Pandemic Puppies??

Money will buy you a pretty good dog, but it won’t buy the wag of his tail. ~Henry Wheeler Shaw, American humorist

As those of you who regularly read my posts know, my soul-dog Dallas went to the Rainbow Bridge as March 2020 ushered in the COVID pandemic.

At first, I didn’t want a new pup. Didn’t want to look at puppy pictures, didn’t want to reach out to ask breeders questions.

I was grieving, and I knew I needed time to do that properly.

But Domer kept sending me photos of cute dogs he’d see online, and a childhood friend sent me pictures of the new pup she got after her older dog died (reminding me of Baby Dallas and what I was missing).

As the pandemic wore on, it became obvious that only another pup would heal the hurt in my heart, so I tentatively tested the waters.

I was starting from scratch — didn’t even know which breed I wanted.

I browsed the Internet, checked the local classified ads, even looked over dog rescue sites.

Nothing seemed to click.

Perhaps it was too soon, I decided, and stopped searching for a while.

Gradually I’ve returned, but what I’m seeing now terrifies me:

Wait lists full. Puppies sold before they’re born. Breeders who won’t respond to messages.

And puppies that cost at least 100 percent more than they did merely six months ago!

It’s not just in the States either. The UK is having its own puppy shortage and so is Canada.

And the unscrupulous are seemingly everywhere, scamming the lonely during a time when buyers can’t actually visit breeders, see the pups, and look over their surroundings.

What breaks my heart is the fear of what’s going to happen to these “pandemic puppies” once the virus resolves, adult humans return to work, and the kids go back to school.

What becomes of a pup suddenly left home alone for hours on end?

How many people, deciding Fido is too much trouble and expense, will simply drop him off at a shelter, or dump him beside a country road to fend for himself?

A puppy isn’t for a pandemic (or for Christmas); it’s for a lifetime! And it’s tragic when those of us who are ready to make that commitment are shut out by circumstances beyond our control.

Upwards of $2,000 for a companion puppy, not a show dog??

Sorry, that’s nuts!

21 thoughts on “Pandemic Puppies??

  1. That’s terrible. I feel scared for all these puppies (and kittens and guinea pigs, and and and) too. I don’t know how long this pandemic is going to last, but I suspect longer then we hope. Regardless, I’d like to rescue a dog someday, and maybe there will be a lot of them to rescue.

    • I’m kind of on the fence about rescue. The only ones in our local shelter are those with “issues” like biting, aggression, health problems, etc. It might sound selfish, but when you’ve had a “perfect” pet like Dallas, I don’t want to deal with somebody else’s throw-away problem. Maybe if you get them really young. Sadly, Dallas’s breeder is no longer breeding. Sigh.

  2. Debbie, I adopted Maggie May right after the Pandemic started, on April 5th. She’s a two year old stray. Has taken a lot of extra work and hours of potty training. Had to pay the rescue $250 for her, but she’s so loving now. A sweetheart. It was hard then to adopt but it’s a lot crazier now. So many folks I know have adopted, including my daughter. All I can say is don’t give up. Be patient and you’ll find yours.

    • You did get a dog then? Good for you!! My sister rescued a GoldenDoodle and she’s turned into a delightful companion. Like you said, after lots of work. She even takes her to work with her. Thanks for the encouragement, Monica. I’m not big on patience, but I’m working on it, ha!

  3. When I hear, “It’s just a dog,” I want to strangle the person who said it. As you know, we are steadfast in the rescue camp. Although not for everyone, we have been generously rewarded for going in that direction. As the prices for puppies rise so the slimy backyard breeders rush in to fill the void. Most should not be allowed to abuse animals as they do. I hope you find what you are looking for, Debbie.

    • Me, too, John … to everything you said. Every time I turn on the TV, it seems I’m bombarded with yet another “warm, fuzzy” story about the benefits of dog ownership and how many folks are getting pets to help them through the pandemic. Right, just like getting a baby bunny for Easter. But when this thing breaks — and I have to believe it will, eventually — I suspect people like me might find the pickings pretty plentiful!

  4. Oh Debbie, that’s horrendous. To think that people would take advantage of the pandemic; knowing that people want a dog for companionship and love. Can you believe how some people can be!?!? Unscrupulous is right!

    “Upwards of $2,000 for a companion puppy, not a show dog??”

    Like you said, that’s nuts!

    Just don’t you worry, my friend, because I have a feeling that you will find the perfect new dog when the time is right. I just know it. And you’ll look back on this and say to yourself, “Glad I waited because this dog is MINE!”

    Hope you’re having a great Sunday. It’s raining here today, but I’m loving it because it cooled things off dramatically. Besides, I love rainy days.


    • Ron, thanks for your encouraging words! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who thinks that’s a LOT of money for a pet. One breeder I talked with insists on a $500 nonrefundable deposit, just to put a potential buyer on a wait-list — can you imagine??

      I’m glad you’re enjoying your rainy Sunday. Here, it’s gorgeous: clear and sunny. Best of all, we had a cold front come through, dropping the sticky humidity. We’ll be sending that to you next!

      Patience is a virtue, I know. But it’s awfully hard being patient, when I’ve decided I’m ready for a new pup. This isn’t up to me though, so patience I will develop. xo

      • Ok. Me chiming in again. Forgive me. “One breeder I talked with insists on a $500 non-refundable deposit, just to put a potential buyer on a wait-list — can you imagine??”
        Hard to believe but not uncommon these days. Usual especially with Goldens and Labradors breeders. One of my camp families just did this—and have at least a 9-month wait. I think it will be worth the wait and deposit. This family has 3 young boys and this breeder has dogs with exceptional dispositions. The breeder is terrific. I’ve never met a dog with her breeding that I didn’t love. However, I get that this is not for everyone. And it doesn’t have to be!

        • Thanks for your info, Katybeth. Of course I’m not dissing ALL breeders. many of whom expend much time, money, and heart in raising puppies that will be a credit to their breed. Yes, there are many reasons for wanting a companion pet, but I can’t help believing that some people are getting pups for the wrong reasons (or maybe the right reasons at the wrong time).

  5. Ridiculous prices, Debbie! Even when I was looking for non-pedigree kittens eleven years ago (gosh, is it really that long?) it was getting impossible to find any. I know we all have our pets neutered for good reasons, but there does seem to be a real shortage now, and unfortunately it leaves it all in the hands of breeders, not all of whom do it for the love of the animals unfortunately. Maybe a rescue pup after the pandemic is the way to go – I’m sure you’ll find the perfect pup in the not too distant future. 😀

    • Thanks, FF, for your vote of confidence — I hope you’re right! This year has had enough misery to go around for all of us, hasn’t it?? Now, part of me wishes I hadn’t had Dallas “fixed” as early as I did, so maybe he could have fathered a litter and I could have one!

  6. There’s nothing you can do about the situation in general, so rather than focus on what all those other people are doing wrong, just go about looking for your ‘right’ pup. It probably will take some patience, but then again, I remember how Dixie Rose came into my life — she just came running up the steps to get away from the boys who were tormenting her, and the rest is history! If you’re ready, and receptive, you may be found by just the right pup, without having to go looking at all. It really isn’t impossible — and it will make all the waiting worthwhile!

    • Love your story about Dixie Rose, Linda — that would solve a lot of worries, wouldn’t it, if the right pup just suddenly appeared, as if Heaven-sent! While I’d like to have a pup right now, perhaps “now” isn’t the best time — I’m still trying to get over Dallas’s passing, and I’ve got tons of work to do to finish Book Two. I don’t suppose there’s a perfect time for big decisions like this, but I’ll have to rein in my angst a while longer!

  7. Of course, you knew I’d chime in.
    Pandemic puppies have been a thing. And your point is well taken about not bringing a pup into your life casually. The shelters are full of Christmas pups, and the kids wanted a dog, but Mom or Dad didn’t want the ongoing responsibility when the child lost interest. The good news is a lot of Pandemic pups that are coming to camp to play, have found their forever home. The pandemic offers new pet owners time to spend with the newest family member. Pandemic pups come to camp well socialized and have nice manners! Woo hoo!
    Breeders. They are a curious lot (real breeders who care a great deal about their breeding reputation- not backyard breeders who are a whole other story). Real breeders invest a lot of time, money, and love into breeding healthy dogs with the characteristics that people who are buying those breeds want. The only breed a few times a year. And are usually picky about who they sell their dogs too. They seldom make money over the long haul. One litter might make them a few bucks; the next liter costs them hundreds. They test to make sure their breed line doesn’t carry health issues specific to that breed. They take puppies and old dogs back into their homes when things don’t work out. They invest themself in every puppy they sell.
    It does seem like breeders charge a lot. Companion dogs usually start around $2,000. The breeder’s expertise and reputation is included with every dog they sell. They also know most people won’t write a check for $2,000 casually.
    Breed Rescue, adoption, or giving a home to an older dog are all also good options. And frequently a less costly one.
    I know you will find the right pup to give your heart too—or that pup will find you! And that will be a very lucky pup indeed!

    • Kb, thank you for chiming in! You see this subject from a different vantage point than I do, and that opens up my eyes. Dallas’s breeder is still a friend of mine, so I know for a fact how much time and effort goes into breeding puppies to standard, puppies who will be lifelong companions to good homes — and how hard it is for breeders to let even a single pup go!

      The advantage, of course, in buying a purebred dog is that you pretty much know what you’re getting. You can see the parents, evaluate their personalities, and so forth. Too much of what I’m seeing at our local shelter are sad cases — pups ill-bred, with aggressive personalities, missing limbs or other health issues. I don’t want to spend the next 10-15 years caring for a sick dog (I’ve already got my hands full caring for my aging mom!). Maybe breed rescue is the answer — I’ll have to check into that. Thanks for the advice.

  8. Breed rescue can be an excellent option. Or finding a breeder that has a dog that has been returned to them (If I remember you have experience with a breed that was not a fit for your family.) Nothing was wrong with the pup other than it just didn’t work for the family. And the best end result is the pup is returned and rehomed.
    Good Luck!!

    • Great suggestions — thanks again! Yes, I had to rehome an American Eskimo. Beautiful pup, but Domer was terrified of it and we found someone who’d been looking for one forever. Win/win situation!

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