The Butterfly Effect

Among those that tower in summer, it is the smallest things that capture our attention –

and our hearts.

They work to feed, but in the process, they help to pollinate.

Without them – there would be no flowers.

They are not our only tiny visitors. Recently, we hosted five four-month-old puppies – although to look at them, you would think they were perhaps half their age.

“Breeder” rejects (I use that term in quotes because no reputable breeder would recognize this person as such) – they arrived malnourished, unsocialized, without vaccinations, and covered in feces and fleas.


Unsold, they were left to fend for themselves. I shudder to think what their fate might have been.

A few weeks later, they were thriving, happy, loved and loving pups ready to go home.

But these tiny things have a job to do – with your help.

Let their story and near plight inspire you to help pollinate education, please. Share with all you know the horrors of puppy mill breeders. Spread the word about the simple ways to identify and choose a responsible breeder. Create a butterfly effect.

For those who absolutely have their hearts set on a puppy, help us put puppy mill breeders out of business by sharing and embracing these important steps. (For the downloadable brochure, visit here.)

Chose a responsible breeder who:

  • Insists on meeting you and your family in person. This is the most important step you can take to make sure you’re getting a great puppy. Reputable breeders NEVER sell their beloved pups to strangers, pet stores, or over the internet.
  • Raises the puppies in the home, not a kennel. They will happily invite you to see where the pup has been raised. They are clean, well-kept, and have appropriate room to exercise.
  • Ask lots of questions about you, your family and how the puppy will be cared for and raised. They will also freely offer references.
  • Happily and proudly introduces you to the parents of the puppies. By meeting the parents – or, at the very least – the mom – you will get a sneak peek of the adult your puppy will become. The dog parents are healthy and well-socialized and never bred at ages too young or too old.
  • Socializes the puppies to people, places, and things.
  • Has a veterinarian individually examine and vaccinate each puppy and has verifiable proof of this.
  • Knows about the breed’s dispositions to certain genetic problems and has the dogs tested for them.
  • Provides a pedigree prior to purchase so you can search the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) database for health certificates.
  • Has active associations with local and/or national breed clubs, breed activities, agility training, dog shows, etc. They show a real interest in the breed other than selling dogs and they abide by the breed club’s Code of Ethics.
  • A reputable breeder is able to knowledgeably answer all of your questions – and welcomes them.
  • Guarantees that they will take their pups back at any point in their lives – for any reason – demonstrating a lifelong commitment to the puppies and to you.

Take the time to find the right breeder – not just for your dog’s sake – but for the sake of the breeding dogs and future pups to come. If the breeder you find does not meet these standards, walk away. If you see something that warrants a welfare check, contact your local animal control. If everyone followed these guidelines, disreputable breeders would be out of business. The butterfly effect: Changing one thing can change everything.

13 comments

  1. Mary Tonningsen

    Thank you for the wonderful info about how to spot a reputable breeder! And, as always, such beautiful photos to enjoy while learning. 😀

  2. What a wonderful post. This makes me more thankful than ever for Tallulah’s breeder. She meets and rises above all of the criteria you’ve listed. (Trust me, we looked long and hard.) It also makes me so thankful for the beautiful work that Homeward Bound does and for your beautiful garden shared through your amazing photos. Wishing those sweet puppies long lives filled with love.

  3. Excellent post Audrey!! I know some of my friends are obsessive in their disdain for/toward ANY breeder, including the reputable, responsible ones. But for the benefit of those who aren’t, this is great advice for anyone with their heart set on getting a puppy.

    I have shared on both FB and Twitter.

    • I understand the special bond created by raising a pup. There is an equally special – but different one – when you adopt a dog. And there are good, responsible breeders out there. It just takes a little extra work to ensure you have one. And that extra effort can protect so many puppies and dogs from unnecessary suffering. Thank you for sharing.

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