So the lovely Tracey from Pack the PJs has written a guest post for me about her experience of a puppy farm and her lovely dog Jack. I’ve always been appalled by the idea of puppy farming and was keen to make sure we bought our pup from a reputable breeder. I asked on the Parent Bloggers Facebook group if anyone had unintentionally been fleeced by a rogue trader and Tracey came forward.
Here is her story…
“Well my experience dates back a few years now – all the way back to 1998 when I gave up my job in London to move to Cardiff and become a freelance writer/editor. I didn’t really know anyone when I moved, and I wanted to get a dog for company. A freelancing friend had a lovely Cavalier King Charles dog and so I set my heart on getting a Cavalier puppy.
My family have had dogs all my life, so I was really keen to find a puppy to be my new best friend I had been told of ‘dodgy’ breeders and was advised on what to look out for when meeting a potential puppy. I didn’t want to buy an ill puppy so I took it all on board. And when I found an advert for a litter of 8 week old Cavaliers down the M4 in Carmarthen, I arranged for a friend to come with me to be an additional set of eyes.
Looking back I can’t believe how naïve we were. We arrived at a farm. We could hear lots of dogs barking in a farm outbuilding, and as we got out of my car someone came out of the barn closing the door behind them. There were lots of dogs in there. The lady apologised for the barking, saying the dogs were hunt dogs and they always go mad when they hear a car. We accepted that explanation. We were taken into the house and in a corner was a boarded off area behind which was a litter of puppies. They were tiny. Really tiny. But I’d never seen a puppy Cavalier, so maybe they were that small? I wasn’t to know. I specifically wanted a little boy, and there was just the one in the litter, which the lady brought over to me.
“At that point, the cuteness took over and I simply fell in love with him.”
Because I was told to, I asked to see the mum, and when the lady told me the mum was sleeping as the pups were really demanding, I just (stupidly) accepted that. I paid £250 for the pup, who I called Jack. It was only a couple of years later, when Jack was diagnosed with a heart murmur, that I thought back to the day I bought him, and all of the signature puppy farm ‘warnings’ were right in front of me. I reported the ‘breeder’ to Trading Standards and it turned out there were lots of other complaints, but mine was the first for a Cavalier King Charles. Seems she had a lot of different breeds on the go (in that barn no doubt).
Jack was my best pal for 6 years. He travelled everywhere with me. He was a ring bearer at my wedding when he was 3 years old. He was 6 when his heart failed and he died in my arms and it broke my heart. I felt robbed because he died so young and he should have lived for many more years.
“It turns out that Jack was no more than 4-5 weeks old when he came to live with me.”
The lady couldn’t wait to see the back of us. She was meant to post on his pedigree papers, which I paid extra for, but they never arrived and she never returned any calls. I guess I learned a lot from the experience. I’ve had dogs since Jack – two rescue Cavaliers, and now two English Springer Spaniels. When I viewed my springer Izzy as a pup, I had a list of questions with me and a list of things to look out for. Can I see the mum? Can I see the mum interacting with her pups? Can I see the dad if he’s their pet too? Are the pups being well looked after? Do they look healthy? How informative is the breeder? How well does the breeder know the pups and their individual characters?
I often think back to when I got out my car at that farm and heard all that noise. I should have got back in and driven away. But then I think at least I rescued one of them and my life would be a lot poorer had I not had Jack in it for those 6 years.
Puppy farms need to be outlawed. It is such a cruel practice. One of my rescue Cavaliers came to us as an ex-breeding 7-year-old. We called him Scooby – he had never had a name before.
“He spent 7 years of his life in a dark shed, somewhere in Scotland, and was so scared of life and humans.”
We gave him 2 good years before he too had heart failure. There are some cruel people in our world.”
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