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2007-08-22 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

by Joanne Anderson

"How much is that doggy in the window?" DON'T ASK. Reputable breeders do not sell their puppies to pet stores. Puppy millers and backyard breeders do. We the consumers create the market for the pathetic pet store pups. Step back and look at the big picture if no one would buy, the puppy mill atrocities, in time, would stop. The law of supply and demand would score one for compassion.

Perhaps the following poem (author unknown) found online better illustrates why boycotting the stores ends the suffering for both the pups and their poor "breeding machine" parents who often endure a lifetime of abuse: PET STORE PUPPY I'm a little puppy, so cuddly, sweet and small I live inside a cage you see at a Pet Store in the mall. I'm not an only puppy, my sisters are all here. My brothers, too, except for Ralph, who died coz he was scared. It's lonely here at nighttime when all the lights go dark, We tremble in our cages and we whimper and we bark. But no one comes to hold us or to pet our fears away. We sit all night in terror 'til the store opens next day. We don't remember Mama, left so far behind. She did the best she could for us 'til the Man said, "It is time." He crammed us all in cages too small for us you see. We rode for hours; we could not help but lay in poop and pee. And now we sit in a Pet Store where kids taunt and squeeze. They do not hear our whimpers or understand our pleas. We're miserable and it's scary here; we all would rather die, But since we don't we do our best to run away and hide. I know you think my story too sad to leave me be. You want to take me home with you, a happy little puppy. But please, though it is fearful to live here against our will. If you take me that leaves a spot another pup will fill. You can stop our suffering but not by taking us home. You must be strong and leave us here, unsold and all alone. For if you do not take me, then another pup won't come And maybe he won't be shipped so far away from home. Though some of us may not survive the cycle 'ere it falls, If we don't sell, they won't need more puppies in these halls. And if they need no puppies then the Man will not bring more. Eventually it can all stop! You CAN close the door. So when you see a puppy face, so sad and sweet and small In a cage at a Pet Store in your neighborhood shopping mall, The best thing you can do for him is leave him sitting there. That's the best way you can tell all dogs how much you care.

It's so hard to walk away from the stores especially when you've looked into those soulful eyes. I'm just as guilty- I've sent people into stores to purchase particular pups just to get them out bad situations; I've helped place store rejects, but that doesn't solve the big problem nor does that save the parents used over and over who never have a chance to escape the puppy mill.

Don't fall for the sales pitch. The store pups, pedigree or faux breed, were produced solely for profit. Designer dogs are overpriced mixes- a marketing scam. The best 1 of a kind throw away the mold mixed breeds are in the pound. Reputable breeders are responsible for the pups they bring into this world for their whole life. They would NEVER put them in a store. Too many people buy pet store puppies on impulse without considering the heartache of puppy mills or with no knowledge of the breed they are embracing. A dog is a 15 year commitment, not a whim.

If you want to add a dog to your family, adopt one from a shelter or rescue organization, or purchase one from a reputable breeder. Do your homework first to make sure this breed's needs match your lifestyle. Good breeders will put you through the wringer before you get one of their precious dogs. The national AKC rescue for each breed can advise you and point you in the right direction too. Your perfect pet is out there. Patience and persistence will pay off for both the dog and you.

Visit Babylon Town Shelter (643- 9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon for a large selection of adoptable dogs and cats. "Petey" the 8 year neut. Dalmatian in Cage 3 is a victim of divorce. His former owner wrote that this sweetheart Dal is good with kids and other animals. Petey knows sit, down, come, and stay. His breed is prone to urinary stones. Years ago he had a procedure- permanent urethrostomy- to let future stones pass without obstruction. "June" #18689 in the Cat Colony needs a change of luck too. This darling black & white cat was abandoned outside the shelter with her kittens in April. At the time she was a baby herself. I named her for "Adopt a Cat" month which has long since passed.

•Male Dogs: a tall, dark, & handsome German Shepherd Cage 41; nice Chow mix Cage 13; Hound mix Cage 9.

•Female Dogs: "Lady"- buff Cocker Spaniel Cage 95; "Zoey"- black Lab mix Cage 93; Doberman-Cage 67.

•Cats: consider a member of the terrific trio- "Faith, Jewel, Cosmo"- also a declawed orange Adonis.

•Dog Rescue, Sidewalk Sale, 8/25, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Back of Cozy Pet, 765 Deer Park Ave., North Babylon.

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