Doxieworld.com / Sells Sick Puppies
After adopting "rescue/shelter" dogs all of my life, my husband and I decided to purchase a mini-dachsund. We searched for a couple of days and came across Puppyfind.com and Ms. Diane Vantwyver aka The Good Shepherd Kennels. We asked her all of the questions we had been informed to ask before purchasing a puppy from the internet.
We even followed the advice given by other consumers (not of this breeder) and spoke to Ms. Vantwyver several times on the telephone before deciding on the puppy. We were assured that he would arrive with a veterinary certificate and vaccination records that were up to date. We also arranged to have the puppy transported via ground from MO to FL because we felt it would be less stressful for the little dog. We even asked for recent photos of the puppy so that we could make sure that the puppy we put a deposit on via Paypal would be the same puppy we would receive.
The day before he was to ship out, Ms. Vantwyver emailed to tell me that the puppy had a slight case of diarrhea but that she would be taking him to the vet the next day. I emailed her and stated, quite clearly, that if the vet found him to be "free from any communicable and/or deadly diseases" and gave him the go ahead to travel, we would resume his continued care once he arrived. This is something that most breeders require of new owners and it was something we had already arranged for.
I called Ms. Vantwyver the day the puppy was to ship out and she stated that veterinarian had given him a "fecal" and found him to be healthy and fit for travel. For two days we anticipated the arrival of our new family member. He had a room to himself, his own little bed, toys, blanket, etc.
He arrived on 2/2/2010 at about 8:30 p.m. We met the delivery service and the passenger handed me our new "baby." My husband signed the receipt and we drove the mile and a half back to our home. However, I quickly realized something was wrong. Our puppy was lethargic and not behaving the way an 8 week old puppy should. We got him home and he refused water, food and just about any interaction with us. We simply figured he was tired.
I placed him in his little bed and laid next to him for the night. Within the hour he was throwing up foamy saliva and having bouts of foul smelling diarrhea. Not wanting to risk his well-being, I rushed him to an Emergency Clinic. It was 4:00 a.m. in the morning. The diagnosis? Parvo, and advanced dehydration. I was beside myself! Anyone who knows anything about dogs knows that a diagnosis of Parvo is akin to a death knell!
I called Ms. Vantwyver sobbing. Both she and her husband began to question the diagnosis. The test was unreliable, Mr. Vantwyver told me. He was just stressed from the trip, Ms. Vantwyver said. We agreed to withhold any decision until the next day.
The bill was $190.00 for that night's treatment and I was advised that he had most likely been ill for sometime and that my vet should see him asap the very next day. I already had the first day's appointment so for the next several hours, I held him against my chest and prayed until the sun rose.
I was at my vet's 10 minutes before he opened. I was rushed in immediately and my vet began a series of tests. My new baby had advanced Parvo, an upper respiratory infection, dehydration, low white blood cell count and was in desperate need of medical attention. As my vet and I discussed treatment, a shot of liquid blood mixed with feces came out from the puppy's behind. It smelled of death and the vet gave him a 50/50 chance of survival.
I showed him the paperwork that I had received. The vet certificate did indeed state that he was fit for travel. It also stated that he had examined the animal and saw no visible signs of any deadly contagious/communicable diseases. He also referenced the shot records listed above on the same certificate. My vet looked at me and grimaced. There were no shot records on the certificate. The only "proof" of any vaccinations were listed on a make-shift form and handwritten with the dates and names of the vaccines. However, the columns where the stickers that accompany the vaccination vial's lot# and expiration dates were missing. In other words, I had nothing. There was no way I could verify that my puppy had received the shots. Who knows if he ever did.
The technician had to almost carry me out of the room. I was hysterical, crying and despondent! I had already fallen in love with our new family member and there was no way I was going to let him die or put him down while he still had a chance. He was hospitalized that second with iv fluid drip, anti-biotics, vitamins, glucose...you name it! I left the vet in tears. Not only was my new puppy desperately sick but, I had exposed my two 12 year-old rescue dogs to this deadly dog-killing disease.
I called Ms. Vantwyver who demanded to speak with my vet. I certainly didn't object and when she called me back 10 minutes later, she said she would reimburse me for the price of the dog. I explained to her that it was a good start however, that both veterinarians had assured me that there was no way he could have contracted Parvo during his two day trip and show such advanced symptoms as he had demonstrated.
For eight days our puppy fought to survive his diagnosis but in the end, he simply was too sick. He slipped into a coma and passed away. I then found out that after she had spoken to my vet the first time, she continued to call back but they refused to give her any information. I was told by the office staff that she became increasingly rude and crass.
Her response the next day? She chastized me for being impatient and told me she would no longer speI emailed Ms. Vantwyver (very nicely and politely) as my little one was stll fighting (and the vet bill had hit the $900.00 mark, ) and implored her to please give me some assistance so that I could afford to give our baby every chance we could. The way my husband and I saw it, it was the least we all could do for him. As long as he fought, we would make sure he could! ak with me. She even called me a nut and a liar.
However, she didn't address vital point. That she had sold me a very, very sick little dog. She didn't take responsibility at all past returning his sale price. This wasn't a chenille sweater that had a snag upon arrival. It was a life! It was a poor, defenseless puppy who suffered god knows what before he even arrived and then, fought like a champ to make it. He never lived to experience the loving home that awaited him. I will never forget his little eyes turned upward looking at me as I held him against my chest. Did he ask himself why this lady, who held him in her arms so lovingly, wasn't able to make him feel better? Does he know how much he meant to me?
The entire staff at my vet cried when he passed away. They had all taken turns holding him and hand feeding him while he was in their care. They doted on him so much that he had learned to respond to his new name! Vet techs came in on their days off to see him and after hours to make sure he was alright. Did he know how much everyone loved him?
That is to say, everyone except Ms. Diane Vantwyver! She didn't have to love him...but couldn't she at least have cared? She believes that Missouri's lax laws regarding these matters will protect her. They won't. My puppy lost his fight, but I will continue to fight for him!
I have documentation from two independent vets, vet technicians and emergency clinic doctors attesting to his condition immediately upon arrival. I have the incomplete shot records she sent along with him. She has nothing but a cold-heart and the misapprehension that I will let the matter fall by the wayside.
As a dog-lover, I will never cease to expose her for what she is. As an animal rights activist, I will continue to warn other buyers and as a citizen of this country, I will proceed against her via every legal means at my disposal!
Until then, please learn from my experience! Do not do business with this woman. It will only break your heart!
P.S. The USDA has a report online about Ms. Vantwyver a.k.a. The Good Shepherd Kennels from 2007. There were at least three violations concerning the conditions her puppies were being kept in - and the fact that they weren't "labeled" as to the litter they belonged to!