My boyfriend and I found our dogs listing on puppyfind.com. We contacted the seller and were able to set up a time to meet the puppy the same day. At the time, we did not know that puppyfind.com is a website that acts as a huge resource for puppy brokers and puppy mills.
The man we talked to on the phone about meeting the puppy, told us he has 20 plus years of experience as veterinary technician and working with dogs. He also guaranteed us that he does not work with puppy mills or sells to anyone who would keep their dog in a cage. We asked how often he breeds his dogs. He said he doesn’t personally breed, but he works with “reputable” breeders who only breed their females dogs three times. If they breed more than that, he stops working with them. This all sounds great to us. We wanted to avoid a bad breeding situation and were able to see the puppies that same afternoon.
The seller told us to bring cash if interested, and that he would be unavailable at the time, but his co worker would be able to meet us and introduce us to the puppy. Later that day, we drive to a nice suburb of Indiana to meet the puppy. The co worker comes out with two eight week old male golden retriever. They seemed healthy and were running around the grassy yard.
Although the puppies were adorable, we were interested in the 14 week old female golden retriever. We asked to see her next. The co worker told us she has had a slight cough causing her to be isolated from the others puppies. The co worker reassured us it was nothing serious, that is was “just a cough” and will go away on its own or with a few oral antibiotics. He brought the female puppy out. She ran around a little, but seemed tired. Of course we fell in love with her right away and looked past the “slight cough” the co worker described. He showed us her “documentation” which was a typed word document of vaccinations she received with the sticker of the vaccination next to the date she received it. This is a huge red flag. Now I know that vaccinations should be signed off by a veterinarian.
He also gave us her American Pet Registry information. This form has her parents names, her date of birth, the breeders name and address. Being naïve, we thought this was a legit document. Now I know that anyone can register their puppy to the APRI, even puppy mill breeders. Already in love with the puppy, we gave him $1,400 cash, hopped in the car and we’re headed home with our new puppy.
As the weekend went by, she became more lethargic and the cough became more persistent. I was getting really worried and made a vet appointment for early Monday morning. The vet took chest radiographs, which showed severe pneumonia. The vet recommended we take her to the emergency vet for over night treatment with IV antibiotics and fluids. We agreed and went straight to there to get her admitted. We are so worried and upset at this point. We called seller back to tell him what happened. He tells us to “take her out of the emergency vet she is going to die there and we will be over charged, left with huge amounts of bills and no puppy to show for it” he also said he will take the dog back, cure her, and refund us our money while he is treating her. He reminds us he has veterinary technician experience and has the appropriate resources at hand to cure her severe pneumonia. We said no, we are not giving her back.
He then offers to switch out our puppy for one of the 8 week old male puppies. We denied his offer. I asked where she really came from, with her pneumonia being so severe the vet was suspecting she was from poor living conditions such as a puppy mill. He told me our dog was from a small Amish farm that only had two golden retriever females being bred. I do not think that is true, and if there really is only two Goldens being bred, it can still be very unclean and unsafe conditions the puppies were kept in.
We firmly declined all his offer and asked for a full refund. He finally gives us a full refund, but the only way we can get the money back is by signing a typed word document which stated we would not hold him accountable for any future finances involving the puppy. we signed the document . He then uses venmo to send us the $1,400 back.
Luckily, our dog only ended up having to stay 24 hours at the emergency vet. We have her home now, but we are still currently treating her for pneumonia with oral antibiotics. We are also treating her for an ear infection and for intestinal parasites. We have been following up with our vet by getting her chest radiographs every two weeks to track the progress of her pneumonia. It has been expensive, but our dog is on the road to recovery and finally acting like a healthy puppy.
I now know the term “puppy broker”, and the creative ways puppy mills and unsafe breeders are marketing their dogs through puppyfind.com and other unreliable websites. Looking back on the situation, I see all the red flags clearly. I hope this testimonial creates more awareness by helping others to avoid situations similar to this one. It’s true, if you can’t meet the mother dog, don’t buy the puppy.