Getting a Dog: How Much Is That Puppy in the Window?

Written By Jenny Pavlovic
Bandit, Chase, and Cayenne Say: We’re dogs, not people in fur coats. As pack animals, we’re very tuned in to you and know a lot about you. Please pay attention to us and learn what we need to thrive and be happy. We love you and have a lot to give and teach you.
With spring on the way, you may be thinking about getting a new dog. Here’s some information from the Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book to help you make good decisions regarding your new family member.
When getting a dog, think about your lifestyle and the amount of time, money and energy you have to spend. Research dog breeds and think about what kind of dog is the best fit for you. Be realistic about whether you’re able to make a long-term commitment to a dog. Remember that a puppy is like an infant or toddler in many ways and has a lot to learn from you. An adult dog will also need to learn how to live well in your household. Commit to training, exercising, and spending time with your dog.
Please consider adopting a homeless dog. Millions of dogs and cats are killed in the United States every year while waiting for their own homes. Animal shelters and rescue organizations have all kinds of wonderful purebred and mixed breed dogs, from puppies to seniors, in need of good homes. Rescue organizations that house their dogs in foster homes may be able to give you the most accurate information about the rescued dog. One dog rescue organization that I highly recommend is Braveheart Rescue, Inc. in Hastings, Minnesota (https://braveheartrescueinc.com/Home_Page.html). At Braveheart, dogs are given the veterinary care they need, are socialized with other dogs, and are truly rehabilitated before being adopted out. When you adopt a dog, you also support the organization’s work and make room for them to give a second chance to another dog.
Do not buy from pet stores, ads in the paper that advertise many breeds, day sales, or other outlets for puppy mills (factory farms for dogs). Puppy mills produce puppies in quantity for profit, with little regard for their health or well-being. Puppies are often taken from their mothers at only 4-6 weeks of age, and are not vaccinated before being transported. When you “rescue” a puppy mill puppy, you’re creating a market that keeps the parents imprisoned in deplorable living conditions for the sole purpose of producing more puppies. Some of these dogs rarely leave a stacked tiny wire cage, have never been outside, and are not even able to walk. Learn more at http://www.animalfolksmn.org/ (where you’ll find information about a puppy/kitten mill bill currently being introduced in the Minnesota legislature), http://www.aspca.org/fight-animal-cruelty/puppy-mills, http://www.mainlinerescue.org/ and http://www.mainlinerescue.org/puppy-mills/puppys_parents. Mainline Rescue is the Pennsylvania group featured on the well-known puppy mill episode of the Oprah Show.
If you want a purebred dog from a breeder (for example, if you need a dog that was bred specifically to herd your cattle), please do your homework. Read Finding a Good Dog Breeder at http://www.dogtime.com/finding-a-good-breeder.html. Look for a breeder who actively participates with their dogs in the activities the dog was originally bred for. Learn as much as you can about the breed, the breeder, and the puppy’s lineage. Ask to meet the puppy’s parents and see where the pups were born and raised. Make sure the breeder tests their dogs for the health problems that are common to the breed. Be wary of a breeder who breeds for one color or trait, like “miniature” to the detriment of temperament or health. Check out the breeder’s references, and be wary of a contract that requires a co-ownership or requires you to breed your dog instead of spaying or neutering. Make sure you get what you pay for.
With a new dog in the house, you’ll need to find a good veterinarian. In fact, you might even want your veterinarian to examine the new dog before you make the final commitment and take the dog home.
Choosing a Veterinarian
When looking for a veterinarian, ask your friends and neighbors for advice. Ask veterinarians about their education, training, experience, and credentials. Check their references. Make sure you’re comfortable with the vet, the way the clinic is run, and the way they handle your dog.
Today, many veterinarians are using Eastern medicine techniques and therapies, including acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic, homeopathy, and massage therapy to complement the traditional Western medicine protocols they learned in veterinary school. Here’s a list of veterinary and other organizations*, with links to more information:
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA): www.avma.org
A not-for-profit association representing more than 80,000 veterinarians
The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA):
AHVMA Member Referral Search: www.holisticvetlist.com
Explores and supports alternative and complementary approaches to veterinary healthcare, and is dedicated to integrating all aspects of animal wellness in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA):
Certifying agency for doctors who have undergone postgraduate animal chiropractic training
 
The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy (AVH): www.theavh.org
Veterinarians who share the desire to restore health to their patients through the use of homeopathic treatment. Members are dedicated to understanding and preserving the principles of classical homeopathy and advancing veterinary homeopathy through education and research.
 
International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS): www.ivas.org
The IVAS mission is to provide, promote, and support veterinary acupuncture and related treatment modalities through quality basic, advanced, and continuing education; internationally recognized certification for veterinarians; and responsible research.
Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute*: www.animalacupressure.com
Acupressure is used to restore, replenish, and maintain the natural harmony and balance needed to create optimal health and well-being. A small animal acupressure course will be taught in Minnesota in July of 2011 (more info at http://tinyurl.com/6x8mru7).
I hope this information will start you and your new dog on the road to a happy and healthy life together. Enjoy the spring and summer with your new friend!
This information originally appeared in The Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book, Ó2010 (more info at http://www.8StateKate.net)
The Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book is a Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Awards Finalist in the “Pets” category! More info here: http://www.8statekate.net/wordpress/?p=2302

Leave a Reply