I got the mixed-breed, money-wasting blues
Stand back! It's been a frustrating day at work. When I arrived at the clinic this morning, I was immediately pounced on by a large, shaggy puppy. As the puppy bounced around the waiting room, his owner raved on and on about the bargain she'd found. She'd purchased this labradoodle for "only $1,500!"
I see more and more clients with high-priced (excuse the expression) mutts. Many of these dogs come from local breeders, one of whom has a stud poodle on the loose. This "breeder" sells labradoodles, puggles, lhasa-poos, yorkie-poos, cockapoos—you get the idea. Another kennel does the same with Chihuahuas. (I admit chorkies are cute, but when my aunt's Chihuahua and yorkie hooked up a few years ago, she was begging people to take the puppies, not selling them for outrageous prices.) These clients arrive at my practice carrying official-looking "papers" from the breeder after having paid $300 to $800 for a fad puppy. Do they even realize they've bought a mixed-breed dog?
It's not the dog—it's the price!Don't get me wrong. I love mixed-breed dogs; I own two great mongrels. What bothers me is seeing clients pay extraordinary prices for these so-called "designer dogs" while millions of purebred and mixed-breed dogs, available at low prices and longing for homes, are killed in our shelters annually. If people weren't buying mixed breeds, maybe breeders would stop mass-producing them and more shelter and backyard animals would find homes.
Home at last
Fortunately, the pom-poo was my last appointment for the day, so I hurried home and vented to my husband. He suggested that considering the math (11 pups at $1,500 each equals $16,500), perhaps I should hang up my stethoscope and breed mutts. About that time my niece showed up and asked if we wanted to play her new Monopoly game.
"Only if I can be the Scottie and own Boardwalk," I insisted. She gave me a strange look and dumped out the game pieces.
"What the heck?" I asked.
My husband picked up the dog figurine, examined it, and confirmed my worst fears.
"It's a labradoodle," he said.
You, too, Parker Brothers? I give up!
Dr. Melody Heath is an associate at Viewmont Animal Hospital in Hickory, N.C. She's pictured with Daisy, a white-beagle mix adopted from the Asheville Humane Society. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org