After searching the Internet, I found someone offering English Springer Spaniels for sale here in Missouri, about an hour away. Okay, I think, I’ll write the seller and see about driving down to take a look at the pups. It’s not so simple as the E-mail I received back shows:
Unfortunately we do not let anyone come to our home but I would be more than happy to meet you with my available females. We did have a black and white female puppy but she is sold.”
I remembered hearing that Missouri is known as a puppy mill state, and I don’t intend to help foster this kind of business practice. Whether the seller was or wasn’t a puppy mill, I decided to do a little more research.
Many of the people selling purebred dogs online are offering several breeds and multiple litters. This raises questions immediately in my mind that this is a purely commercial business with little thought to turning out a quality pup. The Humane Society of the United States has several articles worth reading if you are like me and in the market for a dog: Buying a Puppy, Get the Facts on Puppy Mills, and How to Find a Good Dog Breeder which carries this advice, “Please don't ever buy a dog without personally visiting where he or she was born and raised.”
My instincts were spot on. According to a downloadable brochure from the Humane Society of the United States, some other things to look for in a potential breeder are:
Keeps dogs in the home as part of the family---not outside in kennel runs
Has dogs who appear happy and healthy, are excited to meet new people, and don’t shy away from visitors
Shows you where the dogs spend most of their time--- in a clean, well maintained area
Encourages you to spend time with the puppy’s parents---at a minimum, the pup’s mother---when you visit
Only breeds one or two types of dogs and is knowledgeable about what are called “breed standards” (the desired characteristics of the breed, such as size,
proportion, coat, color, and temperament)
The search is on but I’m taking the time to do my homework.