It shouldn’t be easy to buy a dog

A dog is a massive commitment.

You are essentially taking on a new member of the family; one who will live at least a decade, who will need feeding, training and exercising.  Who will be expected to get on with everyone, from small children to doddery grandparents.  Who will need to cope alone when you go to work but be equally as happy in the park surrounded by people and other dogs.  One who will cost you a fair amount of money; from the initial purchase, to all the accessories they need, the food they eat and, of course, they won’t qualify for any health care on the NHS!

It should not be easy to buy one.

In what other area of life do ordinary people think ‘Oooh, I fancy spending a few hundred quid on something because I seen pictures on the internet and it looks really cute.  I’ll just check GumTree, hand over all the money up front, in cash, to someone I’ve never met, for a product I know nothing about, with no guarantees and skip happily off into the sunset.’

There are no shortage of puppies for sale on the internet, available for next day purchase but just because they are there does NOT mean you should buy one!

There are no shortage of puppies for sale on the internet, available for next day purchase but just because they are there does NOT mean you should buy one!

For anything else, and I mean ANYTHING else, any other large purchase at all, you would get on Google, read the reviews, check out the different models, weigh up the after sales service and make sure it exactly fits your needs and your home but for a dog, for a living, breathing creature that is possessed of very sharp teeth and a mind of it’s own if you don’t raise it properly, the main criteria appears to be what it looks like and can you pick one up tomorrow?

I know many people do take their decision and commitment seriously but I think far more do not.  Otherwise the rescues would not be full to over-flowing and there wouldn’t be a massive market for puppy farms, importers and dealers.

I am all for dog ownership, it is rewarding, fulfilling and educational for children.   They are companions, confidants, exercise buddies and best friends. It also keeps me in a job! However, I regularly see the fall out of poorly thought through impulse purchases of over-priced, badly bred, mass-produced puppies but, of course, by the time they get to me, it is already too late.

If people were forced to think a little more, to have to search for a puppy for sale rather than having them falling out of the web and into their living rooms, to take a bit of time and care over their decision, maybe vets, rescue centres and charities wouldn’t have to pick up the, increasingly numerous, pieces.

I don’t know how to fix this and many, far cleverer people than me have tried.  The whole situation is incredibly depressing.

However, here is my one piece of advice; if you want a puppy, decide, find and view it BEFORE it is ready to leave it’s mother.  Go see the litter when they are still suckling from the bitch.  This will a) ensure you are not buying from a puppy farm, dealer or importer and b) mean you have time to think about your decision before you take that little bundle of fluff home.

Come on people, #seethemsuckling!!

You can follow me on Twitter; @cat_the_vet and find me on FaceBook;  Cat_The_Vet

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