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Monday, January 4, 2010

A Puppy Story - Part 1

It is always interesting to me how people acquire their puppies - whether through a rescue, a breeder, or the neighbour down the street. Maggie was my first purebred dog. All of the other dogs I had growing up were farm dogs, or mixed breed dogs given to us or dogs that just happened to end up with us. When we got Maggie, I really knew nothing about buying a purebred dog, except that getting a puppy from a pet store was bad. So once we decided to get a Bernese, we looked in the most logical place - The Dogs in Canada Annual. This must be a good place to find breeders right? There was a breeder listed that was close to us, and they happened to have puppies so we went to visit. The puppies were 5 weeks old and had never been in the house before - although they were cute, I knew that this wasn't right. Moving on. We found an ad for someone not close to us and gave her a call. She was super nice, had answers for all our questions and sent us information on her dogs, had a health guarantee on all her puppies and surprise! she just had 2 litters born and we could have our pick of the girls.
We had a hard time picking a puppy from just pictures, so we picked the only puppy that had freckles on her nose.

Maggie flew home to us when she was 10 weeks old. She popped out of her crate, tail wagging, ready to be part of our family. She was a bit wild, a lot naughty and very cute.
It was only after we got Maggie that I learned more about where she came from and how the questions I asked her breeder where probably not the right ones. For example - a dog tattoo has a series of letters and numbers that represent specific things. The first 3 letters are the unique combination that belong to a particular breeder. Following this is a number -each puppy is given a number determined by the order it was born in the year. The next letter represents the year that the puppy was born - eg.Maggie was born in 2005 so all puppies born in 2005 would have the letter "R" at the end of the tattoo. I didn't know how to read a tattoo until after we got Maggie. The number in her tattoo is 40. This means she was the 40th puppy born to her breeder in 2005. Maggie's birthday is February 14th. 40 puppies born in the first 6 weeks of the year. I figure that by the end of 2005 that over 100 puppies came from Maggie's breeder. I have found out several other things as well since we got Maggie, but nothing compares to the response I got when I emailed to tell Maggie's breeder that she had been diagnosed with Mast Cell Cancer. There was no response. Nothing at all.


  1. Wow. Thats a lot of puppies. Thats one irresponsible backyard breeder/puppy mill.
    But Maggie has a good home now, so even if she has cancer, she'll live a good old life.

  2. Yea, Ive learned a lot too in the last few years about getting a puppy. I think I finally got it right this last time. LoL Diana

  3. yeah it's pretty amazing that people can appear to be responsible and know how to answer questions the "right" way. Maggie is a great dog depsite her beginnings, and well, I'm sure you've learned since then not to pick a puppy based on freckles. :o)

  4. wow the first part of this post is exactly like when we got Jane ... "don't buy from a pet store" LOL

    we picked her because nobody wanted an all white dog, so we took her :)

    I love your wild girl, and everything happens for a reason, ans she was meant to be with you!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I'm pretty new around here, so this might be a dumb question, but is the cancer a new thing? Or old news? Either way, I hope she's OK.
    It's unfortunate about the breeder. I don't show, so I get all of my dogs through rescues, but it's frustrating to hear how many puppies one breeder can produce (and how little support they offer the owners of those new puppies)