I was considering adopting a puppy from Thyme and Sage Ranch but after reading the "beware" posts, I was concerned. Being a very experienced internet user and knowing that some people's compliment and complaint posts are less than genuine, we decided to drive down to the Ranch to see for ourselves. I think the first thing people who consider adopting a animal that was rescued from a puppy mill is that these are not premium health animals. There is a reason the mill was shut down and the animals were rescued...because the conditions were awful. Upon our arrival, we found our way into the house where the puppies are romping about. This is not a residential house but rather a house just to show the puppies to prospective adopting families. There is another kennel on-site and the adult dogs are kept in there but the "puppy house" is where the action is. When you first come in, Jennifer welcomes you and tells you a little about the different puppies and will help steer you to the right area to find what you might be looking for. There are 20 or so puppies in the house that are not housebroken so there is a urine smell. Jennifer and her volunteers try to keep up with all accidents but the puppies do walk through the pee and get it on their feet. As such, the puppies will smell a bit. And Jennifer makes it clear that these puppies have not been to a vet, she and her volunteers give the puppies their first shots and do their best to adopt out only animals that are healthy enough to be adopted. She tells everyone that their first step is to get a vet appt. She also tells people that if the vet finds anything wrong that is serious, you can get a full refund or exchange. I've adopted 7 rescued animals before and there are no guarantees that you have an animal in perfect health. Bottom line is that if you can't afford or don't want vet bills, you really shouldn't own any pets...they go hand-in-hand. Anyway, after about an hour playing with 6 or so different puppies, we settled on a very shy Lhasa-poo male. I suspect he has some kennel cough and needs a good vet check, something we have scheduled for tomorrow. I hope he is well but as I think I've made clear, I cannot be certain. I could never expect Jennifer or her volunteers to be certain. She rescues so many animals that there is no way she could afford to have a vet staff, not ideal for certain but what is the worse? Do you let the mills continue to treat animals the way they do or do you dedicate your life to rescue and do the best you can. There is no inhumane treatment at the Ranch. Sure, I'd like a pet store setting and my puppy to be vet checked prior to adoption, but think of that expense. Many pet stores buy from mills, either knowingly or not so is that a good option? There is a ton of info on the internet about adopting a rescued animal, it is not for everyone and it is your responsibility to go in armed with knowledge. Here is the best analogy I can think of: would you buy a car, 1000 miles away, without having seen the vehicle on eBay? This works for some people, and doesn't for many others. There are responsible breeders out there and if you are uneasy about adopting a rescued dog, then find one of those. You may very well still have a puppy with a medical condition that you are responsible to treat.
Bottom line: Jennifer has a personal conviction to shut down puppy mills. To do this, she needs to adopt out as many rescued animals as possible. If you consider adopting one of these animals, do your homework and know exactly what you are doing. Know your responsibilities and consider giving Jennifer and the Ranch volunteers a break. They really are trying hard and I bet none of us volunteer more hours towards our favorite charity or cause. I'll keep you updated on my puppy’s health.