What an eye opener. Those gorgeous little puppies I showed you yesterday? They almost certainly have come from puppy mills. The “breeder” of cute little Fifi is also the owner of a pet store that was being protested against in Wisconsin this weekend. The puppy industry is all so sordid and confusing, not to mention depressing, that I had to stop and rethink. It was either back to the shelters or on to professional breeders with solid references who show their dogs and only have a few litters or less a year.
Stephane and I discussed it and due to our particular need for a patient, child friendly, of a predictable small size, sturdy, non yappy and hypoallergenic-ish dog who will truly be an addition to our family, we’re going for a pure breed from a professional breeder. And yes, we know it’s going to cost us.
Enter the National Dog of Cuba, the Havanese. Here’s what Wiki has to say:
The Havanese is small in size and sturdy in structure with a tail carried up over its back and ears that drop and fold. The coat is abundant, long, and silky and comes in all colors. The Havanese has a spirited personality and a curious disposition, and is notable for its springy gait, a characteristic that distinguishes the breed from all others. The Havanese is considered an ideal family pet and a true companion dog. They are highly adaptable to almost any environment, and their only desire is to be with their human companions.
The Havanese is a very people-oriented dog, often following their human companions around the house. They are not overly possessive and do not suffer aggression or jealousy towards other dogs, pets, or humans.
Unlike most toy dogs, who are too delicate, nervous, or aggressive to tolerate the often clumsy play of children, the Havanese is a cheerful companion to even younger children. This is a highly trainable dog and can learn tricks quickly and easily.
These are natural companion dogs: gentle and responsive. They become very attached to their owners. Affectionate, playful and intelligent, they are very sociable, easy to obedience train and get along well with other dogs. Havanese have a long reputation as circus dogs because they learn quickly and enjoy doing things for people.
So yesterday afternoon I filled out several adoption applications for local breeders in the mid west. The applications, while not as stressful as applying for preschool, were involved and some required near essay-style answers. But the process helps breeders to analyze which pup will be best for which family, or if a Havanese is even the right dog at all for someone.
I sent off the forms and then began a very impatient wait – the kind where I’m bouncing off the walls. Will we be be accepted? What will the puppies look like? Will there be any left? Will they be right for us? HOW MUCH IS THIS GOING TO COST? Believe it or not, many breeders won’t tell you jack until you fill our their application. None of them specified cost until I was approved.
In the meantime, because Coco was sick and insisted that I lay in bed with her for the third day in a row, and because I couldn’t stomach watching Barbie in the Nutcracker ONE.MORE.TIME, I did more research on my laptop. Lots more. How to crate train. How to groom. How to potty train. I looked at all the Havanese Clubs of name your city and got to know the important breeders and the names of champion lines. It became apparent that if you really want a Havanese, you should be prepared to wait up to TWO YEARS to get your puppy. TWO YEARS. Did I mention that I want a puppy right now?
I have it all worked out. We get back from LA on June 14. Pick up puppy right away and spend next two weeks at parks and beach with Coco. Then Coco starts summer school and I’ll have five weeks to take the pup to classes and spend lots of one one one time with her. Then we go to Maine for August and that’s puppy heaven. Round that off with two more months of good weather in September and October and I should have a fully potty trained pup before the first snow falls. That’s the plan.
Well last night I heard back from Diane at Windfall Havanese. She breeds champs and I’d seen her name quite a lot in my research. She just happens to have a nine week old girl she had been planning to keep because both her parents are champions and three of her sisters from earlier litters are are champions. But she thought about it and decided that we could come up and meet Sunshine (and I’m sure Diane wanted to check us out, too.) Then came the price tag. HOLY.COW.
I wrote and thanked her profusely and asked if the price was negotiable. And then the real wait began. First thing this morning I checked for an email. Nothing. All morning, I raised “bouncing off the walls” to a new art form. In the meantime we were approved for another pup, quite a bit older, for the same original price as Sunshine. This one was another show pony but apparently is developing an underbite so her competition days are over. I don’t care at all about that but at the same price, I still really wanted Sunshine. Then another approval came through and this one was tiny, would probably be only eight weeks old when we get back from LA, and was even more expensive!
I loved that Diane really listened to what we were looking for and explained the ways Sunshine would fit with our family. I love that with all of her pups, if ever the buyer can’t keep theirs, she’ll take them back no questions asked. For all kinds of reasons, I couldn’t face the possibility of her saying no to us. So I wrote her back and told her never mind, we’ll pay full price.
Then around midday Diane wrote to say that Sunshine is ours. YAY! I know I’m probably an idiot and should have waited but I couldn’t. I simply couldn’t.
And so the crisis is over, at least until the bill comes.