EDIT: I'm closing comments, because I think we're basically going in circles at this point. Everything that needs to be said has been said. Despite posts of late, this isn't actually a "the AKC is stupid" blog. (Even if I rather think it is.) This is more of a "there is a problem in the dog world, and breeding mutts isn't the solution" blog. If you happen to agree, fantastic; stick around. If you don't think there's a problem at all, I'm afraid you need to move along, read some literature or make your own blog, because my opinion isn't about to change and nobody's forcing you to read this stuff. Have a nice day.
'Tis officially the season, my friends, and we know what that means. Apart from the scents of smoke and gingerbread mysteriously lurking everywhere, annoyingly cheery carols warbling out from every store and a rapidly haemorrhaging wallet, that is. It means pet stores are stacking the shelves with cutesy Christmas canines, much like the one pictured. He can't even stretch out. Adorable.
We are only human and sometimes a sad puppy's gaze can have the effect of a high-power tractor beam off the Starship Enterprise. It sucks you in like a black hole with the force of its sweetly bewildered face. And isn't it so much better to think of a woebegone petshop puppy shacking up with you, rather than in the arms of somebody who thinks it would be a good idea to give the pooch to someone else for Christmas?
This law applies at all times but seems especially applicable now: The Law of Supply and Demand. Anti-puppy mill propaganda often uses the argument that buying a pet store dog just makes room for another puppy to take its place back at whatever mill it came from. That's never made a lot of sense to me; it's not like they have room for 300 dogs absolutely, no more than that. What you ARE doing when you buy a pet store dog is saying, "I want this dog, and I want more like it." And the supply (the pet store and puppy mill) will respond with glee. No matter what your intent was. If you're a bleeding heart who has to rescue the one sickly little pup, you're saying you don't care what condition they sell their dogs in. You want it anyway.
If you do your pet-shopping where puppies are sold, firstly you might want to reconsider your choice of pet store. Secondly you must stay strong! And these are the three biggest scams I see running around at large:
1. He's AKC-registered! Woohoo! Now let me tell you where you can put those papers. As we should all know by now, AKC guarantees nothing. They will tell you this themselves on their website. All it means is one parent was a purebred and so was the other parent. The resulting puppy could be a mixed-breed, deformed, unhealthy, nasty in temperament, or all of the above. You could probably sneak your dead rabbit into the AKC for all they care.
2. He's rare! Look at the pretty colours! Let me remind you that the genes for some 'rare' appearances in certain dog breeds also carry ticking time-bombs of disease. Remember the double dapple gene in Dachshunds (which is A-OK by the AKC!). Double dapple comes with blindness and deafness, among other things, like no eyes. Fantastic.
3. But he's so cute and little. Take him home. People seem to be giving puppies away younger and younger. "As soon as they're weaned" is not, in fact, the right age to give a dog away. They've only just started toddling around and socializing when they're weaning age. He needs this learning stage with his mom and siblings in order to be well-adjusted. This article will tell you about it more concisely than I can - it says 7-12 weeks is the best time to bring puppy home. So why are we seeing five-week-old babies up for adoption?
(Alas, I fell for this trap. Three and a half years ago I was woefully much less educated about pet stores than I am now, and in the market for a new guinea pig to be a companion to my suddenly-single increasingly-Elder Pig. When I met her at the pet store, Baby Angry Pig was four weeks old. That's way too young! my common sense screamed. She should have been six weeks at least. That her socialization was going to be all messed up if she ended up with a clueless child was weighing heavily on my mind, but even heavier was the way she fit perfectly in my palm like a fluffy tennis ball, and snuggled there. When I took her home I left her alone for two days; I did everything by the book - but, of course, she grew up into a bullying sociopath who routinely beats me and my dog, so I believe she was a lost cause from the start. Looks like selling too young can even adversely affect a rodent, so imagine what it could do to a dog. But the pet store has no idea that they sold me a tiny Hitler incarnate. They only know that I snatched up a too-young baby pig almost as soon as she was put up for adoption and thereby "demand" more. Damn it.)
Be strong, put your blinders on when you shop for your pets' stocking stuffers, and if you're in the mood to make life difficult for someone else and you do see a puppy for sale, give the store a heaping helping of hell. Ask them all the questions they are so not predisposed to answer. It's a unique way to blow off holiday stress. And think about where you'd rather put this Law into action - good breeders and petshops without pets, anybody?