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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Celebrating occassions, but at whose expense?

Recently I had a quiet celebration for 30 years of marital bliss and I bet you’re wondering what my being married for 30 years has to do with dogs. I am not particularly big on what many people consider special occasions, I like them, but I don’t always go nuts about them. I think occasions that are worth all the hoopla we give should be the ‘actual’ day you were born, which doesn’t mean celebrating your ‘birthday’ big time for the next 90 years, unless you make it to a 100, now that’s deserving of a good celebration. I mean the actual day of your birth deserves celebration, one you’ll obviously forget, but your family will remember. The day of your wedding is worth a big bash, providing it’s not shotgun, and the day you die is worth a giant celebratory party for putting up with all the BS life threw at you while you were here on earth. (By the way, for my death celebration I want the party to begin with the song “Mony, Mony” and end with “Who let the dogs out!”)
Occasions that come and go year after year, not such a big deal for me, if you miss celebrating one year, more than likely you’ll catch up on it the next, if not, so what? If you are happy in marriage after thirty years you really don’t need big celebrations and props such as flowers to make it last another thirty. Well, enough of my philosophy, let’s talk dog and why my anniversary reminded me of the following subject.

My 30th wedding anniversary kind of snuck up on me this year because of my flawed short term memory! But there are particular anniversaries that I do remember well. My 25th anniversary is remembered because Peter surprised me with a trip to the Bahamas, now that was worth remembering, but I also remember my 17th anniversary because I surprised Pete with a St. Bernard puppy. I remember Pete’s face as he came around the garage and saw the puppy through the fence for the first time. The way he bent down to greet him and then scooped him up in his arms. The pup had a lot of puppy kisses to give and another thing he had was a bunny hop, the dreaded bunny hop. (What did I do? I thought. Maybe he’ll grow out of it.) A bunny hop for those of you who don’t know, is when the dog moves the back legs at the same time rather than alternate them as he is running, it’s a good indication that there may be hip problems, mainly hip dysplasia which can be debilitating to a dog. How could I have been so stupid as to have purchased a dog from a pet store!

Pete and I had gone into that pet store a week prior to buy some treats and toys for our brood at home when we came upon the St Bernard pups.
“Don’t look!” I said to Peter.
“I’m trying not to.” He replied.
Then the pups started to cry. “Ahh.” we said in unison, and we looked!
“Damn, we almost made it!”

We instantly fell in love but we did have the good sense to walk away that day knowing that pet store pups come from puppy mills. It does not matter that they have an AKC registration which can be easily acquired as long as you have two parents that are AKC registered. Once you have registered parents then you can register their litters and then the inbreeding starts, years and years of inbreeding, the money rolls in for the puppy mill owner from the sale of the pups, and the pups get little to no care or contact with people until they are sold to unsuspecting families.

We both knew better and had the sense to walk out of the store that day with only dog treats and toys, but as the days passed we both spoke of the dreams we were having nightly of that little St Bernard puppy in the store. So with our anniversary coming up, I went back to the store and bought that puppy who later we so fondly named Forrest Gump. Gump for short.

While at the time I certainly did regret that I contributed to such a horrible money making outfit, regretted that such a purchase keeps puppy mills in business, and regretted that the pup, like most puppy mill pups, will probably suffer ailments all of its life, I tried to boost myself up from doing this dastardly deed by telling myself that if someone else bought him , someone who did not have much money for vet care or had no knowledge of the breed, then the pup may be banned to a life outside in the cold elements and his care may go by the way side. After all, I had witnessed many people buy giant breed dogs which are cute when they are little , but once they grow up and become to hard to manage, their whole life as it pertains to the family can suddenly change. No longer are they taken for walks or car rides, no longer are they kept inside the home with the family, but they become banned to outside life, sometimes chained to a dog house.

I knew in my heart how I have always treated my dogs and although Gump did turn out to be a deformed dog, he would remain inside with the family and be given the love and care he deserved.

Gump was indeed a dog that you would remember after meeting him. His giant size, his humped camel shaped back, the beautiful mask on his face, and his personality which tugged at each and every person’s heart that he met, only made you love him more.
If you were a visitor in my home and took a seat on my couch, Gump would have a seat next to you, his hind legs on the couch and his front legs on the floor. He was gentle and kind and a loveable lug on four legs.

Gump’s life was taken at the tender age of five by bone cancer, a victim of being a puppy mill puppy, but he is well remembered by us and hopefully we gave him the best life possible. I envision him now running full force in heaven , something he could not do here on earth.

So there it is, my anniversary memory, a life given and taken away, and hopefully a warning to everyone about where that cute little puppy in the pet store, that you probably paid a pretty penny for, likely came from. Below you will find sites on puppy mills and I will warn you that they are graphic, but they are real and a part of our life.

Puppy mill video-

Inside a puppy mill

Pet store double talk.

1 comment:

  1. This is something I did not know! I lost my puppy that was purchased from a pet store! thank you for sharing this! Roy