What type of puppy? What breed? or Where to purchase your dog?
Challenge No.2 is deciding between a rescue dog, a pure breed, a mixed-breed/cross-breed or “designer dog” (as they are often called) or buying direct from a pet store.
Now I am sure there are many out there that will firmly be in the rescue dog corner (as we were/are), but believe me when I tell you, it’s not that simple. Remember, choosing a dog is a big 10 year plus commitment, so finding a dog to suit your family needs and your living arrangements coupled with your requirements i.e. age (puppy or older dog), sex, temperament, how soon you can get your dog etc. can make choosing a rescue dog that much more challenging.
This brings me to the question of pure breed vs mixed-breed. There is so much controversy and debate around this topic, particularly when it comes to health, so I intend to steer well clear of this for now, but it’s definitely worth noting and something we have factored into our decision-making process.
Then there is the breeder – If you choose to buy direct from a breeder, are they, in fact, operating a “puppy farm” or are they considered to be an ethical/responsible breeder, and what does that even mean? While there is no legal definition I am aware of, it loosely means that the breeder is genuinely concerned about the welfare of their animals. A responsible breeder will want to know that their dogs (puppies) are going to the right home and the appropriate home for their breed. In addition, “ethical’ breeders will be prepared to answer questions you have about the parents, the genetic makeup, will provide references, ensure the puppy has been microchipped, vaccinated and treated for worms, and will provide a health guarantee or contract which stipulates amongst other things, what will happen in circumstances where there are hereditary diseases and/or other genetic problems, what will happen if the dog can no longer be cared for by its owner(s) etc.
One thing we have ruled out is buying from a pet store. I personally do not support this and never will. In fact, after returning to Sydney from London (where we previously lived for the past 5 years) we were shocked to see dogs and cats behind a window at our local pet store. This just wasn’t something my wife and I were accustomed to whilst living in London.
So, while we continue to narrow in on our mission to find our furry family member, I have started to delve into this complicated space and it got me thinking about the ethical dilemmas we all face when choosing that fur baby.