I was more than a little skeptical when I heard that Oprah Winfrey would be doing a show on puppy mills today. After all, hadn’t Oprah herself bought three Golden puppies at one time from a place that had “dozens” of puppies for sale? Well after seeing the show today, I couldn’t be more delighted to say how wrong I was in my predictions. Was it perfect? No. I don’t agree with everything her guests stand for regarding pets. (But then, who do I agree with on everything regarding pets?!) The segment on neutering contained some bad information – that 6 months is a good age to neuter a Labrador Retriever (here’s why that’s not true) and that spaying a bitch before her first season reduces the risk of mammary cancer by 90% (there’s much more to that story). But the basic message about neutering pets is a good one and the average viewer will likely not even remember the bits I did. I could go on listing complaints with the show but I won’t because the bigger message – that puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills – was right on. Responsible breeders and no-kill shelters even got mentioned in a positive light! Take that PETA.
My message for today: If you want a family pet, consider going to a shelter. They have dogs of all ages and sizes, sometimes even purebreds or close look-a-likes. If you want to buy a purebred puppy from a breeder, do your research. Ask for references, ask to visit the breeder’s home and to meet the dam of the pups. O and expect to be given the third degree. We don’t let our dogs go unless and until we are completely convinced a buyer will treat the dog as a family member and return the dog to us if things don’t work out after a week, or a month, or 10 years.
And lastly, if you are one of those lucky few who has spare cash in this economy, please consider donating to a no-kill shelter. Every little bit helps.