The Christmas Puppy

Real Estate Agent with HER Realtors

puppy in stockingDid you ever get a puppy for Christmas growing up?

We did.  When I was in 6th grade, Missy, a Basset Hound, whose real name was Mistletoe became a part of our family. Missy was an AKC registered Basset Hound. We got her from a family who bred Basset Hounds, we adopted Missy and another family we knew adopted her brother Albert.  We actually got Missy weeks before Christmas, a pre Christmas present.  That sweet little droopy eared dog and six kids ranging from eleven to  four, it must have been one crazy Christmas.  She was sweet when she was a puppy.

Chaos  I am not sure it is even right to bring a canine into that kind of Christmas chaos but adopting or buying a Christmas Puppy happens...

The Franklin County Dog Shelter site says:

"Stop. Think. Adopt.  Before you BUY a holiday puppy from a pet store, please take time to look at all the incredible dogs and puppies here at the shelter. Their lives depend on you!"

Saturday heading out of town we saw people picketing Petland at a shopping center in Lewis Center.  According to the Humane Society United States*, most Petland's store puppies are predominantly from puppy mills.  What is a puppy mill? from ActiveRain member Kristin Johhnson

The placards I saw as we drove by were about NOT buying that Christmas puppy from Petland because their dogs are / could be from puppy mills.  As I understand the protest now they were saying adopt from a shelter or rescue group.

Makes sense.

Long ago I used to go play with puppies at the Petland on Bethel Road. Petland is an Ohio based company that sells franchises to stores that are "independently owned and operated" to borrow a phrase from the real estate industry... (maybe all franchises use that phrase.)  Petland is a national chain of pets stores.

Monday I found a post from a Central Ohio resident (and blogger) about the protest in Lewis Center.  Kelley Bell went in to talk to the Petland store manager. Kelley's The Puppy Miill Problem says:

"After speaking to the protesters, I took the time to talk with the folks at the Lewis center Petland store. Danny, the manager, brought out the Petland mascot Safari Sam to greet me and pose for pictures. He said Safari Sam was on his way out to the roadside to wave at the cars, and had been out earlier that morning standing side by side with the protest group. “The protesters show up every year during the holidays, but as you can see, it does not affect businesses at all.” He said with a wave of his hand, indicating the packed crowd of customers in the store. He was very good natured about the protest and adamantly stated that “all Petland puppies come from U.S.D.A. approved breeders.”

Kelley's post goes on to say the phrase "U.S.D.A. approved breeders" is a red flag. 

Gee I never thought of that. 

Missy our Christmas dog turned out to be a psycho dog.  Nature or nurture?  Remember there were six kids between four and eleven years old in the family  and not a dog trainer in the bunch of them.  Missy lived until I was in my late teens or early 20's.

My dog, Buddy is from the Capital Area Humane Society, he's a mutt.  He is wonderful. 

Places to adopt a dog locally include shelters and rescue groups.

  • Franklin County Dog Shelter (link above)


Sunday's Columbus Dispatch article about the Franklin County Dog Shelter was unsettling.  According to Kelley's The Puppy Mill Problem (link above) Mary O’Connor-Shaver of Columbus Top Dogs, who was a spokesman for the protesters said:“Lisa Wahoff, director of the Franklin County Animal Shelter pulled data in 2006 showing that as many as 7 out of every ten dogs coming into the shelter each day could be traced back to Petland sales.”

What can Ohio do to solve the Puppy Mill Problem here? One of the local TV stations recently said our laws about companion animals are not as stringent as states in other parts of the country.

*I am an animal lover but I am not fond of PETA or HSUS.

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Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

We got our dog from a breeder and he is fabulous.  Like in real estate, there are good and bad agents...same is true for breeders. 

I'd get a dog from the humane society in a heartbeat but hubby has asthma and can only handle certain breeds. 


Dec 23, 2008 05:55 AM #1
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

You and the Obama's, thanks Melina. 

I am tempted by a couple of drug dog breeds but I have had two lovely mutts.



Dec 23, 2008 06:12 AM #2
Jeannie Kontis
Lancaster, PA

Maureen, I live in the puppy mill capital of the world!  They just shut down another "breeder" who has been dodging the system for years here in Lancaster County.  Unfortuantely, many of these millers will even fake the actual birthdate so that they can manage to make it in time for the required 8 weeks old in order to sell in time for Christmas, the result being many puppies who are actually much, much younger being passed off as old enough to be sold.  Oh, I could go on and on.  I've lived it, bought a puppymill dog, rescued a puppymill dog, marched against it, and shouted it out loud!  It's amazing to me how many people here in Lancaster don't even see it all around them. 

Dec 23, 2008 01:17 PM #3
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

I have heard the Lancaster area is bad,  I did not know until recently that there are a lot in Ohio.

Dec 23, 2008 09:08 PM #4

Yes, they come from "USDA Licensed" puppy mills.  Funny, they ALL brag about the "quality" of their puppies and  the great breeders that are "stringently" inspected, but they will NEVER give you the name or especially the address of the breeder so you can see for yourself, until you pay that 1200-3000 dollars for that puppy in the window.  What does that tell you?  If they have nothing to hide, why not?  I have heard them say the breeder "wants to remain anonymous".    Why?  If they're so wonderful, you'd think great publicity would be a plus, right? 

Petland buys from the Hunte Corporation, a puppy mill broker.  They claim to do inspections, but they buy thousands of puppies from the mills, see the conditions, pay for them and deliver them (most are sick and many dead on arrival) to Petland stores across the U.S.  Pure spin. 

More than a few Petlands have gone out of business with regular picketing and public educating, now the HSUS has revealed the truth, tracing back puppies to many puppy mills, and every store that sells them trains their employees to lie about it.  That's from countless ex-employees who just couldn't stand the unethical practices and the sick and dying puppies considered only as "stock".

If you have "allergies" and need or want a specific breeed, visit - they work with breed rescue groups all over the country.  Put your zip code in, state what breed, sex and age you are wanting and you can find a wonderful, deserving, homeless animal to fit that bill, no problem. 

Know what's REALLY disgusting?  These new "designer" dogs.  They are just a mix of two breeds, but sold at pet stores for thousands.  Labradoodles.  Bichons mixed with miniature poodles, the list is endless.  For people interested in getting those oh-so-important AKC papers, forget it.  All AKC papers mean is that both parents were the same breed.  It DOES NOT MEAN QUALITY!!!  Some of the worst bred, physically and mentally "defective" (I hate to use that term, but we're talking about breeders' "quality" here) are AKC registered.   The papers are worthless.  The sickest dogs are purebreds.  As a former obedience trainer, I found mutts to be more intelligent and definitely healthier than purebreds. 

If you are getting a companion, please wait until the holiday chaos is over; it's not fair to bring an animal into a house of chaos.  Dogs NEED routine - it's vital to their well being, mentally and physically.  Take your time to find just the right one to adopt.   An animal isn't a car or clothing; you don't have to have him/her the day you look.  If you take your time, spend some time with the animal, ask the rescue about his or her personalities/quirks, etc. you'll end up with the RIGHT pet for you and your family and you'll save a life.   PLEASE DO NOT GET A PET ON IMPULSE!  This is a possible 15-20 year committment!  Dogs need to be with people or other dogs at all times, they are extremely pack oriented.  Leaving them alone all day is like putting someone in solitary with no TV, or phone.  Then people wonder why they bark, chew, dig, etc.   Do your research on exactly what it does take to raise a happy healthy dog that won't end up killed at the shelter.  Only one of twelve dogs in this country gets a permanent home because people are too busy with work and kids to give them what they need, and then they develop behaviour problems.  Take the time to get obedience training.  (That means you have to keep working on it the rest of the dog's life; they're not computer programmed after training!).

I hope this helps.  DON'T SHOP, ADOPT!

Dec 24, 2008 03:18 AM #5
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

Christmas is the wrong time to bring a scared puppy into a chaotic house. There is too much excitement going on: trees inside, lights, loud music, lots of people, interesting decorations that may not be good for dogs to eat or play with.

Please just wait until after the holiday to get a dog and get it from the shelter. There are tons of great shelter dogs that need forever homes. Both of my dogs came from the Schnauzer Rescue of Texas. I would not trade them for anything. They are cute and well behaved and very smart. Sometimes they are smarter than we are!


Dec 24, 2008 03:50 AM #6
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Merry Christmas. I'm totally turned off by comments like that but I will just ignore it.

Dec 24, 2008 06:55 AM #7
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