It is heartbreaking to see any puppy--let alone a breed you love--sitting forlornly and possibly ill in a pet shop display cage. But the situation is not as hopeless as it appears. There are things you can do that will help this puppy, whether it is purchased or ultimately released to Kerry Rescue when it doesn't sell.
1. Don't even think of buying the puppy (or anything else) from the store! You will only be consigning its parents--and future generations--to more misery, abuse, and despair in the puppy mills. (Remember: Pet store puppy buyers are the sole reason puppy mills exist.)
2. Notify the Kerry Foundation's Rescue Director (1-800-532-2890) as soon as possible. You will receive help, advice, and ongoing support.
3. Ask to see the puppy's registration papers, medical history, pedigree (if one exists), and get the name and location of the puppy's breeder. Get copies of any paperwork the clerk is willing to give you.
4. Make note of the puppy's selling price, age, and how long the puppy has been in the store.
5. Ask to interact with the puppy. Many stores have play areas where you can do this. Try to judge the health and temperament of the puppy, its behavior, and it's overall well-being. If you suspect major health problems, inform the store clerk that the puppy needs medical attention.
6. Before leaving the store, let the store clerk know that you are working with Kerry Foundation Rescue and that you appreciate the information he/she has provided. You do not want the store to think that you are a potential buyer. Be courteous!
7. On your next visit (hopefully the next day), come prepared with a Puppy Information Packet (one for each Kerry puppy if there is more than one). Ask the store clerk or manager to provide it to the buyers of the puppy. The information packet allows the pet store to offer it as a thoughtful service to their buyer. It allows us to provide resources (breed information, and contacts for ear-setters, groomers, vets, trainers, and more) to the new owner.
8. Visit or call the pet store several times a week, preferably during non-peak store hours, to check on the puppy's status and price. Play with the puppy on each visit to help socialize it (without drawing attention to it by store customers!), and continue to assess it's health. Never groom the puppy, or do anything else that would make the puppy more appealing and therefore easier to sell. Remain polite and nonconfrontational with the store personnel at all times.
9. Everytime the price drops on the unsold puppy, notify the Foundation Rescue Director. Once it becomes obvious that the store is pricing the puppy at a loss, and needs the floor space for more marketable puppies, the Rescue Director will negotiate for the release of the puppy to our Rescue program.
10. Once the Kerry puppy is out of the store, ask the store owner to promise not to stock our breed again. Kerries do not sell well in pet stores (see Why Selling Kerries in Pet Stores is Bad Business ) and are a losing proposition.
If you are able to gain the release of just one puppy from one pet store, that's one puppy that won't enrich the puppy mill, the puppy distributor, or the pet store owner. And that's one puppy that will receive proper medical care and be responsibly placed in a good home. And, we hope, that's one store that won't be ordering any more Kerries. As the pet store demand for our breed decreases, one store at a time, so too, do the numbers of Kerries wasting away in puppy mills.
Now, do everything you can to educate potential puppy buyers (of any breed!) about why you should NEVER, EVER buy a puppy from a pet store . The exploitation of something as innocent and helpless as a puppy by those who breed only for greed is surely one of the biggest scandals of our so-called "civilized" society.
Puppy Information Packet for Pet Store Puppy Buyers
Provide the following information to any pet store that has a Kerry for sale--one set per puppy. Ask the store clerk or manager to provide this packet to the buyer of the Kerry puppy as a courtesy.
List contact information for local Kerry people who can provide breed information, referrals, and support, and list contact information for local Kerry groomers, ear-setters, vets, trainers, and any others you can think of. Include the Kerry Foundation's toll-free number for the Rescue Director, the web site address, and information on joining the Kerry newslist KB-L. See Sample Cover Letter (.pdf)
Print the following articles from the Kerry Foundation's web site.