The Saving of Copper
I don't really know when my husband decided he wanted a Basset. We had always had hounds - blood, coon you name it, we had it. But up until that moment no Bassets. So that year my husband asked for a Basset for Christmas.
Well the search was on as there were only 6 weeks till the big day. I went to town to get groceries and saw an add on the community board, went home and phoned the number. As I was talking to the "breeder" I was getting a weird feeling. It started with the fact that she wouldn't let us come to look and pick out our own puppy. Then she wouldn't send pics of the male pups she had. As I was getting more frustrated, I finally said I wasn't interested anymore and thank you for her time. Two days later she called me back and said we could come out to look. So I got directions and popped the big surprise on my husband, three days before Christmas. Was he ever excited!
As we were driving out to her house, I related the past 5 weeks of dealing with her to my husband, who made the joke that it sounds like she had something to hide. Boy did she ever!
As we pulled into her yard i was speechless. The trailer that she lived in was in a concrete fence of dog poop. It was almost up to the windows in some areas. The window on the front of the trailer had dog kennels covering it on the inside and the smell in the middle of winter that hit as we stepped out of our truck almost knocked us over. The racket of barking dogs was incredible and made it almost impossible to speak.
As we walked into the yard I tried hard not to cry at the sight that greeted us. There was poop and dogs EVERYWHERE! They were tied up with everything from binder twine (this on the smaller breed dogs) to logging chain for the bigger dogs. She had Yorkies tied to the collars of Bassets and Rotties and they were being jerked and chewed on. When I asked what the heck was this supposed to be she answered a "breeding" kennel. Now it had been some years since I had seen a breeding kennel. My mom raised Beagles all my childhood and I know what hers looked like and this place was no where near that.
Fearing what we would see next I asked her where the Basset puppies where and she pointed to a shed at the edge of the yard. There was no roof on it and it was fenced with insulation sandwiched between two pieces of chicken wire. You could see where the puppies had chewed the insulation. I looked at this woman and said you don't really have the puppies out here do you? To which she answered, of course. There's nothing better for puppies the fresh air (it was -23 that day and the puppies were 3 weeks old). I asked her if they were with their mom as I could only hear the weak cries of the pups. She said they had been weaned for almost a week as the mom came into heat and she didn't believe it was healthy for the pups to nurse when the mom was in heat. It makes her milk sour she said. Ok so by this time i am 100 percent convinced that we are at a puppy mill and am feeling more then a little sick to my stomach.
To make a really long story short we paid 1000.00 dollar for our puppy, drove to the highway from her house, stopped on the highway and called the cops and reported her and her husband. The cops came out within 20 minutes. We showed them the turn to their yard and heard a few days later that they had confiscated over a 100 breeding pairs of dogs. These people where advertising these dogs as pure breeds but non had papers and they came with no health checks or anything.
When we took our pup home we had to treat for malnourishment, worms, and parvo, at 3 weeks old. We had fed him for another 3 weeks before he was big enough to start eating by himself and he came with a few issues like a grade 4 heart murmur and some deformed ribs which cause him some difficulties in breathing when he runs hard. Aside from these he is the most wonderful dog we have ever had. His personality is amazing as are his quirks. I know we paid an arm and a leg for him and no guarantee. But in the end I think we are the ones that won. No more puppy mill and we have an amazing family member.
We have had Copper for 12 yrs now and just found out he has lymphadic cancer. Even though this is soon to be the end of him as a family member, I feel that our live s have truly been blessed by him.