If you’re a first time reader of mine, I need to warn you that I am going to make some very harsh statements in this blog. You may have some immediate reactions against me but please know first and foremost, I stand up for dogs. ALL DOGS! I have had pure breed dogs, rescues, mutts as well as “show dogs” and I can tell you – I have and do love them all!
Every so often, I have occasion to go online and look at the various dog/puppy buying sites. I look at rescue websites, I browse our local online buy and sell and just basically snoop around. I’m not sure why really as Tim and I absolutely adore our two Dobermans, Liar and Gia, and we have zero intentions of adding another canine to our home. But I still snoop.
Two weeks ago, I was absolutely MORTIFIED to see a “Sammydoodle” litter of puppies being sold for $4,500.00 per EACH PUPPY!
So let’s talk “breed”. These dogs were called “pure bred Sammydoodles”. I found that interesting as that’s not an actual breed of dog. This is not me being a “pure bred dog” snob – that’s just reality, Sammydoodles are not a recognized breed in any country. This advertisement said that these puppies were “pure bred” because their parents were CKC registered. That is false. Yes, the parents may be pure bred and registered but these puppies are crosses because they come from breeding two very separate and distinct breeds.
Why am I making an issue of this?
Back in the day, cross puppies were typically free to good home or some were sold but at a very minimal fee. These cross puppies were usually the case of an “oopsy litter” and the people were just wanting to find a loving home for them. Where I’m not a fan of irresponsible breeding practices, these people did not create the situation on purpose specifically to fund their lifestyle. They certainly did not take advantage of a Pandemic to “get rich quick” with insanely high cash payments for falsely advertised puppies.
Where Tim and I have had crosses and rescues in the past, we currently have two pure bred Dobermans which come from what I consider to be reputable breeders. Our reputable breeders have done health testing for all the health issues that can be found specific to the Doberman breed. They have shown and proven their dogs to fall within stringent Doberman breed standards, have health guarantees and also offer a “return policy”. Should we ever have a change in situation where we could no longer take care of Liar and Gia, their breeders would take them back and find them homes. In fact, they insist on that so as they can ensure that their dogs are well taken care of.
A high quality bred Doberman can cost you anywhere from $1,500.00 to 2,500.00 depending on a number of different factors. From what I understand, many reputable pure bred dogs can be sold for anywhere from $800 – 3,000.00 depending on breeds. This means those reputable breeders are health testing, showing and proving their dogs meet stringent standards of their breed, and they too likely have return policies but more importantly, they offer help to new puppy people.
So the question becomes, why would ANYONE charge $4,500.00 for a cross bred dog, no health testing, no strict standards and no return policy? Because they can… Sadly, it’s the whole economic theory of supply and demand. This brings me to my main concern.
COVID has changed all of our lives. Many people who worked full time away from home have either moved to home offices due to COVID or have lost their jobs and find themselves at home full time. We’ve been through various forms of lock down meaning we can’t do things like we used to – we’re forced to stay home. It seems like the PERFECT time to get a puppy! I’m here to tell you, I feel this is a very dangerous time to get a puppy!
Let me switch gears for a second…
Earlier this year, my cousin and his wife sadly lost their beloved canine, Meeka due to old age.
As many of you know, this loss can be devastating as it truly does change your life. This loss is felt if you’re in a multi-dog home but I think you also have those other remaining dogs to help you through this time. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying it’s easier – just different. You have more distractions to help get you through the day.
To lose a dog in a single dog home is different. It’s like so much of a presence is gone. The noise is gone, in fact, the house is filled with depressing silence. There’s no one whining at the bathroom door, no one nudging you for a treat, no one laying on the couch or floor next to you. They’re just gone and the emptiness is incredible. When you lose a pet, you truly realize how present they were in your everyday life. The silence is deafening!
Tim and I are quite close to my cousin Johnny and his wife Dawn, to the point where we consider them brothers and sisters. We talked a lot as Meeka was aging as to how life would be and at that time and speaking freely, they weren’t so sure they’d get another dog.
When Meeka passed away, Dawn was working from home due to COVID. The pain of loss was crippling for her as she was home full time and Meeka was not. As Dawn worked in her home office, she stated she’d glance over to the couch in the room and it was empty. Because of working from home, she didn’t have the outside office and the outside co-workers as a distraction. She worked through her day but found herself incredibly lonely.
Together, Dawn and Johnny started looking for a puppy and found just a perfect little guy! They proudly brought their “COVID puppy” home and named him Saxon.
Let’s talk about Saxon.
He’s so stinking cute and has just the most amazing laid back temperament! To say they totally scored with this guy is an understatement!
Dawn explained to me that when they arrived at the location, a young boy came out, went to the barn and brought out a dark coloured puppy. This wasn’t the puppy that Dawn had seen online so the young boy (after looking at the picture on Dawn’s phone) went back and brought out Saxon. Dawn gave the young boy the money and off they drove! That’s it, the end.
I’m quite certain that Saxon was the product of a backyard bred dog for the following reasons:
1) No contract.
2) No health testing, in fact, likely not even a first vet visit.
3) Didn’t see parents (or at least the mother).
4) No interview of Dawn and Johnny to ensure they’d be good caregivers.
5) No idea what breed Saxon is.
6) A lot of barking could be heard from the barn (obviously multiple litters).
Am I here, calling out my cousin for possibly supporting a back yard breeder? Not even close and nor should you. What would have happened to Saxon had they or anybody else NOT bought him?
This is about “COVID” puppies and my theory about what’s GOING to happen with many puppies like Saxon purchased in the last year.
Dawn and Johnny are very loving and learned dog people – this isn’t their first puppy rodeo. They know that Saxon is a cross bred puppy of goodness knows what. They know he may or may not have health issues and they’ve made the lifetime commitment to Saxon. In fact, they specifically didn’t go to a rescue because they wanted a large breed dog and not be forced into early spay or neuter which is known to cause a litany of health issues. They wanted to give their new pup the BEST possible chance at a long and healthy life and they are responsible pet parents!
So why am I even writing this?!?
We have ignorant but business savvy people cashing in on the current “supply and demand” for puppies. They’re breeding anything and everything they can so they can produce as many puppies as they can with the intent to sell these puppies to whom ever comes to their door first, whether they have “dog experience” or not. PLEASE KNOW THIS! I can guarantee that when breeding these puppies, there is very little concern given to temperament, health or YOUR capabilities of raising a puppy.
As I said, Dawn and Johnny are aware of how to “raise a puppy”. Dawn knows that while she’s working from home right now, she may be made to go back to the office at some point. This is crucial!
Dawn has kenneled trained Saxon. She and Johnny have been extra diligent to purposely leave Saxon alone, safe in his kennel so as to prepare him for what MAY come. Every time they’ve returned home, Saxon has been snuggled up in his kennel, he’s been safe, hasn’t destroyed anything and all is well. Saxon will graduate in training and quite possibly may never need a kennel but Dawn and Johnny will have trained him to have a safe place should they require.
Dawn and Johnny are taking Saxon outside their yard for walks, car rides and having him “experience” the world and in the process, socializing him and allowing him to build his self-confidence. They’re doing this “COVID safe” and teaching Saxon what it is to become a well-rounded dog. But how many NEW dog people know to do this?
How many people have gotten these COVID puppies to help pass their day in lockup? How many are first time puppy owners that got one now because they NEEDED companionship? How many are learned, experienced dog people? What happens when our world starts back up to regular business again? What happens to that dog that has been raised to go potty 20 times a day and have “mommy or daddy” there every waking moment? What happens now that they’re alone for 8 hours or more?
Currently many dog obedience classes have been shut down as well as many doggy daycares. For inexperienced dog parents, this is a catastrophe waiting to happen as it’s more difficult to find professional resources to help those that require it. So what’s going to happen now, a few months from now or next year when that cute little COVID puppy is starting to have issues?
What’s the future of our COVID puppies?
For Saxon, I have zero concerns about his future. No matter what, he will be loved and have an amazing life. This isn’t to say he won’t have problems as every dog does at some point, but I’m confident that Johnny and Dawn are committed to working through every hiccup with him.
My concern is focused on COVID puppies that were bought by the people who thought raising a puppy or having a dog was easy. Is that you? Are YOU now second guessing your decision as I raised some concerns that you never thought of? You are now 100% responsible for that life and we all have a moral obligation to take care of those that cannot take care of themselves.
Okay, so I’m sounding a tad preachy, I get it. I’m finding myself very concerned for the future as I’m seeing the potential for a “mass garbage dump” of dogs in one or two years’ time and it breaks my heart.
Sadly, my prediction is, dog rescues better get ready as I do believe there will be a huge influx of dogs “in the system” who were expensive impulse purchases based on zero due diligence being done. These dogs will be difficult because they lack training, socialization, suffer from separation anxiety and are quite likely monsters behaviorally that we’ve created.
What can YOU do? Prove me wrong – I beg of you.
Please teach your COVID puppy what a well-balanced dog needs to know, what I call "the basics":
1) Commands such as (but DEFINITELY not limited to):
2) Proper potty outside (and to be able to hold it if you’re gone).
3) How to be calm when left alone because you’ve gone back to work (HUGE).
4) Socialization and confidence.
5) Basic dog manners.
If you don’t know how to do this – go online and read as there are MANY powerful resources that can assist you. Contact dog trainers and get you and your puppy’s butt to classes or if you can’t due to social distancing, find online classes! Set your puppy up for success.
Please note, this is not limited to just “COVID puppies”.
Tim and I have noticed changes in our dogs. Liar WAS used to being alone from time to time, now he’s “needy”! Tim and I have stepped up our training game as well and reaffirming the above basics because we know both Liar and Gia need it.
Back to the original advertisement I saw. The seller had the eye catching marketing phrase:
“LIMITED ADORABLE PURE BRED SAMMYDOODLES AVAILABLE”…
Here’s my eye catching marketing phrase:
"Limited time offer! Train now before it’s too late. “Behavioral Monster Dog” won’t look good on your dog’s future adoption biography should you decide they were a bad idea when
we go back to "normal".."
Gosh, for my love of canines, I REALLY hope I’m wrong about the future of our COVID puppies…
Karen Grzenda, Author and dog lover
Find my books on Amazon in EBook or Paperback!
Heart Dog – Gunner’s Story (true life novel): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JCDRRK8
The Side Eye Series (adult canine humour series): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B088TTLPGV
Little Paws (children’s canine learning series): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08CB5JHPL