Frank Barks in to Ask for Help Finding His Girlfriend a Maltese
Frank barked in for some help. I'll give him mine but if you want to and can help him, please howl in!
My girlfriend Laurie has hypotrofic cardiomyopothy (HCM) and is not very happy as a result of her illness.The only true joy i can see in her eyes is when our neighbors Maltese wonders over to our steps for a visit.If any one on this site knows where I can buy an "inexpensive"puppy I would be forever greatful.
First of all I have to say you're a sweetie for wanting to help your girlfriend this way! Lots of barks and tail-wagging!
As for the advice:
1) There is no such thing as a truly inexpensive puppy. All dogs require some level of upkeep, including healthy food, vet visits, shots, etc. That said, for anyone who truly loves dogs, the expense is something to budget for, not a reason to avoid having a dog or cat.
2) You might want to consider a slightly older dog because there may be fewer training issues. Depending on the extent of your girlfriend's illness, she may not feel like going through the whole puppy thing.
3) Whether you're looking for a puppy or an older dog, you might want to consider talking with a Maltese rescue group. They won't charge you a huge amount for a show dog you don't want to show. Most rescues also temperment test their dogs and will be able to find the right dog for your girlfriend. The rescuers can be a great source of information on what to expect with your new Maltese. There are a number of very dedicated Maltese rescues around the country.
4) If you go to a good breeder, that breeder will have to charge you more than a rescue because he or she has their own expenses to maintain their breeding program. On the other hand, if they are an ethical breeder, they may have a non-show quality puppy they want to place in a good home. The breeder will expect you to sterilize the puppy to prevent him or her falling into unscrupulous puppy mill hands. The breeder will also be a great source of information on your new furbaby. Check your local or national Maltese breed site for a breeder near you. Check the breeder's references, btw. Talk with other people who have gotten puppies from him or her to make sure you are dealing with a good breeder, and not a backyard breeder or puppy mill.
5) If there is no local Maltese rescue near you, check your local shelters or general rescue groups. If you are dealing with a shelter, you may need to go to the shelter and look at the dogs to decide if they actually have a Maltese. Many of the larger shelters may not tell you over the phone if they have a Maltese available. They aren't trying to be rude; oftentimes they just don't have the time to check for you.
6) DO NOT buy a puppy from a petstore, someone selling puppies at a flea market, selling puppies off the side of the road or any situation where you cannot be assured that the breeder or rescue group has the dogs' interest first and foremost in mind. What could appear to be an "inexpensive" dog at first glance could end up costing you and your girlfriend thousands of dollars in vet bills and, even more importantly, massive amount of emotional pain as the dog suffers and perhaps meets an early death.
Frank, I'm sure there's a lot more I could or should say, but that should get you started.
How about it Dogsters? What do you want to tell Frank? Bark in!