A few weeks ago, I posted a link to Christie Keith's Whole Pet column discussing why it's not OK to buy puppies online or from pet stores.
In this week's column she tells us all how to find a good breeder.
"Pet stores routinely assure shoppers that their pets don't come from puppy or kitten mills, and Internet pet store sites certainly won't announce that theirs do. Instead, they use the phrases people find reassuring: 'Family raised.' 'Private breeders.' 'Raised with love.'
"Despite those marketing slogans, the reality is that nearly all puppies and kittens sold in pet stores and on the Internet are mass-produced in circumstances that range from truly hellish to sterile, lonely and boring. The mothers and fathers of those puppies and kittens spend their entire lives in cages, bored beyond belief, sometimes kept in filth and misery, having litter after litter until they can't produce any more.
"So how can you know whether a breeder or other seller's claims are true? And even if you could hook the breeder up to a lie detector, how do you know what questions to ask or what the answers should be?"
She goes on to discuss what questions should be asked of you (that's right, not what questions you should ask), as well as the fact that a good breeder will 1) always require that you return the dog to them should things not work out, and 2) never require that you return the puppy to get your money back should your dog have serious health problems. Her bottom line: "the easier it is for you to get that puppy or kitten, the less careful the breeder of that puppy and kitten is."
If you're thinking of getting a dog, or even if you aren't, please go read.