Thursday, February 17, 2011

The World is a Sick, Sick Place.

The other day I happened to be reading the Facebook news feed, as I sometimes do when I'm trying to kill time. Up near the top, I saw a link posted that really upset me from first glance, but I thought I'd give it a chance to not be something terribly heinous. So I clicked. And I was met with the (partial) screen you see below. You can click to make it bigger.

This site is which is a ridiculous URL to begin with. Also ridiculous is:
a) selling dogs over the internet.
b) calling puppies a luxury item.
c) having a "BEWARE of SCAM!!" post on your site. Which you can't read unless you've logged in. So this scam must not be too important. Maybe the note actually reveals what I'm about to tell you.

But first....

Why am I upset by this, you ask? Somebody was just contemplating buying a darling little puppy. This is true. But....please, if you haven't, do click to make it bigger. Look at these dogs. Do they look normal to you? Have you ever seen a dog (outside of Paris Hilton's handbag) that looked like that? My problems with this are numerous.

First off, the term "teacup" is ridiculous. It doesn't exist. Talk to someone at the AKC or the AKA if you don't believe me. They will gladly tell you that each breed has a weight standard. What is called "teacup" does not fall within breed standard and, therefore, is not a "purebred" dog. Now, don't get me wrong...mutts deserve love too! But...

If you go to a pound and adopt a mutt, you aren't paying $3000-5000. For these tiny little dogs, which are specifically bred to be this tiny, you will pay that much. Most people in this situation assume they are just getting a really cute, tiny, purebred dog that they can dress up and carry around.

I am not criticizing small dogs. I have one. She is a registered Yorkshire Terrier, and I love her very much. I have no idea what I'd do without her. She, however, is a healthy, full-grown, 7-pound dog.

So, what's the harm? Somebody just prefers to be shallow and have a tiny little dog they can treat like a doll. Hell, that's not even my main problem. Yes, I find it wrong...but, not the main issue.

The main issue is that these "teacup" dogs are NOT healthy. You may, as a fluke, receive a dog that will live a normal life. But that is not the typical case. Small dogs that are bred normally, from average-sized adult dogs, still are far more susceptible to health problems than large dogs. Many struggle with hypoglycemia, many suffer collapsed tracheas and have to undergo extensive surgery to repair the issues, and, as they get older, many small dogs suffer hip problems from jumping and climbing stairs. With a "teacup" dog, you can add to this list of problems potential liver or kidney failure (if these organs fully develop at all) and musculoskeletal problems which may begin as soon as the dog is able to stand on its own. Of course, bad things can happy to any dog or human. But the rates are much higher in these pocket pooches than in other dogs. If you want to read more about these problems, there are some basic points stated here.

Some dogs are naturally born very tiny. The breeder from whom I bought my yorkie had a small little boy pup named Joshua that weighed only 2 pounds. But, the difference is that she wasn't trying to rip people off with him. She loved her dogs and understood the inherent health problems that could occur with Joshua. Dogs born too small or unhealthy, she kept in her home and raised herself. My mom also has a very small yorkie (that started at 4 pounds) - but that dog was the victim of an abusive home where she was underfed.

So I guess my point is that I find it very sick that anyone would buy a dog, a pet that they have the intention of loving and caring for (or maybe not in some cases), without first doing the research to understand the care that said dog needs, or without bothering to think about what the dog will suffer through.

I guess for some people, though, fashion is more important than giving their dog a healthy life. I just would hope that people would put a bit more thought into such a big decision.

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