Sunday, December 20, 2015

Posting Business Reviews Online


This Fall we retired some of our adult dogs to pet only homes and I had to begin my search for some new ones. Generally I raise my own puppies that are meant to be future breeders but eventually you need to get new bloodlines mixed in with your crew and that requires purchasing  from other breeders. I often really struggle when I have to buy a dog from someone else because I am extremely picky and I want to be sure I am getting a quality animal and also that I am avoiding supporting a puppy mill and not working with someone who is dishonest. There are several steps I take when I start my quest for a puppy and that involves doing a lot of research when I do finally find someone I am interested in working with. If I find a puppy I like generally the first thing I do is to view the breeders website, some breeders out there have excellent websites that are full of good information and pictures, but I was amazed at the amount of low quality sites I found out there. If I was unhappy with the work on the website I usually moved on to a different breeder. Another thing I do is to look at reviews posted online from other customers and that is what has prompted me to write this article. The internet is an amazing tool that has changed all of our lives, back in the day we simply advertised our puppies in the newspaper and people would have to come out to physically see them, now the second a puppy is born I can make it visible to the entire world. With all of the power the internet has given us I feel that one major downside to it is that it has made people very quick to be mean and judgemental. I’m not sure if it’s the feeling of being anonymous or the ability to post your thoughts before you’ve had some time to really analyze them but it’s quite sad how nasty some people can be, not just in the world of dog breeders, but basically on any subject. To see my point all you have to do is log onto Facebook and read people’s comments or read reviews about any business and you’ll always see a negative one, more often than a positive one, because it seems that angry people are more likely to post a review over someone that is happy with their experience. If you have had a legitimately bad experience with someone, no matter what type of business, I don’t blame you for wanting to share your experience but I would suggest that you first try to deal with the business directly to fix the issue before posting a rant online that can hurt their business in a big way. Also make sure you are fully educated on what you are mad about, some of the negative reviews I read online about dog breeders really made the buyer look uneducated as they were complaining about things that didn’t make sense at all. If you’ve had a good experience with someone please do them a favor and post a good review online, it will make them feel good and will be helpful to those of us out there looking for some guidance on who is good to work with. Thank you to those of you who have posted positive reviews about your experiences with me online, I greatly appreciate it. Also thank you to those of you who have kept in touch over the years and have sent me pictures of your puppies, I truly appreciate seeing how they have grown and it makes my day knowing that they are in a loving home.

Here are a few examples of reviews on dog breeders that I have found while on my search for a new puppy, these are not reviews posted about me, I’ll get to that later:

 

  1. Someone wrote:  First off this is a puppy mill. They say they are hobby breeders but they have around Fourty dogs on the premise's. With these two breeders it is all about the money.
     
    I don’t know the breeders that this person was reviewing but I did do a search on them to see what people had to say and this was one that I found. I cannot confirm or deny how many dogs they have but the use of the phrase Puppy Mill offends and frankly, pisses off, any breeder that is good at what they do. There is a HUGE difference between a puppy mill and a breeder and I have found that upset customers love to throw that word out there no matter if it’s true or not just to hurt the business that they are mad at. We are USDA licensed and inspected and my inspector told me that people call her all the time to report a ‘puppy mill’ simply because of the number of dogs a breeder has. It’s not the number of dogs one has that defines it being a puppy mill, it’s the conditions that they are raised in, how they are treated, and their overall health or lack of, that will determine if it truly is a puppy mill.
     
  2. Someone wrote: I bought the puppy and it turned out to very sick, had worms and giardia. Within 3 days. I told her (the breeder)  and she said "I'm sorry but I can't give you a REFUND," and hung up on me. I think she is running a puppy mill.
    I don’t know the breeder that this person was reviewing but again I can tell you that having worms and giardia does not mean that they are running a puppy mill. I don’t agree with the breeders behavior if it’s true that she hung up on her customer and I don’t agree with the buyer throwing out that puppy mill phrase simply because she was mad. Giarrdia is very commonly found in puppies, especially if they are stressed out from moving but both giardia and worms are easily cured with medications and pastes and you’ll see in a lot of puppy contracts that breeders do not include either one in their health guarantee. It was not very realistic of the buyer to request a refund for their puppy.
     
  3. Someone wrote: The puppy screamed for 36 hours and our existing pet growled at that puppy. As per contract we returned the puppy in 48 hrs.
    Shame on the person who wrote this review, they obviously were not adequately prepared for the work of a puppy and certainly were not committed to taking care of it because they returned it within two days. They also go on to state they got their puppy from a store and most, not all, but most pet stores are supplied by bad sources like puppy mills. Please make sure you are 100% ready to commit to a pet before getting one and please be sure to do your research so that you do not buy from someone that is a legitimate puppy mill or supplied by one. An animal is not a disposable object and a puppy coming to a new home needs time to adjust to all of the new changes so a buyer should expect some whining for the first few days.
     
     
     
  4. Someone wrote:  We got Charlie home and noticed that he had a lot of worms in his stool. Ken told us he had been wormed and we had no reason to doubt that a 4 month old was wormed. The pup also was loaded with fleas and tape worms and the little rice grainy worm dropped all over my house. We took Charlie to our vet on Monday and the vet was appalled at the condition of this puppy coming from a reputable breeder.
    The breeder actually replied to the complaint and wrote:
     Our contract clearly states that if for ANY reason you are not completely satisfied with one of our puppies, they are to be returned for a FULL refund. As stated in **’s letter, I did apologize to her, and asked her to return ** for a FULL refund. With a very elevated voice, she stated that she would NOT be returning **, and that I WOULD be refunding her the FULL amount paid for him. I said politely that per the contract that we both signed that for a FULL refund she needed to return the puppy. She refused. When I asked several times to be given the veterinarians name and address for me to contact them to discuss what had been said about our breeding practices being irresponsible, ** refused to give me that information.
     
    I do not know the buyer or the breeder so I don’t know the full story but I can tell you that I have dealt with a similar customer who made health claims but did not want to give me her vet’s information, she just wanted her money back and to keep her puppy. Some people don’t realize that when you give a puppy de-worming paste that you will later see worms coming out of their stool, this is a good thing because it means that the paste is killing the worms within the puppies system and the worms that are coming out are dead! Apparently these people had a contract for the purchase of the puppy stating that, if not satisfied, a puppy would need to be returned for a refund. This customer did not want to return their puppy but wanted their money back, I’ve dealt with people like this too and that’s not how it works, you can’t change the terms of your contract based on your emotions at the moment. Also, if you are going to make claims about a puppy having health issues a good breeder will of course want your vet’s contact information so that they can speak to them and verify what they are being told. The buyer not wanting to give the seller her vet’s information makes her sound a bit dishonest.
     
  5. Someone wrote: Additionally, we received our puppy's AKC registration papers with a big discrepancy in the puppy's mother's name. Originally, the name of the puppy's mother was listed as Bessie according to our purchase contract and the website. On the AKC registration papers, the mother's name is listed as Lady Lacey
     
    For purebred dog’s most of the time when you register them you try to keep words from their parents names in the title name on your new dog’s papers. For example if the mother’s title name has the word “moon” in it and the father’s title name has the word “sparkle” in it and your dog’s every day call name is Lady you may incorporate your new dog’s title name to be something like Lady’s Sparkling Moon over Miami just to keep some words from her parents title names on her papers. I’ve had people read the paper names of my dogs before and ask if that’s really their name because it’s much longer than what I call them in their everyday lives.
     
  6. Someone wrote: Also the shot records were not real. They were typed up on his computer and not from a vet. The dog has been taken to the vet and the vet said he did not believe the shot records so we had to pay for all new shots.
     
    A lot of people do not realize that you can administer vaccines yourself, all except Rabies, this has to legally be done by a vet. When someone gets a puppy from me they receive a health record which contains the names and serial #’s of the vaccines they were given, dates they were given, and also the names and dates of the de-wormers the puppies received. My vet does not administer the vaccines my puppies receive unless I have one old enough that needs to receive a rabies vaccine and my health records are hand written but I also include the labels that I remove from the vaccine bottles to reassure the owners that the puppies actually did receive their shots. Just because this person received a typed health record does not necessarily mean that the shot records were fake and their vet may have taken advantage of this and charged them for unnecessary shots.
     
  7. Someone wrote: Our dog may be ill because he has not had his first shot. We have no idea and have no information on our dog. We have already spent over 200.00 on meds for his giardia and hookworm. If he had his first shot he would not have gotten these things.
    Incorrect: “his first shot” is a vaccine and would not have protected your puppy from Giardia or Hookworm. Clearly these people have a few things to be upset about but they made a huge mistake by bringing a puppy home without any paperwork or health information and are also not properly educated about what vaccines and de-wormers are used for.
     
  8. Someone wrote:  PUPPY MILL! OWNER SHOOTS AND KILLS STRAY DOGS! Do not give her a single penny of your money.
    I really, really hope that the person who wrote this is wrong about what they are claiming online. If it’s true that’s beyond horrible but if it’s something that was posted for revenge purposes that they can really be affecting this persons business.
     
     
    Back to me: I read tons and tons of reviews online while trying to find someone I would buy a dog from and I had a hard time. Some of the reviews were truly believable, some of them I could tell were written for the sake of revenge and the good ones that I read really helped and I am sure made the breeders feel good to see. I have a slight advantage when looking for a dog because I am very informed about what to ask and what to look for and in my quest I did find several people that I would not do business with. There are also states that I wouldn’t ever consider buying from, no matter how wonderful the puppy looked, simply because I know about their lack of regulations against animal treatment and puppy mills and have been personally warned by inspectors and veterinarians to avoid them. I did manage to find a few breeders I felt comfortable with and have four snuggly puppies running around outside right now, enjoying the 50 degree weather we are having here in Wisconsin in December! After I received my new babies I of course had them vet checked and also submitted their blood for the genetic testing I require for my breeding program and I am happy to say that everyone is healthy and have passed all of their tests! I will definitely be posting positive reviews online for the breeders that I have purchased my puppies from.
     
    After looking at all these different reviews I of course decided to look up those that were written about me, Cute Cockapoos. I was happy to see that some people did take the time to post positive ones which I really appreciate because I know that they truly help those out there who are seriously trying to buy from a good breeder. Unfortunately I did also find a couple of negative ones which will upset anyone who takes their business as seriously as I do. One review called me a Puppy Mill because their puppy had worms, this was so upsetting in so many ways. Clearly the buyer was upset that their puppy had worms but that was no reason to instantly throw out that phrase ‘puppy mill’ and I wish they would have contacted me and really considered what they were typing when they posted that review. A puppy having worms does not mean a breeder is a puppy mill, for more information on puppies and worms I have written an article on my blog that can be found here: http://cutecockapoosinwisconsin.blogspot.com/2013/11/puppies-and-worms.html
     
    Another person posted a negative review complaining that I wouldn’t return their deposit because, after reserving a puppy, they decided they wanted me to dock its tail and I clearly state on my website that I do not dock tails. After I explained several times that I do not dock tails they tried to pay me extra to change my mind and I would not- I do not dock tails and will not be paid off to do it. This of course upset them and they backed out on the puppy and demanded a refund. I did not refund their deposit and this prompted him to write a negative review and also call me a puppy mill, even though he was from a different state and had never been to my house. I have a feeling that if I had docked that puppy’s tail and sold them the puppy that he wouldn’t have dreamed of associating my business with the phrase “puppy mill.”  If you are curious as to why I do not dock tails I have also written an article on my blog about that: http://cutecockapoosinwisconsin.blogspot.com/2014/03/tail-docking-long-and-waggy-tails-are.html  I guess the whole point of writing this article is to ask people to think twice before you post something negative online, especially if it's untrue and you're only doing it for revenge. A negative review can greatly affect a business, especially if it's a small, family business like mine. On top of affecting someone's business it can be really hurtful to the business owner. My family and I put a lot of blood, sweat, time, money and tears into this business and it's so upsetting when we see a bad review or get a phone call from an angry customer, I take all of that personally, and someone calling me a puppy mill is heartbreaking. I realize that in life nothing is perfect, I will never be able to make everyone happy no matter how hard I work, but I will certainly try as hard as I can to make things right if there is a problem. As a customer please be realistic in your demands and expectations, especially when dealing with animals. An animal is a living being and no matter how hard a breeder works to make a quality puppy they will never be able to fully control nature, DNA, and genetics so not every baby will be perfect and an issue may come up. If your puppy comes home with worms it is completely unrealistic to call up a breeder and demand a refund.  If your puppy screams for two days because it's nervous about their new home it's irresponsible to get rid of them and blame the breeder like you read in one of the reviews above. A breeder definitely has responsibilities that they have to follow through with but so too does the adopting family and in this day and age it seems like some buyers are way to quick to throw all the blame at someone else when they are unhappy. Please think twice before you make a nasty post or comment about someone or something online. Please think twice or take some time to cool off before you send out an unkind email. Please be kind to those that you do business with and if you've had a good experience with someone please take some time out to post a good review about them online, it will make their day :)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Canines and Cavities

This week I took my 11 year old kitty to the vet because her breath was becoming foul and I figured it was time for a check up and cleaning. I put her on the exam table and after a few seconds of examining her mouth my vet simply stated that yes, she needed a cleaning and at least one tooth extracted. I am always curious about animal health and eager to learn so I asked how he could possibly tell she needed an extraction in such a brief glance of her mouth? He told me she has a 'resorptive lesion' on an upper tooth and that meant it would need to be removed, so of course I wanted to see what he saw so he opened her mouth and pointed out the tooth in question and right away I saw it, a dark red spot on the bottom of her tooth that started at the gum line. Once I knew what it was I understood how he found it so quickly and next week she is going in for a cleaning and removal.
Thanks to the internet I have done some more research and have found that, although quite common in cats, resorptive lesions can also be found in canines as well. There isn't really a clear answer as to why these happen, some say it's genetic, others say bacteria, and others say diet so I'm thinking it can be a mix of all of the above. Symptoms of these lesions include inflammation, tooth decay, destruction of tooth enamel, pain and tooth loss.
Here are some pictures of resorptive lesions so you have an idea of what to look for:
                                 The picture above is of a resorptive lesion in a canine's mouth.


                               The picture above is of a resorptive lesion in a feline's mouth.


Dental health is an important part in your pet's life so be sure to have their teeth examined and cleaned on a regular basis. If you see any odd markings, colors, or spots on your pets teeth be sure to consult your veterinarian. Bad breath can also be a sign of an oral health issue so don't be shy about asking your vet questions if you have any concerns.



Friday, December 11, 2015

Puppies and Holidays, Tips to Keep Everyone Safe.

It's December 11th and even though yesterday was a sunny 55 degrees in Wisconsin, Christmas is just around the corner which means holidays parties, lots of guests, lots of travel, and questions about how to handle it with your pets. I have put together a pile of tips and recommendations to help you get through it all.

Giving Puppies as a Gift

Every year the holiday season is very busy for us, who doesn't love the idea of putting a puppy beneath the tree and making the kids scream with delight when they realize Santa has made their dreams come true? It's a great idea but one that should involve a lot of planning and consideration before you actually do it. Unlike toys, a puppy cannot be something that is loved for the moment and then pushed aside after the holidays are over and life goes back to normal. Please remember that a puppy is a lifetime commitment and if you are not ready to deal with that then perhaps think of a better idea to make that Christmas morning fabulous for the kids.
If you have decided that you want a puppy for Christmas take your busy holiday schedule into mind. I've had lots of people want to get their puppies on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning but then they think about all of the traveling they have to do and all of the people that will be over and realize that maybe it isn't such a good idea. If you don't have a lot to do and you can dedicate yourself to the puppy then getting it right on the holiday may work out fine, just consider how busy you are and how much time you will need to give to your new family member. Also be aware that you should limit how much exposure a new puppy has to new people as their immune systems are not fully developed, they are not fully vaccinated, and lots of exposure to people could result in sickness and unwanted stress for them.
In the past we have had people want puppies for Christmas but have decided it's better to wait to get them until after the actual holiday activities are over so I have sent them pictures as the puppy has grown and they usually print them out and wrap them up for under the tree. I've also had families purchase items like leashes, collars, toys and other puppy supplies that they have also wrapped and put under the tree for the kids to open and realize that a puppy is in their future. We do also offer gift certificates which you can also wrap and are great for someone who maybe wants a puppy, but isn't quite ready at that exact moment.
Another thing to consider is the weather. Here in Wisconsin it gets nasty and cold in December, the 55 degrees we had yesterday is unheard of and it currently feels like Spring, but we generally have below zero temperatures with tons of snow. I've had families from other states be very adamant about wanting their puppies on certain dates for Christmas but if a puppy has to be shipped I have to comply with airline rules and regulations about shipping them and if it's too cold they can't leave. If you want your puppy shipped on December 24th and there's a major snowstorm I can't control the weather, I can't control a flight getting delayed, and I also will not put a puppy on a flight if I do not feel safe about it. Generally I ask families to plan on getting their puppies shipped a few days before the holidays so that we can deal with any weather delays, this often requires them to find a babysitter for the puppy as they do not want to bring them home and ruin the surprise, that's also something else to consider, do you have someone you can depend on to puppysit?

Puppies and Christmas Trees

If you have a puppy you will need to take their curiosity and chewing into consideration when decorating your house for Christmas. On top of having puppies in the house we also have cats and one in particular is an adult that likes to chew, one year he decided to chew apart the wiring on our pre-lit Christmas tree, luckily it wasn't plugged in and that was the end of the tree.
Puppies turn everything into toys, and depending on their age, they often like to put everything into their mouths and chew on it. Tree branches will of course look like heaven to a teething puppy, ornaments are shiny and move, lights blink, and the entire thing looks like a wonderful fort to run underneath, around, and perhaps straight into! To make the tree safer we actually put it up on a coffee table so that it is too high for anyone to reach, I realize that not everyone is willing to do this, so avoid putting decorations, garland, or tinsel on the lower branches that can be reached. I would also avoid putting lights on any areas that can be reached to avoid chewing and electrical shock or potential fires. I would also avoid putting anything edible on the tree like popcorn or berries as the smell may make it even more tempting for the puppy and some berries may be toxic.
If you just don't trust having your puppy near the tree you can consider putting it up higher like we do with the coffee table or perhaps fence the tree off with a few exercise pens, or if possible put a baby gate up to prevent the puppy from entering the room that the tree is in when they are left unattended. I have also read about something called Sticky Paws which is a sheet of double sided tape that you can put on the floor around the tree as animals do not like to walk on sticky products.

Electrical Shock

Puppies chewing on Christmas lights can lead to electrical shock so my best advice is that you do not allow your pet near the tree unattended and to be sure and unplug the lights when you are not near the tree or supervising your pets. Symptoms of electrical shock aren't always obvious and don't appear immediately, injuries can also vary based on the voltage and the path of the current through the body. The most obvious sign of electrical shock is a burn mark at the point of contact. If your puppy was chewing on Christmas lights and got shocked they may have a burn strip across their mouth or tongue. If you suspect your puppy has been shocked it is very important that they be seen by a vet as soon as possible.
 Lots of medical issues can arise during the holidays so be sure and ask your vet what their holiday hours are and who you can contact in case of an emergency. It is a good idea to have names and phone #'s written down in advance so you are prepared. My vet's office is not open during Christmas but we have an Emergency Clinic that is located about an hour away that is always available and I have their contact information written down in case I need to call them. Emergency Clinics generally are very expensive so it's also a good idea to have some extra money set aside to cover unexpected expenses.
Dangerous Holiday Plants

Lots of people like to decorate for the holidays with plants and flowers, my best advice is to keep them high up and out of reach of your pets. Here is some information on common holiday plants:

Poinsettia- I was always told as a kid that these were highly toxic to animals so I have never had one in my house. Apparently this is an urban legend and Poinsettia's are now said to be mildly toxic and can cause nausea or vomiting, still not something I would choose to deal with.

Lillies, Daffodils, and Amaryllis- These are very common for Christmas and bulb kits have become a popular gift idea, we got one for my Mother in Law and she loved it. All of these flowers are very toxic to cats and Daffodils are very toxic to both cats and dogs, especially the bulb which would be so tempting for a puppy to chew on. Eating/chewing on these plants can cause symptoms of gastrointestinal upset, cardiac arrhythmias, kidney failure, convulsions and even death.

Mistletoe and Holly- Both of these plants along with their berries are more toxic than the Poinsettia. Mistletoe contains several substances that are toxic to both dogs and cats that can cause diarrhea, sudden drop in blood pressure, breathing problems and hallucinations.

Christmas Trees- Christmas trees are considered to be mildly toxic to both cats and dogs. The fir tree oils can be irritating to their mouth and stomach which can cause excessive drooling or vomiting. Those sharp tree needles are not easily digested and can possibly cause intestinal irritation, vomiting, gastrointestinal obstruction or puncture.

Christmas Cactus- You're safe with these, they are non toxic to both dogs and cats but I still suggest keeping all plants out of the reach of your animals.

I do suggest that you have a phone number available for all veterinary clinics that will be open for emergencies during the holiday season.
Poisonous People Foods

Most people have parties during the holidays and not all of your guests may realize that your dog is not allowed to have 'people food' and may decide to slip them a treat or two when no one is looking. You may want to consider having your pet contained while you are eating or to discuss with your guests before hand that people food is off limits to your pets. My family dogs are like vacuum cleaners during dinners, you can always find them under the dinner table waiting to snatch up any scrap that may fall to the floor. Here are a few foods to either avoid having available during parties or to warn your guests about:

Chocolate-  We all know there will be Chocolate overload everywhere during the holidays so please be careful! Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant that puts dogs into heart stopping overdrive that can cause death. It also contains caffeine and we all know a puppy doesn't need any extra energy!

Xylitol- This is an artificial sweetener that can cause liver failure. This Summer I read a lot of articles about it being found in peanut butter which is commonly used as a treat for pets so please be sure to read your labels and do not feed this to your pets!

Avocado- This contains Persin which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Grapes and Raisins- These can cause kidney failure in dogs

Macadamia Nuts- According to the ASPCA Poison Control they can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hypothermia in dogs within about 12 hours of eating them.

Cooked Chicken and Pork Bones- Cooked bones can splinter and cause holes in the intestinal track, ham bones can break teeth. I suggest avoiding rawhide bones as well because they too can splinter. Stick with natural chew products like pig ears, bully sticks, hooves, and horns.

Alcohol- Some holiday foods and candies contain alcohol and some guests can leave cups unattended and at easy reach for your puppy. Alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.


Please have a safe and happy Holiday Season, and please have your vet's contact information available just in case of an emergency.