizations make about pet stores not caring, we do care, and we are aware. Puppy sourcing is a VERY BIG concern of ours and one that we consider a fundamental part of being a positive provider of puppies.
– Pet stores prey on people who don’t have financial resources because they can use a credit card.
Hmm… this is almost too ridiculous to mention, but I see it everywhere. I’d like to welcome everyone to the new age where paying cash is not a sign of wealth. Aside from the fact that even doctors and lawyers prefer credit cards to cash, it’s not our job or anyone else’s job to manage someone’s finances. Its our responsibility to make sure people are aware of of the financial obligations that buying a puppy entails.
– Pet stores prey on hapless shoppers, trying to get them to make impulsive purchase.
This an interesting one because its true to some extent. We want you to fall in love with a puppy and take him home (but so does a “responsible” breeder or shelter). We certainly don’t want to trick anyone into making a bad decision, but spontaneity is part of the fun and excitement of getting a new pet and can be a very positive part of the process. Most people who come into our store are either already great dog owners (buying great quality food and products), or there to fall in love with a puppy. We offer to put puppies on hold for people without a deposit so they can go home and research it. We have also allowed in various circumstances for people to take puppies home for a compatibility check.
– Pet stores and the people they buy puppies from are motivated by profit
This is true of us also, but it’s not the only thing we are motivated by. We want our business to grow so that we can provide even better environments and better puppies. There’s a big difference between greed and financial success. To us, our growth is creating meaningful lives for our employees and improving the animal integration between people and animals. We aren’t a public company and aren’t forced to maximize profits at any expense, we are human beings with a serious mission to positively bring people and animals together. Our profit is what facilitates that growth and without that incentive what would be the point, we could never achieve anything. The ironic thing is that this argument is often coming from the “responsible” breeders who sell their puppies from $1500-$2500. I would be very surprised if they were simply trying to recoup some their costs.
– Pet stores are contributing to overpupulation.
This is a lot more complicated problem than can be solved simply by reducing the number of inputs as is suggested by many proponents of blanket neuter programs. Based on the feedback we have received, very few if any of the puppies we sell end up being euthanized due to overpopulation. We have also been unsuccessful in finding any shelter that has taken us up in our offer to help find new homes for their small dogs. I can’t refute the statistics about how many dogs are euthanized each year, but I have yet to see any thorough research as to the types of dogs and circumstances that are chosen as candidates for euthanasia. Our sympathies are still with those dogs, and we encourage anyone who has the circumstances and resources to successfully integrate one of their dogs into their lives to do so. However, our part in being a solution to the problem is to continue to provide well socialized puppies to good homes where they won’t end up homeless.
– If you buy a puppy from a pet store, after you buy it, you are on your own
This is a kind of silly one, we work very hard to keep you as a repeat customer. Problems you have with your puppy can almost always be solved with products that are designed for that specific problem… THAT IS WHY OUR STORE EXISTS. Animals have very different needs and it’s impossible to take care of those needs on your own. THIS IS ALSO WHY OUR CUSTOMERS LOVE US! Now, if you get a puppy from a shelter, you are sort of on your own, but don’t worry we will be happy to help, VERY HAPPY TO HELP!
– The pet store doesn’t know enough about specific breeds to let you know if it’s a good match
Guess what, we buy from a breeder who tells us everything they would tell one of their buyers. We do the most research we can, and provide buyers with the most realistic info possible. The reality is that even breed traits are going to vary from puppy to puppy, and if you can’t commit to a dog no matter what the puppy becomes then you shouldn’t be buying or adopting one. Regardless, in the end it is the prospective owner’s responsibility to do the research and see many different points of view. There is an endless amount of information that in the modern environment is easily accessible. Counting on just one opinion, be it a pet store, an expert breeder, or a friend who has one of the breed, is no longer an acceptable or reliable way to research a breed.
– Pet store puppies are kept in cruel environments and are unhappy, and that people buy the puppies to save them from such a fate
Not at our store. Our puppies are probably kept in better environments, with more ready and reliable access to food and water than they do at any breeders. They have extra large pens with enough room to romp. We bring in entire litters instead of just one pup so they have playmates and a gentle introduction into the outside world. They have solid floors to stand on (no old school nasty metal grates here), windows in their pens to see what’s going on, age and size appropriate toys, and many more comforts. They receive lots of run time in the store. They receive way more socialization than they would at a breeder or shelter, and in addition, from a lot more diverse pool of people. All our puppies receive lots of socialization with kids, where this is often not the case with a breeder. Basically we treat the pups as if they were our own, and our own dogs are very spoiled!
That covers the most basic arpuppiguments against pet store puppies… now I’d like to suggest some of the reasons TO buy a puppy from us.
– You can let us do the majority of the work finding breeders. You don’t have to feel pressured when you drive an hour to a breeders house and there isn’t a puppy that you like or if you don’t like the breeder.
– If you aren’t sure exactly what breed, but know roughly the characteristics your family needs in a dog, you can check with us regularly, experience different breeds, and wait for a puppy that has specific individual characteristics that would enhance your bond with the puppy.
– You will most likely have to deal with a lot less of the transitional problems that come when a puppy leaves its home for the first time because they transition in our store, and the transition with the rest of their littermates. We know when they need to go to the vet and have easy access to stool sampling and other non-avoidable problems that often arise from the stress of leaving mom. We don’t sell any puppies until 8 weeks which lets them spend as much time as possible getting mom’s healthy milk.
– Our puppies are on a lot better diets and will have a lot better immune responses. It’s really sad how many ‘expert’ breeders are completely clueless when it comes to pet nutrition. We see foods like Iams, Purina and Science Diet being used even from the best of our breeders. The breeders we work with regularly are often better educated because of their relationship with us.
– While we require that you take responsibility for your commitment, we are always here to talk to. We can’t avoid your calls, or lock our doors, which means through thick or thin we will at least be here to answer your call and try to help with whatever issues may arise–no matter what. More importantly, we will see you on a regular basis, so even the little things you have questions about you can ask us and we consider it part of our job (and a part we love).
– By getting a puppy from us you are becoming part of an active and ongoing community of dog owners. We listen to our customers and carry the products they like and use regularly. We are always on the lookout for products that can enhance your pet ownership experience.
The Bottom Line:
There are benefits and drawbacks to all of the options that you have to finding a new family pet. Pet stores have a bad rap, and that may be deserved, but our store should be considered as good as an option as any other. We aren’t driven solely by profit, we care about you, we care about our puppies, and we care about the environment our puppies come from. We aren’t perfect, and we never will be, but you can trust that we are doing the best and will be very supportive throughout the process.