I didn’t plan on writing this post tonight, but after this crazy day I found myself sitting at my computer.
It was a wonderful Friday. Normally I have Friday’s off and work on Saturday, but this week it was reversed. Nick picked me up from work and we headed to the mall to pick up the video game he had his eye on. Boys… 😉 On our way back, I noticed the sign outside of the pet store.
My heart sank.
“Turn. Turn! TURN!” I yelled to Nick as I noticed the sign. We pulled into the parking lot and my heart sank when I saw it was closed.
My blood was boiling. I started thinking of everything I wanted to say to the pet store owners when we would come back the next day. I was going to ask about the puppies’ parents, the breeder, and where they came from. I was going to ask for pictures, documentation, anything. I knew the owners wouldn’t be able to provide me with any of this information or they would lie about it. Really, I just wanted to see how they would respond. I printed out information on Great Pyrenees so hopefully potential buyers would have a clue as to what they were getting into. I had everything planned out. The next morning I was going to give them a piece of my mind.
Everything changed when we walked in the door and saw those puppies.
Two of them. Two beautiful, Great Pyrenees puppies.
In a fish tank.
I started crying. I sat down next to the tank and started talking to the puppies. Their birth date showed they were less than 7 weeks old – far too young to be separated from mom. They weren’t even acting like typical puppies. Obviously depressed and stressed by their environment, they offered very little interaction. My heart was breaking. I couldn’t stop crying.
My mind started whirling. What can I do to help these puppies? I can’t purchase them. A pet store wouldn’t turn them over to rescue. I was so overwhelmed. I couldn’t think straight.
Nick sat with me and tried to calm me while my emotions flipped from sad, to angry, to heart broken, to furious. I hated the pet store. I hated the “breeder”. I hated the people that would support such an awful place. I hated myself for not knowing what to do.
Eventually, he got me on my feet and we left.
I hope with all my heart that these puppies end up in great homes. It’s all too common for people to act on impulse and purchase the adorable puppy without knowing the breed quirks. Believe me – pyrs have a lot of them.
All I know is that myself and the rest of the Great Pyrenees Rescue, Montana will be watching Craigslist and shelters very closely over the next few months.
How do we stop this? How do we save them?
Aimable Cats says
The one 3/4-Great Pyrenees I know would never put up with that. He’s a farm dog who spends most of his life outside, protecting the farm from intruders, such as coyotes, deer, and the occasional eagle. (He won’t bark at human visitors, but he will mark their tires.)
Even the rescue kitties at PetSmart have it a little better than that.
Every animal should have it better than this.
Jana Rade says
Breaks my heart that stores still do this.
Oz the Terrier says
I don’t know much about Great Pyrs, but I know what kind of store you are talking about! There is a local mom-and-pop pet store in our neighborhood and they sell puppies too. It breaks Ma’s heart to see them in these plexiglass-fronted cages. She REFUSES to go into that store and tells people to stay away! (But wouldn’t you know, our stupid neighbor bought a puppy from there. UGH!)
It’s always so frustrating when someone you know supports a cause you are so adamantly against : /
Susan and the gang from Life with Dogs and Cats says
Poor babies. I feel bad for the pups. And you know they came from a puppy mill. So poor mom as well. It’s one of the reasons I am SO glad that our state (New Jersey) just passed a law that requires anyone selling animals like that to provide all the information on where a dog (or other pet) comes from. Let’s shut down those puppy mills, and make sure animals get the best homes.
–Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats
I’m so worried about the mom. I wish I could pull her from whatever horror she is in.
Jessica Shipman | Beagles and Bargains says
I’ll scream and cry with you. Fortunately we only have one store that sells puppies and absolutely refuse to go there. I’ll take my business elsewhere. Doing that and educating the public is the only thing I know to do.
That’s all I know as well : / Hopefully, changes keep occurring.
That’s so sad. I wish people couldn’t sell puppies at pet stores. It leads to impulse buying and people with dogs they are not prepared for. Not to mention how incredibly young those guys are.
You’re exactly right. Most people have no idea what they’re getting into with pyrs. They’re definitely not a breed for everyone.
That is heartbreaking, but around here none of the pet stores sell puppies any more. They feature rescue and shelter dogs on a regular basis.
So the good guys are winning.
That’s fantastic. I hope we see more changes like that.
Lauren Miller says
I am SO sorry and I wish I knew. I’ve been there more times than I can count. It’s heartbreaking. 🙁 I always feel so bad for the puppies and then I think about the moms of these puppies and it’s a vicious sad cycle. 🙁
It really is. The poor mama 🙁
That’s horrible. You should find out what the laws in your state are about selling puppies. Ask your local Humane Society, ASPCA, or whomever is in charge of animal cruelty in your area about your options. There is a group in my area that protests in front of stores that sell puppies and they have been effective at stopping those sales.
That’s a great idea. I know it’s technically legal here, but we can still fight it.
Oh no. So sorry. The only thing I know is to educate people. I didn’t know that pet stores were bad until I started blogging.
Education is key.
Beth | Daily Dog Tag says
It is heartbreaking, but hopefully they will find good homes. Every time someone writes a post like this it helps spread the word. I know that so many people don’t understand that puppy mills are atrocious and that the pet store puppies come from them.
Education is definitely something we need to improve. People have to know what they’re supporting.
Amanda Yantos says
Even though I’ve been following your story on this, this post broke my heart and totally made me cry. (Excellent writing!) I think the best thing we can do right now is spread the word, write/get in touch with local legislation and start a petition to ban the sale of breeder puppies in your state. This is disgusting and it has to stop.
It really does. It’s infuriating.
This is heartbreaking. Thankfully our pet store only adopts out dogs and doesn’t sell any. I think I would have the same response to that situation….Feeling powerless to change their situation. I am so hopeful that they will be purchased by someone who understands the breed needs. Education and the amazing work of rescues like GRROWLS where we got Charlie from are key. <3
Not many people understand pyrs so that’s what I’m most worried about. Education will definitely make the difference in the world.
Jodi Jarvis-Therrian says
In an aquarium ? !
My blood is boiling !!!
I do know like when the circus’ come into town there is protesting and educational material being passed outside the venue. I just saw how much good this can do , because just recently Ringling Brothers released they would be eliminating elephants from their show, thankfully !!! Maybe you could protest or hand out literature to others or contact the news paper to do a story to make them look bad so they will be forced to change and stop this !
Your post, while heartbreaking, raises a good question – what can we do. I found this site http://thesocialpetwork.wix.com/thesocialpetwork they seem to have good info. The other thing I wonder about is contacting the media or even writing a editorial for your local newspaper. Perhaps we (animal lovers) should devote a month to writing letters to our political representatives and our media – this may get attention (on a national scale) on the issue!
Lara Elizabeth says
Here in Colorado we have a group called Citizens for Canine Welfare that organizes peaceful protests in front of pet stores selling puppies. Maybe you can find or even start something like that where you are? It was very brave of you to go in so you could write about it more effectively – I can’t bring myself to do so when I see them at the mall. It is still astonishing to me how many people don’t realize where pet store puppies come from…all we can do is continue to spread the word in hopes it will reach someone who truly doesn’t understand.
Spencer the Goldendoodle says
How horrible! Thank you for sharing, this is such an important and cruel topic and there needs to be a stop to selling dogs in pet stores from breeders!!!
My town does not seem to sell pets anymore at pet stores unless they are rescue animals. However outside of our town and in Vancouver it does not seem that way, the town next to us had a pet store I visited over 5 years ago and I remember it smelling absolutely awful, it was dirty and the cages were tiny for the puppies.
I don’t understand how pet stores are still allowed to not only sell dogs, but sell them while they’re too young and in those conditions.
Chelsea Price says
Wow. Just wow. Those photos broke my friggin’ heart. I have never seen puppies displayed in a legit fishtank like that. So depressing. Honestly, people don’t know. They don’t know where these dogs came from; they don’t realize how awful it must be to be trapped in such a small space, and they can’t fathom just how little interaction these pet store puppies get. Customers also will NOT understand this breed. I have met several Pyrs and while they have been wonderful dogs, you’re absolutely right that they have breed characteristics that people need to be aware of. Customers aren’t going to think about that; to be honest, I doubt many people will even know what Pyrs are. They’ll just see what the pet store wants them to see – a cute, fluffy ball of fur.
It’s our responsibility to educate. Let people know where these puppies came from. A group here in Iowa has been protesting a local pet store EVERY DAY for nearly a year, standing outside with signs and brochures of information. And even after all this time, they still have people approaching them, asking “What is a puppy mill?” We can make a difference.
If I were you, I would figure out who the head honcho is for that chain of pet stores. Send him an email just describing your feelings when you saw those puppies, ask him to take a look at the places he is getting these dogs from. Sometimes I find that a quick and short note can make a lot of difference, especially if this person is not very educated on puppy mills and their awful conditions.
Faith Ellerbe, The Frugal Fur Mom says
So I definitely just started crying. My heart hurts for those puppies and I hope they do end up in loving and responsible pet parent hands. There is only 1 store in our local area that I have found selling puppies. It was my first and last time in that store! It was an English Bulldog. I didn’t ask any questions, didn’t make any phone calls but I wish I would have. I can admit before adopting Harmony I was not educated about puppy mills and pet store puppies. There are a lot of people who simply have never been educated and as pet bloggers I feel that is our challenge. Yes networking with each other is great but how often do we step out our comfort zone and speak to a person, school or community that may not be educated on these subjects. That is a personal challenge I have given myself. I agree that an email to the owners would be great and contact or initiating a peaceful group in your area will be best long term. I’m sure that store will try selling more in the future. Wonderful post!
Alix Mitchell says
This is a great article, and definitely one way to start to change this is by writing about and spreading the word. Luckily, one of the biggest puppy mill pet stores in my area finally got shut down. I can’t wrap my head around how someone could think it’s cute that a tiny puppy that will grow into a huge dog is kept in a fish tank. There is just so much wrong with that.
So much wrong, indeed. It broke my heart. I hope I can see a world where these places don’t exist.