During Corona times, adoptions rates have gone WAY up and it’s obvious why – there is no better friend than a pup. As a true, lifelong crazy cat lady, I can’t believe I’ve even become this psycho dog lover! Yet here I am. Our sweet Brody boy has brought us SO much joy and today was celebrate his “Gotchya Day!” Seems only appropriate to share our puppy experience with you!
Perks of Getting A Pup!
Alex and I had been talking for many years about getting a puppy as soon as we got married. And we are SO glad we did! I cannot begin to tell you the joy that our Brody boy has brought us every single day. It’s been a year to the day now that we’ve gotten our sweet boy and he has cured every bad day, settled every argument, and put smiles on our sad faces in any and every situation. I now understand therapy dogs. There’s nothing like it!
What To Expect
Raising a dog is NO joke! It is a huge responsibility and financially taxing. But it is SO very worth it. Expect to get a stain or two on the rug and to be up at various hours of the night in the first few weeks. Be prepared to learn how to have good follow through for training and keeping a watchful eye on them at all times, making sure your home has been “puppy proofed” by hiding wires, etc. It truly is like having a baby! All of this, I promise you, is worth it. We had so much fun in the very beginning, even despite some messes, that it was never even a burden for us – rather only a joy!
Something that helped me understand exactly what I was getting into and even taught me how to train was reading! Once our application was accepted by our breeder, I began to research how to raise, train, and care for a pup. Call me a nerd, but I would NEVER have survived without this book! It was my BIBLE when Brody was a babe and I still refer to it now for helpful lessons in training and to better understand my pup.
Breeder vs. Rescue
Let me start by saying I never thought I would be someone to adopt a puppy from a breeder. I always believed strongly in rescuing for all of the obvious reasons: adopting dogs who may otherwise be euthanized, freeing them the pound, giving a loving creature a home who may need a little extra love, some are rescued from abusive owners…the list goes on. They don’t call it a rescue for nothin! I love the idea of helping an innocent animal and providing a loving home for them.
That being said, having never had a dog, I didn’t feel confident in how I would feel about having a dog in the first place. Ultimately, I thought it would be wise to know what kind of dog I would be signing up for, whereas rescues can be unknown mixes. Unfortunately, my apartment building has a weight/size limit for dogs so I needed to know the exact breed to better estimate how big my pup would get.
How to Find a Breeder – Beware of Puppy Farms!
After researching different breeds, we landed on small golden retriever mixes. Specifically, the “mini golden retriever,” which is a mix of golden retriever and cocker spaniel. These have always been two of my favorite breeds, especially golden retriever! I did consider a Golden-doodle, but couldn’t get Alex on board with a poodle mix.
Once we agreed on a breed, we started to simply google it to get a feel for what and who was out there! Uncomfortable with the idea of “buying a dog online,” I started researching articles about how to find a breeder and how to avoid puppy farms, or sources in general that are selling puppies, but likely lack good ethics. To sum up my research – if it seems too easy or too good to be true…it probably is! Don’t fall for the websites that say you can “add to cart” or “apply now!” If it’s easy – RUN! Find someone who questions you. It means they care about where their precious pups are going.
At one point, I found another breeder in South Dakota, with relatives in Tennessee, selling Mini Golden Retrievers, calling them “Dakota Sport Retrievers.” I reached out via email, but received vague, short responses. This was the first sign of a breeder I wanted no part in. I then began looking through their pictures, which seemed to home puppies and dogs mostly outside of the home, not necessarily outdoors all the time, but the dogs were SO many that it was clear they were not considered family members of the breeders.
I LOOOOOOOOOOVED our breeder because one of the first things she did was have me fill out a questionnaire that would allow her to determine if I was fit to be a dog owner. She facetimed me, spent as long as I needed on the phone to ask her a thousand questions, and most importantly – began to tell me about my future pup’s parents – who were members of their family. Brody’s mama was one of their puppies who they kept and gave to the breeder’s brother. His dad was one of my breeder’s dogs and it was stressed that they are considered family members. This is was so very important to me ethically, but also I have read about maltreatment of mothers, which can affect how they treat their babies.
I cannot speak enough about how much we love our boy. Getting a puppy was the greatest experience and we couldn’t imagine life without our Brody boy!