The Shortfalls of Pet Shops
and their seduction
Pet Shops are great places for dog toys and dog beds and leashes and collars and dog food, unfortunately they aren't a good place to get dogs.
First, the pet shop has no access to the source of the puppies. They can't go and meet the parents (which virtually all "How to Choose Your Dog" sources recommend) and then, neither can you! You have no way of knowing the temperament, size or appearance of the parents. How much do they really look like the breed they are supposed to be?
Building on this, there is limited information on the health of the parents or the care the puppies received since birth. Laws require that dogs transported across state lines be of minimum age and have an appropriate health certificate. The stress of moving and then the addtional stress of a pet shop can compromise even the healthiest of puppies however.
The source of the puppies is completely, clearly and honestly in business, as is the pet shop. Their fundamental goal is to make a profit. It is very difficult to do this if you only have one litter of puppies at a time. If you have many more than one at a time, its impossible to properly care for them. It's even more difficult to care for these same puppies, as in keeping them clean and comfortable in a cross country transport by tractor trailer or plane.
The other aspect of being profitable is that they must be willing to sell you any puppy you want, even if it is clearly not suited to the home you are offering. Its not unheard of for people to purchase a puppy from a pet shop, with terms and then release the same puppy to a shelter prior to having paid it off!
Pet Shops, like so many places that offer lovely things we want, often depend on impulse purchases. That is why they have puppies in stock. Additionally, many pet shops still maintain an environment to make you feel a little sorry for the puppy. They are cooped up. Who wouldn't want to take them home and clean them up so they can roll around on the floor?
Finally, did you know that if someone handles a sick dog and then handles another dog, sometimes even hours later, they can pass disease? Handling a wonderful puppy and then going to another and another is a good way to help pass illness, and the puppies in this situation are already stressed because the environment is so different from home with so many people handling them.
The hardest challenge would be walking away if you find someone to love in a pet shop. Some people have been successful in helping their local pet shop recognize that they would be more profitable if they didn't offer puppies and kittens (many people won't shop at stored with puppies or kittens for sale) if only due to overhead, space and losses. Others have bitten the bullet and paid the price (monetarily and otherwise) for pet shop puppies, ended up with Shelties that are as large as Collies (and being forced to move to keep the dog due to neighborhood regulations on dog sizes) or with illnesses that may or may not claim the dog's life and the owner's savings, or with a dog that just doesn't suit them and unlike the rescue or the responsible breeder, the pet shop will not take your dog back. If they would? Would you want them to, knowing they would just sell it to anyone that would pay their price?
The seduction of the pet shop occurs when you meet their pups. These are the innocent victims, but in supporting the pet shop by buying their "product" you simply help assure it will continue. Because it will continue, as long as it is profitable to market in poorly reared and cared for animals.
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