My boyfriend and I decided we wanted to get two puppies to keep us company. He decided on a Beagle and I wanted a Boston Terrier. We heard Petfinder.com was a little sketchy and to check out Puppyfind.com. After spending time researching the breeds we wanted and going through hundreds of puppies we found the two we wanted. Winston’s breeder was licensed and seemed legitimate so we decided to go through with the transaction. Both puppies were in Illinois, one in Chicago and the other in Collison. We live in Milwaukee, WI so picking up the Beagle in Chicago wasn’t too big of a deal. Going down to Collison, was about a four hour drive from Milwaukee and we were stopping to pick up the Beagle on the way, so we were anticipating the drive to be longer due to puppy bathroom breaks along the way. Everything went well picking up Odie, the Beagle and we finally made it down to Collison to pick up Winston, the Boston Terrier around 5pm.
When we got to the breeder’s residence, it didn’t look like anyone was home so we called her. She finally returned our call a bit later and said she was running late and her son would be there any minute. We waited about half an hour before anyone showed up. While waiting from the car, we were looking around the property. The area that was fenced in attached to the house looked very muddy/dirty (it was the end of March) and it didn’t look like there was much grass in that area. There were three other structures on the property which I assumed to be for horses, but you could hear dogs barking from at least one of the structures.
Her son was dropped off by the school bus; he was in eighth grade we found out, and he let us in. As we walked through the door, the smell of urine/ammonia was overpowering. The house was a mess, clutter-wise as well as just sort of dirty. I don’t want to sound rude because whose house is perfectly clean all the time, but if you are breeding animals and know that you have a potential buyer coming by, I would think cleaning up would be a priority. There were stains on the furniture and the animal’s cages did not seem very clean at all, even if someone was gone for six hours at school, there should not be that much waste. The crate that the puppies were in was a double decker, with the puppies on top and newspaper underneath. In Winston’s litter, there were about six puppies total. They used the bathroom right there and walked around in whatever didn’t fall to the bottom. The mom was in a crate by herself and the dad was apparently the show dog so he was unavailable we were told. There were three other dogs on the premises that were running about. There was an African Gray Parrot in a cage along the wall as well and that cage was dirty as well. The son fed the puppies when we got inside and for the six puppies, there was one food dish and one scoop of food was given. They all ran to it and whoever got to the dish first got to eat.
We were told that we could choose any puppy – we didn’t have to choose the exact one which was listed, which was a good thing after seeing him in person. While his brothers and sisters were all on the lean side, the puppy that was listed was round and seemed a little sluggish. When we approached the crate, all the puppies can right up to us. There were two that came to me and one that stuck by me. This one had the best markings (in my opinion) and was not brindle; he looked like a true Boston Terrier. While in the crate, they were all hyper, and when I picked up this certain puppy, he calmed down completely and just melted into my arms. I had to have that little guy.
When the breeder finally got home, almost an hour later than we agreed on, she seemed to rush through everything with us. She gave us the registration paperwork, health record, some vitamins (which were required for him to take in order to ensure the health guarantee), a week’s worth of coccidia pills and a couple toys. She gave him a vaccination before we left and told us that we needed to finish the vaccination shots. In the listing on puppyfind.com, it said that there was a health guarantee, all shots were completed or would be by the time of pickup, travel carrier provided among a few other things. Most of the things listed were not provided or complete. After getting home, we looked up these vitamins which were the health guarantee and found that there is nothing special about them and the breeders get kickbacks from the purchases. She also conveniently cashed our check immediately.
Upon finally arriving home much later than anticipated, both pups finally felt comfortable enough to use the bathroom. When Winston went, he had diarrhea. We thought it was from anxiety, car ride with unfamiliar people and another dog, new place, new smells, etc. However, a few days went by and the diarrhea did not subside. When we could get them into the vet for the new puppy checkup, about a week after taking them home, we found out that Winston had giardia and coccidia. It was frustrating because he was a poop eater so he was just reinfecting himself. He went through three rounds of medication plus probiotics to try to clear it out of his system. Finally a couple months later things were looking better with him. We contacted the breeder about what was going on with him and received no response. Besides taking him to the vet for this infectious disease, we also had to finish both dog’s vaccinations. As everyone knows, vet bills are not cheap. We paid $500 for Winston thinking we were getting a healthy, vaccinated puppy and ended up spending another $300 or so to get him healthy and happy. He was about five pounds when we got him at eight weeks, now at nine months, he is close to 14 pounds. I feel that since he was so sick and not absorbing any nutrients (if he could even get to any food at feeding time) he is going to be a tiny guy for his breed.
Looking back, we should not have made this purchase but you just get tunnel vision when you see those little faces (and drive four and a half hours to pick them up) and nothing else matters. I wish I could go back and get the rest of them just to get them out of that house and those conditions. Even though we purchased Winston and didn’t adopt him, I still consider him to be a rescue puppy when accounting for the conditions which he previously lived in. Winston is now happy, healthy, feisty and still a little sweetheart.