There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch….or a Free Dog

There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch….or a Free Dog

*climbs up on my soapbox*

I haven’t been on here for awhile.  A little creaky, but still comfy.

I love animals.  I have spent lots of time, energy,  and money to protect and defend all sorts of creatures.  I work with our local Humane Society, I share my home with rescued pets, and my veterinary expenses easily outpace my clothing budget 2 to 1.  I have a special place in my heart for dogs.  If you’ve shared any part of your life with a dog you’re “connected” to, you know what unconditional love is.  If you haven’t, well, I’m sorry.

I’m a pragmatic idealist.  I think every shelter dog deserves a forever home, and I also think there should be spay and neuter laws to cut down on the obscene numbers of unwanted pets.  It’s a simple concept, really.

Last week, hubby and I went to the local WalMart.  As we pulled in, we see a truck parked at the end of the lot, with a dog crate next to it, and a big handwritten poster board sign that said “English Mastiff Puppies”.  Oh, goodie!  I felt my temples begin to throb.  We decide to take a walk and take a look.

Have you priced English Mastiff puppies lately?  A good breeder will charge you around $1800 for show quality.  A good pet quality dog will run you close to $1000.  What’s the selling price of an English Mastiff in a WalMart parking lot?  A hundred bucks, cash.

Let me tell you about these puppies.  Then my rant shall begin in earnest.

There are 4, 2 males and 2 females.  They are totally lethargic, which is understandable since they’re in the sunlight with no shade and no water bowls.  They are 4 weeks old, which is much too young for a pup to be without its mother, who is nowhere in sight.  There are two extremely friendly women sitting in folding chairs near the crate o’ puppies.  We ask about the parents, and are told their “neighbor owns the mom and dad, and just asked us to sell the pups for him.”  Really?  I have had lots of neighbors in my lifetime, and lots of really close friends, too.  Not once has anyone ever asked me to take their litter of puppies down to the WalMart and sell them!  NOT ONE FRIEND, EVER!  I’m beginning to suspect that these nice ladies are either A) liars or B) thieves.

Totes Adorbs!

Totes Adorbs!

The dogs, at 4 weeks, have been weaned.  Both parents are papered English Mastiffs, we’re told, but there aren’t papers on these puppies.   Of course not.  The owners don’t want to make a lot of money, they just want the puppies to go to good homes.  Of course they do.  What incredibly generous people, wanting to spread Mastiff joy!

My husband is now watching for signs that he might have to drag me away before things get out of hand.

The father is a “Napoleon” Mastiff, and the mother is a fawn.  $100.  They need to sell them today before they go home, because the owners can’t keep them anymore.  Why, pray tell?  Too many loud parties?  They’re moving to E. Namibia and can’t take the dogs?

As we were talking with them, with my husband watching me begin to stew, 3 other cars stopped.  First question:  “How much?”  Kids running over to grab these listless pups.  Serenity Prayer, Serenity Prayer, Serenity Prayer.

Let me line out all the things wrong with this picture.

1.  It would be absolute kismet for someone who has done their doggy research and determined that a Mastiff is the dog for them to find these particular people in this particular parking lot on this particular day.  Therefore, I must assume that there are going to be impulse purchases made.  Oh, goody.

2.  There is no such thing as a “Napoleon” Mastiff.  The word is Neopolitan.  If you’re going to sell a dog, please know what kind of dog you’re selling.

3. Dogs should not be weaned at 4 weeks, sold at 4 weeks, or sold before being vaccinated / examined by a vet.

So, the whole “Purebred English Mastiff” story smells to high heaven.

Typical Backyard Breeding Operation

Typical Backyard Breeding Operation

Even more distressing are the people who I’m sure snagged themselves a big ol’ Mastiff dog that day.

Do you know what happens when someone impulse buys a dog, or gets one “free”?  They haven’t done their homework.  They haven’t selected the correct breed for their lifestyle.  They haven’t budgeted either their money for all the needs a pet has, or their time to provide training and nurturing.  The vet visits get put off….maybe not the first one, but over half will stop going before the dogs are caught up on vaccinations or spayed/neutered.  The “cute” wears off quickly when shoes get chewed up or multiple accidents happen on the carpet.  The dog walking stops when it begins to interfere with social schedules or the weather becomes unpleasant.

The end result:  within a year, more than half of these unplanned additions to the family end up in a shelter, or being given away to someone who will make the same emotional, unprepared choice to get a dog.  They are typically not well socialized, not at all trained, not spayed/neutered, not current on vaccinations, and not in good health.

Not the "Happily Ever After" this pup deserved

Not the “Happily Ever After” this pup deserved

By the way, for those of you who think you’re “saving” that puppy, you’re dead wrong.  You’re delusional.  You’re encouraging irresponsible breeding.  If people would stop buying these pitiful animals, then they’d stop breeding them.  Besides, that’s a lame story.  If someone’s first question when approaching a truck with dogs for sale is “How much?” they’re not out to save the puppies.

Don’t be part of the problem, people.  Spay or neuter, or breed responsibly.  Adopt from a local shelter (who, on average, have about 20% purebreds in their kennels at all times).  Choose carefully, after long consideration and sufficient preparation.  You deserve a forever dog, and those dogs deserve a forever family.

*climbs off of the soapbox*

Thanks for listening.


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