I am so glad I don’t have any puppies available right now and you should be too.
There. I said it. Now let me explain ….
Since we went into lockdown because of Covid-19 at the beginning of March, I’m getting over a dozen puppy inquiries every day (the norm is 10 per week). It seems that since they’re home, everyone thinks it’s a good idea to get a puppy. But is it really? For me as a breeder, it’s overwhelming having to reply to each and every person but it’s also really scary so I’m glad I don’t have any puppies available and a call I got yesterday is a perfect example of why …
The caller was the really sweet mom of a 9 year old boy who was just trying to make her son happy. She told me how her son is lonely and she wants to get him a puppy for company. As the mom of an only child I totally get it, my daughter spent countless hours with her dog Zoe growing up. The scary part came when she told me how her son has a big group of friends he’s used to being with, how many sports he plays, and how disappointed he is that he probably won’t be going to camp this summer. The more she spoke the more glad I was that I don’t have a puppy for her.
Think about it, when things go back to normal, which they will someday, what will happen to the puppy who was raised with his/her family at home 24/7 and is now being left alone for the majority of the time? Talk about separation anxiety (which I will discuss in my next post, Raising a Pandemic Puppy).
And let’s face it, this quarantine isn’t easy on any of us but as a parent can you imagine having to work from home, help your kids with their school work, entertain them, do your usual household chores, AND train a puppy? I need a nap just thinking about it LOL.
Please don’t think I’m picking on parents because I’m definitely not!!! This work from home thing isn’t easy in an adult only home either. From what I’m seeing in my own house, the lines between work and home are not just blurred, they’re gone – there’s no such thing as a “workday” or “weekends off”, calls and emails are being sent and answered all day every day. So if you’re thinking of getting a “pandemic puppy” you need to consider if your work schedule allows you to stop every two hours to take a puppy out to potty train and exercise him/her? Does it allow you time to interact with and bond with your puppy? Our 15 year old Yorkie, NikNak, is a welcome participant in my husband’s Zoom meetings (and if he’s not there everyone asks for him LOL) but not every company is pet friendly – is yours?
As a breeder, I never had to worry about a family’s financial situation. Quite frankly it’s none of my business, if someone could afford one of my pups then I assumed they could afford to take care of my puppy properly. But raising a puppy for the first year is expensive and with so many people out of work right now and more losing their jobs every week, financial security is now something that a breeder does have to think about when deciding if a particular family is right for our puppy. And it’s something a family needs to give a lot of consideration to as well.
The last thing I want is for someone to have to give their puppy back to me because they can’t afford to feed or take care of him/her – how heartbreaking would that be??? So I stocked up on food, flea and tick meds, and other supplies so I can help a family if the need should arise rather than taking their puppy back. But not every breeder could do what I did and I’m sure it didn’t even occur to many breeders that this is something they should do. Did yours? Can and will they help you if necessary? Would you even be comfortable asking? (my puppy families should be answering a resounding YES to the last two questions)
And what about the risk that the puppy’s primary caretaker will get the virus? Families need to take their level of risk into account when thinking about adding a puppy to their family right now. Are you an essential worker or does your lifestyle make you more likely to be exposed to coronavirus than those of us who don’t have to leave our homes? If so, is there someone else in the home, a friend or family member who can care for the puppy while their family recovers if they do get sick?
The last thing someone should consider is the increased chance of contracting the virus getting a puppy will cause for an at-risk family member. Think about it – you will be walking your puppy multiple times a day and taking them to the vet for shots and wellness exams which can put you in contact with other people and increase your chance of being exposed to COVID-19. Do you know how to keep yourself safe when doing these things? Do you have access to the personal protective equipment (like gloves and masks) you need to do it?
For some families it may be better to wait until after the pandemic to get a puppy (and rather than me having to tell them that, I’m glad I get to say I don’t have any pups right now). For those who still think now is the right time to add a puppy to their family, my hope is that you will do your due diligence, not just in finding a reputable breeder but also by planning for your puppy properly and making sure you have a support system in place in case you need it.