This Is Where Your Cute Pet Store Puppy Came From

Photo by Angels Among Us Pet Rescue|

Photo by Angels Among Us Pet Rescue|

This is Myah. She's a German Shepherd. Hard to tell, right?

After eight years of living outdoors and breeding litter after litter for a backyard breeder, she was finally dumped at animal control. She tested positive for heartworm disease, is severely underweight, has some long-untreated skin infections, and the skin on her stomach is stretched out from a life of breeding.

I bet her puppies were cute, though. They probably had full bellies and the beautiful, thick coats that shepherds are known for.

I bet they sold for hundreds of dollars each, maybe through online puppy sale websites or in pet stores. And I bet they didn't look anything like the sad dog you see above.

That's why pet stores and backyard breeders that sell puppies have it so easy. A mangy, malnourished dog can give birth to a beautiful litter. Imagine if pet stores had to "display" the parents of each litter next to the puppies they sold. Do you think people would be a little more outraged? Do you think they would think twice about buying a pet store puppy? 

Myah's story will have a happy ending. She's been rescued by Angels Among Us Pet Rescue in Atlanta, GA, and she's already feeling and looking better.

But how many dogs like Myah are still out there, subjected to a life of breeding litter after litter?

My problem isn't with responsible breeders. I know some really wonderful breeders that have the best interests of their adult dogs and puppies in mind. Their dogs live indoors as family pets, have regular health screenings, and are not overbred. So if you're really determined to get a dog from a breeder (of course I would recommend looking into adoption first!), just do your research and make sure the breeder is reputable and responsible. Here's a great chart you can use to determine the type of breeder you're working with.

My real pitch today is for those who are thinking about buying a puppy at a pet store or online. It's so convenient, right? You just pick the breed of puppy you want, and you can have that puppy at your doorstep almost immediately.

But before you fall for the convenience and catchy advertising, I just want you to look at Myah's picture, and think about where that cute puppy probably came from.

UPDATE: Myah has been adopted into a loving forever home! Thank you all for sharing her story so that other dogs may also get such a happy ending. 

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Positively Expert: Alex Andes

Alex Andes is the owner and head trainer of Peach on a Leash Dog Training & Behavior Services in Atlanta, GA.


7 thoughts on “This Is Where Your Cute Pet Store Puppy Came From

  1. AcornstoOaks

    Thank you for shining more light on the plight of animals like Myah. There are so many cruel and horrible situations that our "littlest angels" have to suffer through due to human indifference, ignorance and sometimes just an evil nature. They deserve better than they get.....they deserve kindness, shelter, warmth, good food, and most of all LOVE. I applaud you. 🙂

  2. Overleas

    There is a small problem with this story. Pet Stores only buy from legal licensed breeders not backyarder's Someone asked to see pictures of the parents I think is a grand idea, the more information good breeders share and there are lot of great ones the better. The best question to ask is ask the writer's of these fairy tale articles to fess up to some facts..

  3. Positively

    Thanks for reading my article, and I appreciate your comment. Just because a breeder is legal and licensed does not mean they are a responsible breeder. Most pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills and breeders that produce dogs en masse, which are legal and licensed in most states. Fortunately, legislation against these types of breeders is becoming more and more common. The particular dog in this article did come from a backyard breeder, but the point of the article is that people buy puppies from pet stores and online without realizing that not all breeders are created equal.

    The Positively Team

  4. Positively

    Hi Marcella,

    Thanks for your comment. I know Myah personally and from what I understand, she was surrendered by her owner to the shelter because they were done breeding her. You can't see in the pictures that her teats are sagging, but in person you can see that her entire stomach droops and is permanently stretched out from carrying so many litters. The most important takeaway I want to emphasize with this article is that people should do their research before buying from a pet store, online, or backyard breeder.


    The Positively Team

  5. Overleas

    A little off topic, I have a lady who is looking for a trainer to train her dog to be able to provide Diabetic warnings> Can you make a recommendation?

  6. Overleas

    Also I was wondering where this dog actually came from? It does seem to be distressed and of poor quality, reminds me more of a dog that is found on the streets opposed to a kennel dog, Normally a GSD is of much better quality, coat and several other notable things missing with this example. Victoria you train dogs and are totally dependent on someone breeding a litter somewhere. I agree with you there is or has been poor enforcement of AWA laws, however since 2013 the USDA has tossed a huge net over just about every breeder with a few exceptions, Dogs used for specialized use like GSD are exempt as well as hunting dogs, hobby breeder (Backyarders) and so on. In my opinion the exemptions are the worst as they do not have adequate facilities, or housing as required by the USDA kennels. If you want a great dog, you should be looking towards those who are licensed. The problem today is people who are law abiding invite the govt and they because of this are often subject to regulation, while others fly under the radar. the problems are very broad and varied, one answer will not "Fix" the issues that exist on all sides of the issue.

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