On Christmas day of 2007, while driving home from my grandparents’ house, my mom and dad spotted some people on the side of the road selling a variety of puppies. My mom called me, told me to grab my cash and head that way to check them out. When I got there, they had the most adorable little husky mix sacked out in a cage under some toy breeds that looked more like rats, so I asked to play with her for a bit before I made a decision. I had the exact amount in cash that they were asking for her and knew it had to be fate. I took my puppy home, named her Hurley and thought that life could get no better than that.
Boy was I ever wrong. She went from bouncing off of the walls with energy, happy, lovey puppy to lazy, sickly, hardly eating puppy- then to OH MY GOSH something is terribly wrong with puppy in less than a month’s time. I was at a volleyball tournament when she had her first seizure and my mom called the vet. When I got home, my mom and dad sat me down to tell me the news that my Hurley had distemper and probably would not live much longer.
For those of you that don’t know, distemper is a viral disease that slowly affects every organ system in the canine (or feline) body; it is curable but often the symptoms emulate other diseases so vets will treat the symptoms which only prolongs the inevitable. Once it attacks the central nervous system (which causes the seizures) it is pretty much game over. The virus is airborne and spreads quickly in kennels and puppy farms where my dog was apparently bred. I will not go into all of the horrific symptoms because it was hard enough to witness it happen to my own puppy… you can read about it all here: canine distemper
Needless to say, my vet did everything that he could to try and keep my puppy alive, daily shots, tons of oral medications and misery on everyone’s expense. We kept her there after hours, before hours until she finally, seeing that we were giving up, gave up and passed away in my mother’s arms on my mom’s birthday… not even a month after I bought her.
Now, there is a ban on “breeders” selling puppies on the side of the road within the Houston city limits, so these people started venturing out to smaller suburban areas to sell their diseased dogs… we cannot get a ban in a city of less than a certain population, so it’s not against the law for these people to solicit disease on the street corners… it’s canine prostitution!!!
If ever you want to buy a puppy, please PLEASE, DO NOT EVER buy one off of the side of the road or a mall/random pet store. Be sure that if you buy from a breeder that they are willing to show you where these dogs are kept as well as both parents. Make sure that they have medical records with vet phone numbers that you can call to verify. Update their shots on time and keep the records, just in case. Adoption agencies and your local vet are two great alternatives to spending a fortune on a pre-diseased pet that you will grow to love and then potentially lose in a very short amount of time. Some people are fortunate, but others… not so much.
STOP PUPPY MILLS… together we can make it happen.