It’s happened again, a story about Newfoundlands living in deplorable conditions, used strictly for breeding for profit and finally being surrendered due to the owners declining health. These poor dogs lived outside in extreme heat, never received any veterinary care and didn’t even have names. They were filthy, matted and in poor health. They are all in fair condition but thankfully are under the care of a Newfoundland rescue group. They have been bathed and groomed, probably for the first time in their lives and will be nurtured back to health before being adopted to loving families.
I understand people wanting to buy a puppy for their family. Maybe there is a specific breed they have an affinity for, they don’t want to bring a dog with “baggage” into their family, or any other reason that makes sense for their family. I don’t take a strict adopt-don’t-shop stance, just shop responsibly with care and thought. I love the Newfoundland breed. Their size, their looks, their loyalty, their need to work and their gentle, sweet personalities. I have had two Newfies that have come directly from breeders and two Newfies that have come from rescue groups. Our very first dog came from a huge Chicago shelter. He was a scraggly terrier mix who still holds a very special place in our hearts. I think there is room for these different preferences, but the caveat to that is that no dog should be used for breeding with no care for their well-being.
If you want a pure bred puppy, do your research on breeders and research more than one. The first step is to go to the national website of the breed you have chosen. They will have a list of approved, reputable breeders. A reputable breeder will want to meet you to determine if your family is the right placement for one of their puppies. They will want to get to know you and form a relationship that can carry on through the life of the dog. They will most likely choose which puppy they will place with your family based on your family dynamic and the puppy’s personality. After you have found a breeder that you like, you will probably have to wait a while for your puppy. You might get turned down, don’t be offended, the breeder just wants the best for their puppies and wants to make the best placement possible. They will always want the dog returned to them if circumstances change and you can no longer care for the dog. They will make every effort with their breeding to ensure a healthy litter. They will also provide appropriate vaccinations and health screenings before sending them to their new homes. A reputable breeder has nothing to hide and will want you to come to their property to meet their dogs and puppies. IF YOU CAN’T MEET THE MAMA , DON’T BUY THE PUPPY! A reputable breeder WILL NOT sell to pet stores or on-line because they will want to know where their puppies are going.
Red flags will include releasing a puppy prior to 8-10 weeks of age (this varies by breed and recommendations stated by the national breed group should be followed), advertising “rare” colors that don’t comply with breed standard and offering to meet you half way so that you don’t see the breeder’s property. Colors that don’t comply with breed standard are mismarks and with ethical breeding shouldn’t happen. Deliberately creating rare colors is careless and is generally done for profit only. Don’t buy a puppy from a pet store or on-line. Receiving AKC registration papers does not mean that puppy has been carefully and ethically bred. For the NCA rescue region that handled Annie’s group, 1% of Newfoundlands come from reputable breeders and 4% are strays. The remaining majority come from backyard and commercial breeders (these breeders provide pet stores with their puppies).
If there is a breed you love and you want a puppy or dog right now, Petfinder is a good resource. I found Annie and Charlie on Pefinder by searching for Newfoundlands. Many, but not all, rescue groups and shelters will post animals that are ready for adoption. You can also contact the specific breed rescue group in your area. You will need to fill out an application, have a conversation with the person who is fostering or caring for the dog and will probably have to have a home visit before you are approved. These dogs have already come from a circumstance that wasn’t good for them. The people who have taken them in will want to make every effort to ensure that they are going to a good home, they don’t want them to end up in another inappropriate situation.
Shelters all over the country are overflowing with animals looking for good homes. Puppies get adopted pretty quickly and might not be available, but there are so many rewards to bringing in a dog that is a little older (2 bonuses of an older dog are easy house training and no chewing). Many shelter dogs are mixed breed and will live very healthy lives because they haven’t been improperly bred by an unethical breeder. Our first dog Bogart lived to be almost 15 and didn’t have any major health issues. They are all looking for love and often times you will find your perfect pet by paying them a visit and looking into their eyes. Many people who have found their beloved pets at a shelter say they knew immediately which one would be the one. Adopting from a shelter is one of the many steps to eliminating the breeding abuse of animals. If the demand isn’t there, puppy mills and unethical breeders will go out of business!
Pets change our lives and bring so much to our families. They are forgiving and loyal and will love you unconditionally forever. All they want in return is love and kindness. They are a big responsibility and the decision to get a pet should not be made lightly. Annie was the most challenging dog I’ve ever dealt with. She had lived her whole life producing puppies with little to no human interaction. She had never learned to trust because she had been so neglected and had no reason to believe that she could be cared for in a loving manner. She is now my constant companion and craves as much attention as possible. I can’t imagine my life without her. Shelter, health care, food and water are the obvious needs to be provided but attention, affection, and engagement will guarantee the best friend you’ve ever had, for life.