My girlfriend and I are THIS close to adopting a 14 week old Basenji pup from the local rescue. Unfortunately for him he did not come from the best of circumstances. We aren't going to hold that against him…I'm not sure there's anything you could say that would make us think twice about adopting him. That being said, we'd like to get as many opinions and anecdotes as we can about what to expect from him given what his rescuer has told us about his background.
He was bought from a puppy mill out that had a front as a legitimate breeder (website, talk-the-talk, etc.). But when the couple that got him drove 8 hours to the "breeder" they arrived at a home that was not what they expected. Feeling bad for the pup and haven driven all that way, they took him home out of guilt. The rescuer also looked into the "breeder" and found out he has an extensive criminal record. The worst of it from our perspective is that he was neutered before he even left the puppy mill (not sure on exact age) W T H !!! The couple that got him from the mill couldn't handle him and gave him up to the rescuer.
Put all that absolute insanity aside, this pup seems the male counterpart to our female at that age (now 16 months) with whom we "did everything right" (good breeder, neutered at a more appropriate age, etc.). He's been checked out by a vet who has given him vaccines and a clean bill of health. He still acts the part of a healthy, adorable puppy…if he wasn't already neutered and from a reputable breeder I wouldn't know the difference. The rescuer has had him for 3 weeks and believes there's no indication that he would be unhealthy during his life beyond the acknowledge of his background (no litter info=Fanconi gamble, etc.). He is very clumsy which we know is normal for his age and he can run and walk straight but at times he seemed to favor a particular side by turning towards it a few degrees from center, always that same side.
So that's the relevant info. I have a few questions:
As someone who wants to give this little guy the chance for a wonderful life that he deserves, what do I need to know about puppy mills? Like what health and behavior issues are commonly associated with pups from mills? There's a good chance we didn't spend the ideal 8-9 weeks with his litter and mom…gosh I feel so bad for this poor little pup!
What the heck should we think about him being neutered SO young? We know it's so far from ideal…but I mean, he seems to have taken it in stride...like I said, vet said he's doing well and of course that vet would have had to acknowledge his neutered state. What health and/or behavior issues could arise from being neutered at younger than 6 months? For all we know, he could have been neutered at 6 weeks (if that's even possible), again he was sold neutered and they may have picked him up at 6 weeks not knowing any better. Holy cow just thinking about that upsets me so much. And it makes us want him even more, because he deserve a good home after such senseless upbringing!
As I mentioned above, this pup seemed to favor one side. Is this anything to be worried about? We handled him and actually inspected him pretty good including pokes and prods but he was not tender anywhere. Maybe this is growing pains, or indicative of particular some health/developmental issue?
To conclude, I would like to stress that my girlfriend and I are having this same conversation with two local vets and the pup's rescuer. This post here is for supplemental information and a brainstorm of opinions. I would like to gather as much information as possible and value the opinions this forum and it's members have to offer. It is indeed unfortunate that pups like this are being "pumped out" like products, "ready to roll" already neutered like a car sold with a full tank of gas…WTH!! But we firmly believe this little guy deserves just as much a chance as our pure-breed. We just want to know what all this baggage means, thanks so much for any info!!!