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   I just want a nice pet, I don't need a show dog.

People often say "I just want a nice pet. ." They think that means they should actually avoid a "show breeder." They are happy to go to a breeder who uses simple terms like "My dogs are very healthy." It's sad, because everyone deserves a healthy pet. If all you want is a healthy pet, read the story below. I hope it helps you achieve that goal.

On: Tue, 25 May 1999 06:47:17
In the newsgroup: rec.pets.dogs.breeds
Under the subejct line of: **VENTVENTVENT**
Lisa Ochoa ( wrote:

Last night, I went to our local dog training club to teach a basic obedience class. When I got there, the instructor of the puppy class was waiting for me along with one of her students. The student's puppy, a 4 1/2 month old GSD, started limping a couple of weeks ago, so she took it to the vet. Her vet x-rayed the puppy and he is dysplastic in one hip. Diana (the instructor) wanted some input from me as to what recourse the puppy owner might have.

It turns out that this puppy's parents had no clearances. The breeder explained to the puppy owner that the parents couldn't be OFA'd until they were two, but that "there's no problem, we don't have hip dysplasia in this line." The puppy owner has a contract guaranteeing the puppy's hips to the age of a year, but the guarantee only gives her a replacement puppy and she will have to give this one back. The puppy owner has gotten in touch with the breeder and told her about the puppy's hips. The breeder's response? The puppy owner was told that vets don't really understand GSD hips, that this is a puppy from "show" lines and his angulation is making him appear dysplastic but he really isn't. The breeder then went on to tell the puppy owner that if the puppy is dysplastic it's probably because the owner keeps him in a crate for a few hours two days a week.

The puppy is going to the university clinic for further x-rays and evaluations next month and will probably end up having a TPO done, at a cost of $1200. The owner is committed to the puppy and wants him to have the best quality of life possible, but she is extremely disappointed. She thought she was purchasing her puppy from a responsible breeder and that she was getting a healthy puppy for her money. She realizes NOW that she should have researched more carefully and not been so trusting. Hindsight is 20/20, and she has this difficult choice to make. There is not a chance that the breeder will reimburse her for the cost of this puppy (and the breeder is under no such obligation, according to the contract that was signed). The only thing the breeder will do is take the existing puppy -- which the owner is of course bonded to -- and provide a replacement puppy that could easily have the same problem or worse. And if this puppy HADN'T started limping and been x-rayed before a year old? Then the breeder would be under no obligation to do anything at all, regardless of what the puppy's hips looked like!

This owner is a really nice person -- the sort of person I would adopt a dog to without a second thought. All she wanted was a nice pet GSD, but she was taken in by a smooth-talking shyster and will end up spending far more on this puppy than she would had she waited, done more research, and purchased a responsibly bred puppy.

To anyone out there looking for a pet of any breed -- RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. If the breeder can't or won't show you written health clearances on both parents (and preferably further back), and doesn't guarantee that puppy for life, then RUN DO NOT WALK AWAY and FIND ANOTHER BREEDER. Health clearances are NOT just for show dogs!

Lisa Ochoa

This article is brought to you by Dog-Play reprinted here courtesy of the author, Lisa Ochoa


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Copyright © 1999, Lisa Ochoa     Created: May 25, 1999     Updated November 12, 2007

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