Consumer Relations

Most of us have probably had some wool pulled over at least one eye by retailers and merchants. Advertising is all about over-promising and, a lot of the time, under-delivering. I used to work in advertising sales, I should know!

The last place I thought would mislead me is a shelter. I would like to assume that it wasn't intentional, and that they're just lousy with what they do. And it may not even be the shelter's fault, but the vet that they send their rescues to for check-ups and shots.

The Husband and I have had our second dog for about three weeks now. When we first got her, she had received her rabies shots, and the vet told the foster lady that our new pup was a full-grown mutt, about a year old, or a year and a half. "Not a puppy" was what we were also told.

She got sick a few days into living with us and I was concerned since there was no information on her breed and her lineage - how was I to know what ailments she was prone to right? So I took her to a vet I don't normally use (the one I go to is muy expensive) but one that my dog sitters trust and take their dogs too. Turns out, the doctor I visited with specializes in canine dentistry. He examined her, chuckled and asked, "How old did they tell you she is? Because she still has her puppy teeth and this adult canine is only just growing in."

4 months, is at least how old she is. Big discrepency yes? Yes.

She's at my regular vet today, just out of convenience (that and I trust the nurses and doctors there and I wanted a second opinion) and it's confirmed that she's less than 6 months old, at the most, 5 months into doghood. No wonder she was having stomach issues - I was feeding her adult dog food! And no wonder, too, that she couldn't hold her bladder and is way more energetic than full-grown dogs tend to be. I have a PUPPY. She's a mere baby and we've had to adjust how we handle her. A lot more training is now involved, for both the puppy and our household.

I was sketched out by the shelter's vet's mistake, and even more sketched out by the reviews I read about them. As for the shelter and the people who run it, I'm sure they have their reasons for trusting that vet. And I'm not about to discount the shelter for any of this and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. When speaking to the woman who runs the operation today, she did admit that she's overwhelmed by all the pups they have and boy do they have a ton of little puppies and cats that need homes!! If nothing else, this incident is spurring me on to send support their way. I think they're a no-kill shelter, and their volunteers truly do love dogs and they take in as much as they can.

Lesson learned though: when adopting a dog, do your research. Call vets and animal hospitals you trust and ask for background information on shelters. Call shelters and do an interview of your own - what vets do you use? Have you had a lot of returns? That said, a rescue/shelter should be the first place one looks for one's next pet. Even if a shelter may seem shady (and this is a personal opinion), it's still trying to fulfill what all animal lovers hope for: giving a deserving critter a good home.

Animals are abandoned or given back to shelters because people just don't realize how much work goes into taking care of one. And it's much more challenging when they're puppies. We're keeping this little one... lack of sleep and free time be damned. She's full of love, and we totally love her back. And honestly? No matter what size she'll be (there's a chance she's going to be much bigger) we're going to take care of her.

If you're a pet owner, or are looking to take on a pet, I highly recommend Brentwood Veterinary Clinic (Dr. Holladay seemed to really care about the pup when we saw him) and Murphy Road Animal Hospital (My personal favorite, and honestly not always as expensive as people think). I've also heard really good things about Belle Meade Animal Hospital and Berry Hill Animal Hospital (but the people who left reviews have terrible grammar skills).