That’s how it usually starts – let’s face it puppies can melt the hardest of hearts!

Whether or not a person has thought about it for a long time OR they saw one recently and can’t get it out of their mind.  All it takes is for one family member with the notion, and the “let’s get a puppy” train  leaves the station! The search begins.

For me? – I had craved one like crazy for many years. When I finally decided I was ready to dedicate time, positive energy, and sacrifice hard earned dollars to love, nurture and support a doodle – my search began…

  • I knew I wanted a Goldendoodle
  • I knew I wanted a male
  • I knew I wanted a “puppy”

I tried to read almost everything I could. I read about…

  • the breed
  • puppies in general
  • potty training
  • crate training
  • toys
  • nutrition
  • vets
  • vitamins

WHEW! I was a reading fool. I even thought I had educated myself enough to spot a puppy mill set-up if I came across one. But some are “slicker than snot on a door knob” – does that description gross you out? It should – just as puppy mills should!

I passed on a number of breeders when I called inquiring about a doodle pup. I finally settled on, whom I thought to be, a reputable breeder up North. He and his staff (family owned) had been in business for several years, were not on any “puppy mill” hit lists, and were always pleasant, available to talk, patient with my excited rambling, and eager to meet me.

I went up there, met with everyone, played with both of Harley’s parents, spent about four hours looking at almost a dozen different dogs of all ages. Spoke to other clients that came through, and after sizing up the cleanliness of the facility, I left a deposit, and sang all the way home because I had purchased a puppy.

Harley would be born in a couple of weeks and two months after that, he would be mine to bring home!

At nine weeks old, Harley was such a tiny thing…
Little did I know then that he was also a very sick tiny thing. He slept a great deal, was constantly hungry, had loose stool, and by day three, I was counting the hours before his first vet appointment, because I was concerned.

The vet’s visit revealed Harley had the “worse case” of Giardia (a terrible, nasty, infection of the small intestine caused by a tiny parasite) she’d ever seen. She recommended I contact the breeder to let him know, so he could treat the mother and other puppies in case they too were exposed. I called, and he assured me he would get right on it.

For the next four months the vet and I fought this thing together like it was an epidemic.

By the middle of the fourth month, Harley was coming into his own. He had gotten stronger, and his true inquisitive personality was coming through…
With a clean bill of health, and the parasite behind us, I remember channel surfing in the kitchen before starting dinner for my family when I heard on “National News” there had been a puppy mill raid at the same place I’d purchased Harley. The report made my stomach churn as I stood frozen in my shoes watching horrible footage of what was taking place right behind the building where I visited. Hundreds of frozen carcasses being carted out from the back storage facility, etc… It was so unnerving, I cursed the TV as they walked the owners out in handcuffs.

I then sat on the floor – cradling Harley as I cried. There was no dinner cooked that night.

Some of you might be wondering who the breeder was – doesn’t matter. He is finally shut down for good. He “M.O.” (in the past) was to re-open kennels in different states as he fled to escape fines and penalties. He used alias names, and family members to front his business. His reign has ended.  He is now experiencing what it’s like to live in a cage, behind bars. There is a God.

With spring right around the corner, puppies will once again be in high demand. I wanted to share my story, my very common ignorance in the whole “let’s get a puppy” process. I hope it will touch many, and help even more in their search for a puppy of their dreams. Arm yourself, do your due diligence, learn all you can about breeders and adoption/rescue agencies (so many cuties out there waiting for good pet parents like you!).

Harley’s story has a happy ending. As doodle daughter comforted me while I sat on the floor bawling that night, she reminded me that Harley was blessed by us and in turn has blessed us.

You’ve  come a long way baby…
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Thanks for reading…

  • Claudette Pope
    February 28, 2013

    Thank you for that very informative post. Like you, I have been reading so much that my eyes feel like they are about to tear up & flutter right out of my head (wow, what a description lol) I have found a breeder that seems to be fairly good, but also like you said, it’s very difficult to tell. I’ve been trailing them for several months. As soon as I save up the $1,700.00 to purchase one (I’m closer than I was…) he’ll be mine

    • groovygoldendoodles
      February 28, 2013

      Are we talking about $1,700.00 for a doodle? OMD – have you researched any rescue sites? Just asking…

  • pammie
    February 28, 2013

    I for one am glad you and Harley are together. I believe he is God sent to you and you him. Harley is a great dog with a great mommy, CBENNETT.

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