Sunday, April 5, 2009

Changing Puppy Face

Finn's getting neutered tomorrow which, to me, is a huge milestone. It's made me want to go back and revisit his very young puppyhood. He's such a cutie and I can't wait to see what kind of dog he becomes.

Friday, April 3, 2009

It's Not All About the Puppy Mills

The news last month regarding the Petland lawsuit hit close to home because we bought our puppy, Finn, from the Petland in Charlotte. I’ve read blog posts, tweets and articles about the case and I feel like everyone has chosen the most sensational aspect of the lawsuit to highlight, not the most important.

I think we can all agree that puppy mills are bad. No one wants or condones that kind of lifestyle for dogs and puppies. However, not every Petland puppy comes from a puppy mill. Ours didn’t; ours came from a breeder who I have spoken with. This fact did not keep Finn from being a very, very sick puppy.

Not every breed of dog can be found locally and I understand that sometimes pet stores need to have dogs brought to them from far away but it would seem that it would be possible to do this without sacrificing the health of the puppy. Measures could be put in place and, at the very least, Petland could be upfront about the health of the puppies they sell.

When we purchased Finn, we were told that he was in good health but that was not true. We were told during our long and thorough information session that sneezing and runny noses were common for puppies and should not be a cause for concern should we notice these things in Finn.

We did notice these symptoms in Finn during only his second day home with us but we brushed them off as we were told to do. By the morning of his first vet visit, 10 days after purchase, I called to move his appointment time up to 8:30 from 3:00 because the crackling/rattling sound coming from his little chest scared me.

At one point, Finn was diagnosed with kennel cough, two parasites and roundworms and was on three different forms of antibiotics as well as receiving nebulizer treatments.

When Finn’s kennel cough relapsed, we found out that Petland administers nebulizer treatments to their puppies every morning. Petland knew their puppies were sick. They knew that even if Finn was not actively sick at the time they sold him, he had been exposed to a highly contagious and dangerous virus and yet they not only did not inform us, they dissuaded us from being vigilant about our puppy’s health.

Sending home sick puppies to unsuspecting owners is Petland’s must egregious act. It is easy to only focus on puppy mills because of their dramatic and sensational slant but Petland—even a Petland strongly positioned against the mills—is not blameless in how they care for, and merchandise, their puppies.

Finn’s poor health was not a result of puppy mills. Not every breed of dog can be found locally and some dogs will need to be shipped, but Petland and their “middleman,” in our case it was Pet Board of Trade not Hunte, could make changes to guarantee the delivery of healthy puppies.

Over the next week, I’ll be writing here in more detail about our Petland experience.