Stranger Danger! Why a puppy in a window should have you running away

I remember growing up, walking past a pet store window, and going “Awww look at the puppy! I want one!” Much like stores placing candy at the checkout aisles in a grocery store, pet stores who sell puppies rely on the impulse factor to get you to buy one. You see one you just HAVE to have, you go in, you play with them, and you are hooked. I have even fallen under the pet store impulse spell. Back in 1997, my ex husband and I went in “just to look” but we were NOT going to purchase one.  $800+ later, we walked out with Jake, my first dog as an adult.

Jake

Jake

Jake was an adorable rat terrier. The sales associate explained he was UKC registered but not AKC registered and had us convinced how unimportant that was.  Looking back, I have to appreciate how great he was at his job! This was 1997, I didn’t know then what I know now.  I don’t regret buying Jake, he was an amazing dog, but I will never purchase another dog from a pet store.

I may be an advocate for adopting but that doesn’t mean I am 100% against buying a purebred dog also.  I just want everyone to understand the pros and cons as well as clear up some myths or, in reality, some ignorance, about purebred dogs, shelters, rescues, and pet stores.

First, I understand wanting a purebred dog.  It is OK if you want a specific breed. You want a particular look.  There is nothing wrong with it. The first question I would ask is “why?” Why do you want a purebred? Is it the look? Ok. Is it the love of the breed? Ok Is it because they are better dogs? NOT TRUE!

Fact: You can find purebred dogs in shelters and rescues. You can even find AKC registered dogs in shelters and rescues.

Neapolitan Mastiff, Dog, big dog, Blue

@BellaTheMastiff

My Neapolitan Mastiff, Bella, is one. Have I ever sent for her papers? Of course not. (For the record, I never sent in for Jake’s either) I wasn’t going to breed either one of them so why spend the money? Yes, getting a piece of paper that says who their mom and dad is costs money. What are you going to do with it? Tuck it in a drawer just to say you have it.  Just because someone spent a lot of money on a purebred dog doesn’t mean the dog was given a forever home.  They get abandoned, turned in, re-homed, etc., all the time.  Talk to your local shelter about what breed you are looking for and they can give you the names of the ones they work with.  Sometimes if a purebred dog is in the shelter, the shelter will call a local (or sometimes a not so local) rescue group for that breed. The group will take the dog out of the shelter and into a foster home and then they work to find a new family for the dog.  This frees up another cage in the shelter, gets the dog out of a cage and into a home where the foster parent(s) most likely loves and understands the breed, and the rescue group works to find a new family.  Another way to find a breed specific rescue group is to just search the Internet.  Type in the breed you want followed by the word “rescue” and your search will begin.  Like everything, never wire money, make sure the group has their 501(C)3 status, and they are legitimate organization.  Another way is to search “Dog Friendly Events” in your area, especially in the spring and fall, to see what events are taking place where there are a lot of dog friendly vendors and rescue groups.

“I want a puppy”

Fact: shelters and rescues have puppies!!! I am always surprised how many times I hear someone say shelters only have adult dogs.  Puppies are abandoned, dropped off, found, all the time.  Sometimes a dog gets pregnant and the owner doesn’t want to deal with it, so they drop it off at the shelter.  Friends of mine found seven puppies outside of our dog park, with their feral mom and dad running around.  All seven puppies lived, were cared for until old enough to be adopted, and found great homes. The mom and dad were also caught. The dad is super sweet, was adopted and doing great.  The mom is still feral but in a foster home where they are working with her.  Puppies might not be available every day in a shelter, but tell them you want a puppy and they will let you know what they have and when they will be up for adoption.  You might not always SEE puppies in the actual shelter because they might be out in foster homes where they can play, learn, and grow in a better environment than a shelter.

“I want a small dog”

FACT: Small dogs are available at shelters & rescues.  There might not be as many of them, but they are there. Sometimes they are picked up by breed specific rescues like I mentioned earlier.  Talk to the shelter, if they don’t have the size you are looking for, I’m sure they can get you in touch with a local rescue.

“I don’t want a dog with problems”

FACT: A puppy from a pet store is a PUPPY MILL DOG!!! Talk about potential problems.  Let’s start with the fact that mom, you know, the AKC dog the sales person talked about, is kept in a cage and just gets to produce puppies. That’s all she does.  The papers may have a sweet sounding name like “Beautiful Acres Farms” (I made this name up, so if the business exists, it is in no way affiliated with the puppy mill business as far as I know). You want to picture dogs running free, having puppies in the lap of luxury but that is not the case.  These dogs are only good to the owners as long as they produce puppies.  Then, often, they are destroyed when they age out.  The puppy mill owners do not care about these dogs.  They don’t get love, attention.  They don’t get human interaction outside of food and water and shots.  Can you imagine the only time you feel a human hand on you is followed by a needle prick? Until they go to a pet store for sale, where they are handled from one person to another, often by people who don’t even know how to handle a puppy, supervised by people who collect a paycheck & a commission when they sell the puppy….all of this followed by being ripped from the only security they know, their mom, without an appropriate weaning time and transition.  Do you really think this doesn’t cause behavioral problems???

puppy mills, ozarks, dogs in cages

Photo Courtesy Ozark Humane Society

FACT: Like every “business” you have some bad associates, but for the most part, associates and VOLUNTEERS at rescues and shelters are there because they love animals and want to help them.  They aren’t there to get rich, trust me.  They want the animals placed in good, loving, forever homes so they will work with potential adopters to find the right dog for you.  There are dogs out in foster homes where the foster parent will discuss openly and honestly the good and, sometimes, the bad of the dog.  They will tell you if they are good with kids, with other dogs, cats, etc. Their sole purpose is to find a good home for the dog so it does not end up back in a shelter.  Can they get over zealous about ONLY adoption, etc? Yes, they can. But please understand what they see everyday and what they deal with. Appreciate their passion and understand it comes from the right place.

On the flip side, Pet Store clerks have little knowledge of animals and animal care outside what they are trained to say. Let’s be honest, if they REALLY knew and REALLY cared, they wouldn’t be working at a store that sells puppy mill puppies. They WANT you to buy the puppy so they get the commission. What happens after that, they don’t care. The money is in their pocket.  They are off to sell the next one.

Another unknown fact to many is many local animal shelters do not just have dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, but sometimes other animals as well, such as bunnies, chickens, and even a rooster from time to time.  While it may not be as common, any time an animal is picked up or confiscated from an owner, they have to have someplace to go until a new home can be found.

At the end of the day, there are too many GREAT dogs in shelters looking for their “furever” homes.  If you are looking to add a pet to your family and have no plans on entering that pet into the show world where registration papers may be required, please consider visiting your local animal shelter, look on social media for local rescue groups, or, if you’re looking for a new dog, go visit a local dog park.  Many owners there are friendly and usually willing to point you in the right direction.  There might even be someone there who works or volunteers with a shelter or animal rescue.

Do your homework.  If you want a purebred pet, please find a reputable, qualified breeder.  If you just want a loving pet to welcome into your home, please consider adoption over purchase.  You will truly be saving their life and the life of the pet who may be coming in to take their empty cage.

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

 

 

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Hyundai Elantra, my latest Hertz Rental Car – HaliPawz

As my summer with mom draws to a close, it was time for me to head back to Kansas City, Missouri from Port Huron, Michigan. I rented a car from Hertz like I normally do. I wasn’t as happy this time about the rental price, but that is another story. I had picked the group “Toyota Corolla or similar” and ended up with a 2015 Hyundai Elantra.  I have some question about the Elantra and the Corolla being in the same class, but Hertz, like any rental car, is never specific enough to give you an true answer and it wasn’t so far off that I feel like complaining again to them.

Rental Car 2015 Hyundai Elantra

Rental Car 2015 Hyundai Elantra

Let’s talk about this car for a minute. The first thing I want to acknowledge is that it is a nice looking car. I’m really more of an SUV/truck person in general, but I do appreciate a decent looking car at a good value. The car has a nice sleek look to it. When I got in to drive away, I was impressed with the amount of legroom when you put the seat all the way back. I’m 5 foot 10, so plenty of legroom, especially for a long drive, is very important.  I still don’t like how low it is to the ground, like I mentioned in a previous rental review, but again, I’m used to being higher up in my mini suv.

Headed to my moms to pick up my luggage I didn’t have a real chance to check the vehicle out, as it is a straight shot on a normal road. The brakes were crazy intense though! I barely tapped them and the car jolted to a stop!

When I start loading the luggage, I was impressed with the amount of trunk space there was. I am not the neatest packer, especially on car road trips. As long as everything can shove in the trunk I am happy! Because of this, I appreciate ample trunk space. I fit my suitcase, a duffle bag, a baby gate (for the dogs), a 30 pound bag of dog food, two tie outs, the dog’s travel bag, my laptop bag, a pair of shoes, some miscellaneous small bags,  and a big Sam’s Club thermal tote with some food in it.

Hertz, Rental, travel

Hyundai Elantra Trunk filled with stuff

Since it’s a rental, I covered all of the seats in sheets and blankets.  Filled the dogs water cooler and put it in the back, on the floor.  Loaded the dogs up and we were on our way.

Bella asleep in the backseat of the Hyundai Elantra Rental Car

Bella asleep in the backseat of the Hyundai Elantra Rental Car

The backseat must not be too bad, because Bella was not as restless as she was on the trip six weeks ago in the rental car. She only wanted her head out the window for about two minutes and then settled in on the seat and fell asleep. Zipper crashed in his normal place on the floor of the backseat.

When I first hit the expressway, I was a little concerned as the car seemed to want to sway back-and-forth quite a bit. There wasn’t a lot of wind, so I wasn’t really sure what caused it. All I knew was it was going to be a long drive if it continued. After a while, I began to think maybe it was me, because it seemed to get better as we drove along. There is an interesting feature I found on the car, you can choose what mode you want to drive it. The options are normal, Sport, and Comfort. I’m not going to lie, I played with it a few different times on the road, and I honestly couldn’t see that much of a difference. The steering wheel might be a little tighter in sport mode but it was very minimal.

I have to drive from Port Huron, Michigan to Kansas City, Missouri pretty down pat. I usually know where I’m going to have to stop, I know when I’m a third of the way, I know when I’m half way, especially when I’m doing the drive overnight. As I was crossing Michigan, I was on the phone and realized that I had already been on the road about four hours and the gas tank was still at half a tank. I couldn’t believe it!  I made it all the way from My mom’s house, to Kanake, Illinois before I had to stop!  It wasn’t because I needed gas, it’s because my bladder gave out before the gas did. It only took 10 gallons to fill it back up and we were back on the road. I noticed I still had 447 miles to go until I reached my home, and the car was saying I had 417 miles to empty. Had I waited another half an hour, I would’ve only needed to fill the vehicle up once for a 12 hour drive! That is pretty impressive. In looking at the gauges I averaged about 36.8 to 38.4 miles per gallon.  Not too bad.

Hertz, rental, travel

Hyundai Elantra Gauge showing 36.8 mpg

Hertz, Rental Car, Travel

Notice the angle of the edges on the driver’s seat of this Hyundai Elantra

As I have mentioned before, I am not a small woman. The seats were not the most comfortable in my opinion. The edges kind of dug into my outer thighs a little bit so I found myself shifting a lot. Perhaps if I had a vehicle with power seats, it might have been a  little better because I could have raised them up a little, but I doubt it. I found myself sliding down in the seat quite often and then having to shift myself back up. It’s just not comfortable when you’re wearing a pair shorts! Another complaint I had which I have often in cars, is the position of the center armrest and the side armrest; there is no comfortable way for me to rest my arm on it while I’m driving. They were both way too low. I found myself bringing my left leg up and resting my arm on it while I kept my hand on the steering wheel.

For some reason I don’t seem to like the cruise control on this vehicle. I can’t explain it, but I feel like I was constantly tapping my break and shutting it off and then driving with my foot on the gas again. I hit a little bit of rain at one point in the drive, and the vehicle handled it pretty well. I had control of the vehicle at all times.

***A little safety tip… Never ever ever use your cruise control when it is sprinkling, raining, snowing, icy, etc.!  It is not safe.***

Okay, back to the review!

The headlights were weird. I know that sounds strange, but I had difficulty figuring out if my lights were on or not!  I drove at least an hour and a half to two hours with just my parking lights on until it got dark enough for me to realize I didn’t have my actual headlights on. What threw me off was it looked like they came on automatically because the dashboard lit up a little differently when I got dusk but it didn’t look like any lights were on the outside so then I flipped the switch and saw a slight change on my dash and what I thought were lights on the car but then, like I said, it was only my parking lights!  Oops! Oh well I eventually figured it out.

The mirrors on the side are very nice, they are a good size, and the driver side has a little mirror insert in the upper left hand corner so you can see the road from two different perspectives.

The gauge lighting is nice, you have a clear indication of your fuel, you can toggle between your trip Miles, your miles per gallon, how many miles to empty, what your average rate of speed is, and how long you have been on this trip. It was easy to reset each one of them when I  started my trip. As I am a huge fan of the color blue, I was happy to see that most of the lights on the dash were a nice navy blue tone. Accented with white or a lighter shade of blue depending on which one you were looking at.

The steering wheel has a nice assortment of gauges on it including your cruise control your emotions to go between the different styles of driving, your trip information and you can quickly reset it from your steering well. I was surprised to not see any radio controls on the steering wheel, not sure if that is an option that can be added on different models or not.  The one thing I found weird though was that the controls were all on one side, so when you’re driving at night, it just didn’t look symmetrical.  If you have a case of OCD, I’m sure it would annoy you a little!

It has a sunglass holder up near the roof along with nice lights that are easily accessible and easy to turn on for the interior, I know they’re easy to turn on because Bella‘s big head turned them on more than once when she decided to walk around a little bit and try to move to the front seat!  I said try, because she wasn’t successful, but she did hit the light!

You have a 12 V plug along with a USB plug and in auxiliary plug all at your fingertips. The USB plug is a very nice touch. There is a small area to the right of the plug to put a few things. I put my Bolle` sunglass case in it though and it pretty much filled up the area, so it isn’t very big. The center armrest also opens up for additional storage, but I don’t like to put things in there for a rental car because I don’t want to forget them.  There is another 12v plug just off to the right so a passenger could also plug something in.  I forgot to look to see if any were in the back seat or not.

Front Area of Hyundai Elantra Rental Car from Hertz

Front Area of Hyundai Elantra Rental Car from Hertz

All in all, even with being uncomfortable seats, for a rental car on a long trip I would definitely choose it again if given the option because I loved the gas mileage and how little I spent on gas for the trip. I just need to either lose weight, or make sure I’m wearing jeans the next time! LOL

Both Zipper and Bella were able to fit their head out of the same window when we were closer to home!

Hertz, travel

Bella and Zipper sticking their head out of the rental car Hyundai Elantra

Hertz, Hyundai, Elantra, Travel

Bella and Zipper happy to be home after 15 hours in a car. You can see the water cooler on the floor behind them.

Would I purchase the car?  No, it would be too uncomfortable for me long term, but for one or two people (or skinny people) renting a car, it might be a good choice.

I hope this review helps you! Share your comments and thoughts if you have this car or have driven one?

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz

The love of an animal -HaliPawz

dogs, neapolitan mastiff, laying down
dog, mastiff, lying down

Waiting for Grandma

This is the door leading to my mom’s room. We had just come downstairs ourselves and I sat on the couch to search social media.  I heard the click of the brake on my mom’s walker so I knew she was up and moving around.

Bella, my Neapolitan Mastiff, must have heard the click as well because all of a sudden I heard the thump thump thump of her tail hitting my hardwood floor.  She gets so excited when my mom is around.  When my mom comes out first thing in the morning Bella does a polite excitement.  I love it.  Her whole body will wiggle, she spins a little.  She’ll mouth my mom’s hand (which is on the walker) softly until my mom says “no”.  She never pushes her or jumps on her like she sometimes does to greet others.  It’s as if she knows she cannot handle it.  Once my mom is seated, Bella will be right in front of her, tail wagging.  My mom will pat her on the head, say “I love ya Bella” and then sometimes the whole interaction is over.  Bella goes on her way.  I don’t even think my mom has realized this daily ritual between the two.

It’s not just the mornings.  Bella will greet her with a toy if my mom has gone into her room to use the restroom.  Bella will wait until she’s seated and bring a toy, usually a long stuffed animal or her long rope toy.  My mom will take it and, with her arthritic hands and shoulders, attempt to throw it.  It never goes very far but Bella doesn’t care. She’ll jump like she’s getting ready for a major sprint and pounce on it, grab it, and bring it back.  It only lasts one or two throws and then Bella, content, will walk away with it and lay on the ottoman.  It never ends that quickly when I’m throwing it for her!

So here we are. My mom will be out soon. Bella is waiting patiently for her. She has moved from being over by me to taking the spot in front of the door. She will be the first one to say good morning!

With Bella’s size, she doesn’t get to interact with my mom as much as Zipper does.  Zipper is small, he can jump up next to her. Bella has found her own way to share time with my mom.  She has found her own way to work into her heart. The love of an animal knows no age or disability.

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

When the box is more fun than the contents – HaliPawz

Priceless

Spend money on dog toys, dog chooses box instead

My dogs love cardboard.  Zipper, my Jack Russell, will rip open any box he can sink his teeth into in order to see if there is anything in the box for him.  I have ordered toys from the Horseloverz auction for them.  When the box arrived, I put it off to the side and got busy with other things.  I left the house, came home, only to find the box open and two of the dog toys destroyed already!

Bella, my Neapolitan Mastiff, doesn’t seem to care about the toys, instead, she has a love of cardboard boxes.  She will snag any piece of cardboard she can and walk around with it like it’s the best toy she has ever been given.

I love my fur babies.  It is never a dull moment with them around!

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz