|Barked: Sat Jan 22, '11 5:40am PST |
|And now to play devil's advocate a little, lest we go to extremes of villainizing the OP's cousin.
I really don't think it's so much an issue of finance and priorities, here. Were this dog from a responsible breeder we'd not be quibbling the price or trying to decide for her where else that money might have gone. That it costs fees one might pay for a show quality prospect from a quality breeder in some cases to obtain a mix one could get for a song from a shelter rankles us because we are dog enthusiasts and we recognize the swindle.
It is hard to get others to recognize that swindle though, without having to give them a crash course into the heart of Dogdom that may or may not take. The breeders don't help. You wouldn't believe some of the things they tell people (well, okay, you'd believe it, but you'd roll your eyes!). And they seem so SINCERE, and they obviously love dogs! And they are Bob's friend from the bank so they must be nice. How do you argue with that, if an understanding of a deeper love of Dog is not within this person to have?
Many back yard breeders don't recognize themselves as swindlers, because they honestly think that a quality, ethical breeder charges what they do to make money. They assume the ethical breeder does exactly what they do, that breeding is no more than what they put into it in terms of thought and planning and research and work and money, and they think to themselves "well my dog is a sight cuter than them dogs from fancy kennels, (s)he'd make way nicer puppies, and if that's what they charge for a pup, why, I should charge that too! My puppies are every bit as wonderful and if that's the going rate, that's a racket I should be in on!" If someone tells them otherwise? Well they're just elitists, trying to trick them out of breeding because, well, probably because they're jealous! What do you need all them ridiculous tests for? Hips indeed! My dog walks fine!
For breeders like this, they then perhaps lose or come close to losing that beloved pet, and decide never to breed again (I have known a byb like this!). For others they breed for years without seeing a consequence, and consider themselves to have done a good thing in sharing their awesome dog with friends and friends of friends, and making some extra cash in the meantime, without ever knowing about the heartaches of unhealthy dogs or puppies of theirs that are now dead, or in a shelter, or locked somewhere 9 hours of every day without love. And with no thought to where else their buyers could have gone for a puppy, like a shelter.
Others know or have a vague idea of all of this and just plain don't give a rat's patooty.
In all cases though, the gullible buyer has a hand in things, but I would condemn them secondarily to the breeder. Ignorance plays a role here, for both parties, and willful ignorance is frustrating because while the people involved are either learning lessons the hard way or else not learning and continuing to make the same mistakes over and over, it is of course the DOGS who are paying the price, how many times over until some force is able to teach the ignorant, if anything ever does?
At any rate, in this case what's done is done. Convincing the cousin not to repeat her actions will be up to time and perhaps a puppy with problems. Lighting into her at every opportunity is only going to put her back up. Especially if she likes this dog, and who isn't going to fall in love with a little bundle of fluff? How dare you insult Mr. Mittens, he's darling! How can you say there are things wrong with him?
The way to go about it is to be more subtle and make it into her own idea. Try to get her to take her little bundle to puppy socialization classes. Being exposed to other dog owners and dogs is a good start. Over time if problems crop up you can gently steer towards ideas like "oh yes, that's genetically common in yorkies/poms/both, it's something breeders can test for before they breed their dogs to see if they'll pass them on," and from there she ought to at least be curious about how to go about asking for these tests from her next breeder. Better still she might start to see mutts or maybe even purebreds in the classes who act so charming, and ask the owners where they got them, and hear "from the shelter," and perhaps not dismiss shelters so quickly.
That kind of thing. It's a damn shame, but again, there's only so much YOU can do, you can't learn FOR her. My sister has to learn her own lessons about the little dogs she loves so much whose bladders and kidneys don't work right. Your cousin is going to have to learn that being a dog owner is more than paying an exhorbitant amount for a live animal she expects to be like a stuffed toy.
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