"That for any reason under the sun you cannot care for or keep one of our priceless pups contact me immediately and first so are we able to help in re-homing or take the puppy back. We never want one of our puppies past around from home to home or at worst ending up at the pound because our puppy parents did not want to call us or bother us. We are always here to help with any puppy no matter if it is to answer questions or concerns you may have or unforeseen situations that may arise.
Our commitment to our puppies DOES NOT end once you get your puppy home. You cant get rid of me that easy!"
I also have her word that she'll look into clicker training classes, and, hopefully, further socializing her puppies before they leave her.
I am MAJORLY impressed with the way Steffy has handled this. It takes a very mature and responsible person to see criticism as an opportunity to learn and improve. Best of luck, Steffy!)
My mind has been repeatedly boggled over the past few months as I delve deeper into the mysterious world of designer dogs and breeders. But I have to say, of all the mind-blowing nuttiness we've seen running rampant in the world of breeders, this takes the nutty cake.
Innnnn this cornerr: Sherry Carter! Seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, over here, aaaand here.
(That whooshing sound? That was your mind being blown once again.)
Sherry offers us Shih-tzus and Shorkies of the Imperial, teacup, and "fuzzy wuzzy" variety, and "teddy bear" Shichons. She lays out each red flag on her sites with loving care:
- Flashy, weird graphics.
- Shipping. "I ship puppies with Continental Airlines year round because all other airlines stop shipping pets when the weather is over 70 degrees." How 'bout that. I wonder why that could possibly be? "After all our year of shipping puppies to all parts of the United States such as Alaska , and to Canada , Switzerland . I also have a puppy in the Bahamas . We Are The Experts on Shipping your new Shorkie puppy home!" Sister, that sure makes you something and the word isn't "expert".
- Christianity. It's a very small reference, but I caught it, sneaky. [fingerwag] However, we'll let this one slide, since it's not something I'd have even noticed if it weren't for the fact that every bad breeder out there seems to feel the need to tell us they love Jesus on their websites.
- Misplaced quotation marks, the bane of every satirical blogger. "I did not keep cross breeding because of my "Love " for the Imperial Sized ShihTzu's . I was strictly into the " PURE BRED " Toy breeds and have spent Many years " Perfecting " the Imperial ( Sized ) AKC ShihTzu." Ookay.
- NuVet Vitamins.
Damn you, NuVet! This is a conspiracy on an international scale! What is going on here?? The more I find The NuVet Clause in breeders' health warranties, the more curious I get, yet there is no information on NuVet, at all, anywhere. Using Sherry Carter's order code (since you can't access the order form without one) and the alias Kenny Rogers, I tried to slip behind enemy lines to do some reconnaissance, and discovered ... absolutely nothing. That place is sealed tighter than Fort Knox in deep space. It'll tell you what you can buy and how much the product is, and nothing else. I feel like I'm negotiating with a drug peddler on the corner of Fifth and Main.
Every weird breeder tells you to go NuVet and they all give you the exact same spiel about it and how your health contract is null and void if you fail to buy it. You only get an order code from a catalogue, wherever they're hiding those (in the stomach of a Brazilian mule on a charter flight north, I assume) or from a breeder. And only the weird breeders have these mysterious codes. Bemused, I turned to C, my dog guru and veterinary consult. She was able to confirm what I'd already guessed: there's nothing sinister in the NuVet products, but they are only vitamins - forget the turds testifying that NuVet is responsible for preventing hip dysplasia in their dogs or that NuVet cured their dog's infection without any help from antibiotics. Most can't stop raving about how much shinier their pet's coat is, but any good diet could do that. (C forever pushes for veterinary diets like Medi-Cal over store-bought food, as, she says, it's the most balanced and consistent diet you can offer your pet.)
What a tangent. My point is, you don't need NuVet to keep your pet healthy, so it's painfully obvious to me that breeders are somehow profiting from this scheme whenever somebody uses their order code to buy a product. Right? I'm not crazy, right? And since NuVet gives its order code to the weird ones regardless of standards, in a roundabout way we can say NuVet supports irresponsible breeding and even puppy mills - right?
Whatever, just boycott NuVet with me. Now let's get back to Sherry, who tells us about hypoglycemia in her dogs and what to do if your dog has an episode. She also tells us that this can be brought on by stress - like, just throwing out there, being flown to the Bahamas - and a lack of TLC. Hypoglycemia happens in very small puppies, Sherry, like teacup toys, as if they don't have enough issues already; but you know that.
And there's some drivel about the AKC and how people who line-breed (inbreed) know what they're doing so why can't we leave them alone. "Beware of anyone that is cutting down AKC pure bred lines when they are cross breeding . One has to Ponder "What " they are really breeding." What are "you" breeding, Sherry?
I'm sure there is even more nuttiness littered throughout her eleven other websites, but let's swing the focus over to thee challenge-ahh!
Flashy graphics. Shipping. Christianity. Strange spelling/grammar errors. ("The Shorkie Club Of America is the only group ever established that is dedicated to the ethical development of the Shorkie breed? It is free to everyone and any shorkie breeder can apply! ???" I don't know? Do you?!!) Aggravatingly, an inflated sense of self-worth ("Your Master Shorkie Breeder", "Shorkie Queen", whatever). Also - a first for MoT - brainwashing. ("We count on the experts in our everyday lives. I know I do. We count on them to tell us who to vote for, what to eat, how to raise our children. ... So why should it be any different for your Shorkie adoption? Shorkies Are Our Area Of Expertise!") I'm told Priceless Pups is a collaborative effort by 17 breeders, but the only one we get a glimpse of is Stefanie (no last name) and the illustrious "we" she makes mention to, unless I'm missing something on one of their five websites. Their health warranty is identical to Sherry Carter's, demanding that you buy their food and oh my God NuVet! Oh my God! I knew I'd find you here! (NuVet: Hahaha! MoT, we meet again!)
But Priceless isn't all bad. For one thing, look at how cute this guy is. (What? Some muttpuppies are seriously unfortunate-looking!) They haven't dressed him up, or Photoshopped the image to say something like "I Woof You" in sparkling pink letters, and even the black velvet background is pretty tasteful. Yes, having been exposed to some of the worse photo-ops Florida has to offer, this matters to me.
They DO NOT believe in hybrid vigour, they announce in proud 75-pt font! "The only way to be a responsible breeder is to complete genetic testing to ensure the offspring are healthy!" I won't sweep my hat, but I will concede to tip it.
Now here's where things get really strange.
If you checked out any of Sherry Carter's dozen sites, you may have spotted something - well, even more out of place than some of their graphics. For instance, you may have been innocently scrolling this page, when all of a sudden, this leaps out to punch you in the face: "PUPPY BROKERS & PUPPY PUSHERS THAT SLANDER TO SELL THEIR OWN PUPPIES". Say what? Before you can say "What did you just call me?!", she moves on peacefully to display the next litter, while, elsewhere, slipping in a covert "PUPPY BROKERS THAT SLANDER TO SELL THEIR OWN PUPPIES". Or, like on this page, she sneaks in snippy little remarks like, "Note : WE don't sell puppies or Broker puppies for other breeders." See what she did there? "I have "NEVER" been turned down by ANY mixed breed puppy club or any club for that matter. I am in good standing with AKC." And right-clicking on certain graphics brings up, "JUST SAY NO TO PUPPY BROKERS AND PEOPLE THAT SELL FOR BUDDYS!!!" Okay, you bipolar psycho! We get it.
And, of course, clicking on the caps-locked link brings us to ... you guessed it ... a giant rant on every way Priceless Pups has ruffled her feathers. In fact, she's so angry, there are two rants. I'm not even sure what happened here. As best I can tell, Priceless stomped on the bucket-shaped sand castle she was building on the playground at recess (by which I mean one site stole the other's stupid creepy blinking-dog image, and maybe their health warranty), and after that all hell broke loose. Now she's hurling accusations left and right. And though her sources seem sketchy, the phone numbers she lifted from Priceless (1-877-4ABUDDI and 1-888-9SHORKIE) do pull up more breeder ads on Google than Priceless lets on.
However, this was my favourite part: "REAL BREEDERS DON'T OWN 300 WEBSITES AND HAVE TIME FOR ALL THIS . THERE PEOPLE BROKERS PUPPIES AND HAVE SO MANY WEBSITES THAT IT'S ASHAME."
Priceless Pups enters the ring swinging and counters with this and this (and gets one brownie point for also dragging Mileen Coulter's name through the mud). They too drop seemingly insignificant comments all over their plethora of sites, such as, "THE ONLY OFFICIAL SHORKIE PUPPIES are those breeders registered with the Shorkie Club Of America." Wading through this mess, it becomes apparent that Priceless is extremely offended that Sherry Carter would dare describe her Shorkies and herself as "official". Well, I hate to say it, Priceless, but no breeder has to be "official", especially when we're talking muttpuppies and made-up parent clubs. Look at it this way: you're as unofficial as each other!
And the glaringly obvious war tactic: They're both slapping copyrights over everything remotely visible to the human eye. On all their websites.
This is amazing. This is every bitch-stole-my-boyfriend catfight you ever witnessed in high school. This is pulling hair and scratching each other's eyes out. This is Godzilla versus Mothra, except not (because I would have to reserve that for if Mileen Coulter and Cindy Miller ever got into a public designer breeder smackdown. This is more like the Cloverfield monster versus the Iron Giant, if the latter weren't so heartwarming).
For once, let's not get mad. Let's get appropriately bewildered and amused, and sit back while these two ladies do my job denouncing each other for me. And in the meantime, ladies, ladies! You're both bad breeders. Okay?