Adopting a puppy mill rescue
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  • 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:

    1. 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!

    2. 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!

    3. 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!!!

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  • I think that if you are physically, mentally and financially able to take this little guy on.. GO FOR IT!

    I work at a vets office and I'd say 90% of the purebreds I see are from mills or byb and the biggest issue I see is lack of socialization. A lot of fear biting, separation anxiety, etc that came from being separated from mom and litter mates too early. There are also a lot of genetic issues that you already know are a gamble. You can still have him tested for fanconi so you can be better prepared for his future. Temperament is also partly genetic and since you know nothing about his parents that's also a risk you will have to be prepared for.

    He may suffer from some structural issues due to being neutered so early but a lot of shelter do neuters on very young animals and they seem to do OK. I'd never recommend it.. anesthesia is safer in older puppies and there is so much research out there about the benefits of waiting but I wouldn't make that your deciding factor!

    He is still so young and you seem to have done your homework and you have experience with this breed. Socialize him, teach him good manners and be prepared for anything. I guess you could say that for the most well bred of basenjis though!

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  • ?

    Just want to say you are going into this with your eyes wide open so I hope everything goes well for the both of you and the little fella, and he does deserve a good life and sounds like he will get it with you, hope to hear updates as he grows, what are you going to call him?

    Jolanda and Kaiser

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  • I would suggest that you get the Fanconi DNA test and PRA DNA test done so that you know what the future might bring depending on the outcome. If I am reading your post correctly, you have a female now?… that is a good thing for the pup, since like you said, chances that he stayed with the litter/Mom till 8 or 9 wks is slim to none... Your girl will help raise and teach him!!

    The neuter so early is a concern... likely to have some effects on growth, but in the long run, should not be too much of a problem. However, one possible problem is "leaking pee"..... many early spay/neuters have this issue and even ones that are spay/neutered later in life can have this issue if the spay/neuter was not done by a good Vet...

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  • you've gotten some good advice already, so i won't repeat the above. This pup may need more training and socialization than the average basenji. I see Blue Springs Training center has an upcoming puppy kindergarten starting in May. While I know a few of the instructors there, i do not have any knowledge of the people teaching the puppy classes. I'd call and see if you can talk to them or sit in on a class your potential instructor is teaching. Make sure they are doing positive training methods. I'd also get a copy of Control Unleashed and do some of those exercises and be sure to start on Dr Overall's relaxation protocol, which is available on line if you google it. Otherwise, you really do seem as prepared as a good home can be for a new puppy. If you have any specific questions about trainers in the Denver area, I might can help. Mostly I know the agility people, but there is overlap.

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  • Thanks for all the advice, info, etc. We do already have a 16 mo. female brindle named Juniper. We plan to name this brindle boy Jaco (pronounced "Jahkoe", long "a" and long "o") after the jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius and also because it goes well with Juniper. His original name is a real mouthful and he already comes to any noise like your average curious pup so I think the name change won't be negative at all.

    I'm not worried unduly about socialization because we're going to do the exact same things with him as we did with Juniper who is quite the social butterfly especially for a Basenji…and as tanza noted Juniper will be with him everyday to show him how to live in all the situations we get in (home, walks, dog park, hiking, car rides, etc.).

    From what I've read it's too early to accurately strip test him for Fanconi, correct? But we could DNA test him for it at any age, no?

    The leaking pee thing tanza mentioned is exactly the sort of info I was hoping to get in this thread. I truly appreciate everyone's posts (thank you to those who said I seem to have done my HW, I sure as heck spend a lot of time researching with the little down-time I have) but it's those sorts of "odds and ends" that I haven't yet read or heard about until now. Then again I never in a million years thought I'd be trying to figure out what the heck it means for a poor little pup to be neutered so carelessly!

    So we'll get him Fanconi tested sooner or later, keep an eye on his ability to hold his bladder, really try to socialize him and train him extra well, and keep an eye on his chewing. When we met him w/ the rescuer he was really chewing on EVERYTHING a lot more than Juniper ever did. That being said, I feel like Juniper blew away our expectations because she never really destructively chewed anything beyond blankets and her dog bed...so it's hard for me to gauge if he's biting on everything like a normal pup or if he already has behavior issues from a presumed early separation. I really need to ask the rescuer for as many details as possible about his past.

    This little pup has been on my mind from the second my girlfriend and I met him. I gave me the impetus to research puppy mills and now I'm absolutely horrified...I mean I know things were bad but it really hurts my heart to think that he may have been treated like a farm animal (not that I want farm animals to be treated that way either, but especially not my pets). He came from Missouri which I know is not good. Another thing that blows me away is that many mills charge higher prices than breeders...WTH? I guess some people know they won't get approved by breeders and still others just want a simple transaction not an "adoption" so to speak...so they're willing to pay sometimes 50% more for that? It blows me away how I'm suppose to be living in the greatest nation on Earth and we still have people running puppy mills and even worse "consumers" so willing to buy them.

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  • As far as Fanconi… if you do DNA testing and he is clear or carrier, you will not have to strip test... only if the DNA comes back as affected will you need to strip test... I would do it sooner than later.. the cost is 65.00 and well worth the cost.

    LOL, he could be the exact opposite of your girl and be a bed chewer... ... you will not know that until you have him home... he could grow out of it or never... fact that we all face... I "knock" on wood have never had a chewer...

    You should get the DNA done ASAP... IMO.. and then you know what you need to do going forward... and hugs for you to consider taking in this boy... And then you know if you have a problem with him and holding his urine it might be connected to Fanconi.. because if it is, it is most important to ID it asap.. for treatment.

    Would love if you would post his breeder to this list so that others know what this baby boy and all littermates or other offspring would be subject to.... and not only that... if you take this boy, you should contact this so called breeder and question them about health testing... it is only owners that "corner" BYB's about testing that we "might" be able to get them to test before breeding.

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  • You can do the DNA test at anytime :). It's a cheek swab and is painless! I had it done on Elliot when he was 5 months.

    While it is possible for a male dog to leak urine later in life its FAR more common in females spayed young than it is males. My grandparents have a 13 year old diabetic pug mix who just recently started leaking and was neutered at 6 months. If it does happen there are medications that are pretty safe and inexpensive that can help.

    I wish I knew why mills are still around and why people continue to support them. :/ I feel like people are more aware of the problem now and may avoid pet stores but still think that because they went to a "breeder" they made the right choice. I see it everyday at the hospital.. "He's from a breeder.. here are his "papers". I plan to breed him!" "what do you know about his parents?" "THEY WERE FRIENDLY AND HAD ALL THEIR VACCINES!!!" :| I have to bite my tongue a lot or I wouldn't have a job.

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  • That's funny tanza, I was just saying the same thing to my girlfriend about how I should contact the breeder all nice like to get the info we want (as much as they're willing to give to someone they don't know is suspicious, I'll play the part), and THEN give them a piece of my mind! I will definitely try to find out as much as I can about this "commercial" pup's past. Of course I'm going to pick the mind of his rescuer since she said she did some research into his actual breeder who she said was a very bad man. If I can get any more info that I think is appropriate to make public I will post up here.

    We will definitely test him for fanconi ASAP.

    I just can't imagine trying to turn so much a profit that you can't even test the dam and sire for fanconi for $130, one test for each dog, no need for a retest. A measly $130. I just ordered one without even thinking about it, and I don't even sell a hundred pups a year with absolutely barebones expenses/insane profit. It just reaffirms that rescuers and good breeders are SAINTS because they aren't in the "business" for money. I know at $800 my Juniper's breeder wasn't turning crazy profit. These people making $1200 off a puppy they hardly put a dollar's worth of care into? There's a special place in hell reserved for those kind of people…and I thought those behaviors were limited to Wall Street!

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  • I have been in Basenjis for 25+ years and have NEVER made a profit from any litter. But then, I breed for myself and to try and better the breed… while I can't keep all the pups I might have, after my pick... the most important thing for the rest of the pups are the homes.

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  • K

    Thanks for bringing him into your lives and providing a loving home.
    Lots of good advice here already.
    The less anxious you are, the sooner he'll settle in.
    Maybe a bit strange, but talk to him out loud. How you see where he comes from, that he is already neutered, how welcome he is etc. - he'll understand the intent of your words.
    Love the 'Jaco'-thing - a true genius he was.
    Enjoy!

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  • GOOD NEWS

    Everything is 99% finalized and we're giving this rescue pup a forever home Saturday afternoon! Normally my g/f works Saturday nights but she took off so we'll have almost a whole consecutive 24 hours with the four of us together (Jaco, Juniper our young female B, my g/f and myself) immediately after we pick him up!

    Juniper is very interested in all the new dog stuff that we won't let her touch…we want at least his crate and blanket to be the one place that doesn't smell like Juniper. And she's been acting a little different lately, like she knows what's coming. Then again we brought home a blanket Jaco's rescuer rubbed on him to introduce Juniper to his scent and she had her nose all over that so she knows something odd is afoot.

    Thanks again everyone for all the input :)

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  • First Basenji's

    It was so conscientious of you to contact the forum and you sure are doing the right thing! So happy and excited for all three of you as you open your home to the new little guy! One thing that I have read in the past about bringing in a 'rescue' is that the first days everyone is feeling so bad for all the past experienced that the dogs has have been through and shower the newbie with all this attention etc…..then on Monday the atmosphere changes if some members go to work or school....the pup will learn the new schedule though.
    Learn from Juniper, show interest, but don't over do it with all that 'love' you do have. Let him come to you and hand feed him a little so he gains trust. Watch how Juniper sets boundaries about how much play is done, how close and for how long she allows him to snuggle up (if at all...). Walk around the block or at least the yard before you even go in the house-with Juniper of course for the first meet and greet! and when you do bring him in, keep him on the leash and show him around the house. Show him where he is allowed, where the water bowl is, the exit door for potty, his crate with the scented blankie, then allow small excursions(the crate is a good starting point so he gets used to sights and sounds of your household). I am not saying to ignore him, but just watch how Juniper is with him; as the Senior dog she will help you set the rules; and the more rules, the safer he will feel. I tell this to all dog owners who call me for help with behavior problems. However, you may not do any of this and all will be just great!!!! I will be doing the same thing in March when I bring home a 9 week old pup! Most of all, good luck and keep us posted. Especially about your expected conversation with this ?breeder???!!!

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  • Another thing, make sure that you still make a fuss over Juniper…. and still treat her like she is the queen of the house.... Also there is NO WAY to explain to people that sounds that you will hear from the two of them. You WILL at times think she is killing him... BE ASURED this is not the case, she will snap/mouth and nip him... this is her way of teaching him respect for his elders. She will mouth and pin him to the floor with her mouth on his neck, again normal. This is what would happen in the pack. Try not to stop them unless it is obvious that it is getting out of hand.

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  • Thanks for all the posts, everyone!

    Our rescuer told us that Jaco is already famous…his nickname is now "The puppy formerly known as Mogley" since we don't want his fans to wonder where he disappeared to...
    http://kwgn.com/2014/04/14/all-about-besenjis/
    Does he seem maybe just a tad bit active? HAHAHAHAHA!

    We've really prepared ourselves mentally and physically for the change…particularly thinking about how exactly to proceed with integrating Jaco into our pack. Fortunately we have enough love for Juniper and Jaco :) Juniper will always be our first and raising her has been like writing a novel. Since that was a once in a lifetime feeling (first time dog owners), we know this time around will have a lot more "seen this before" for us. And while we'll want to drown Jaco in love the first day we know the best thing is for him to get acquainted with (not overcome by) his new home and pack. Since that's a lot to take it we'll have to not let any one element become overwhelming. Thankfully he has a hold of crate training already so we know he might retreat to his crate and we'll just let him be and hold Juniper back if she doesn't get that he wants some time to decompress. All we have planned for the rest of the day that we pick him up on, tomorrow, is walks and a little training with treats if he's interested. And that'll be after the original introduction walk with June and Jaco, then coming inside for an introduction to our home, then a nap (since we'll all be exhausted by this point I imagine).

    It will be interesting to see how Juniper and Jaco interact...she's played with my g/f's parents' Basenji so we're familiar with some of the noises they make when playing aggressively, the banshee shrieks in particular. But those noises were mostly from the other B who's male and much larger (overweight)...and in this new situation she'll definitely be dominant because she's very athletic and loves to play aggressively and of course her competitor will be a clumsy pup who needs to be shown the rules. While he is very active she is developed and active...so we're apprehensive that she might get a little too rough at times...so that's great to know those things in your last post, tanza, thank you.

    ...still trying to figure out how best to walk these two B's with one being a small pup (equipment, method, training, etc.). To simply things we're going to walk them together but on separate leashes (I'll have one, my g/f will have the other) as much as possible and also walk him alone on separate walks often until he starts getting how we want him to walk/the way we walk Juniper.

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  • Sounds like you have perfect plans…. I am sure that things will go well. One thing to keep in mind, while Juniper might think have a "vistor" for a bit is fun... she will as most all other Basenjis do... look at you after about 4 hours with the look that says "OK, make it go home now"... THIS is typical... and will last for a few days... she will seek places that he can not access... the higher the better... and roar at him when he tries to join her... again, very typical. Banshee shrieks will be the norm... LOL.... my husband still cringes with that sound even after 25+ years...

    More like she will need a place to compress more than the pup... the pup will just crash, period and not care were...

    Walking them together, seperate leads is the best way, so you are already intune to that.

    Can't wait to hear your stories of the two of therm... and more than that... who the breeder was....

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  • He seems like such a lover! So many kisses for that sweet one eye guy. To be honest.. I was waiting for the adult to lay down the law!

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  • Well it's been since Saturday afternoon that my girlfriend and I have had Jaco in our care. It's been exhausting but nothing unexpected and an almost entirely positive experience thus far. Again, thank you all for the comments and advice thus far, it's been very insightful!

    Juniper, our 16 month old female, and Jaco, the now 14 week old male, have REALLY taken a liking to each other with no violently aggressive behavior at all. Juniper's behavior and personality have remained stable…we were worried about a lapse in some of her training especially potty training. That has made much of this transition so much easier. She's also still half-pup so she's really tolerating Jaco well. Pat (tanza) called it, to be dominant and at twice Jaco's weight Juniper pins him to the ground with her jaws around his neck until he squeal or even shrieks. But he challenges her at absolutely every opportunity he has! He was very skinny when we got him, the rescuer wasn't sure why because she fed him right and but only had him a week...so he's very, very food motivated and very velcro dog around the kitchen. But he also will just take whatever Juniper is chewing on at the moment simply because she has it and not him. And Juniper will let him take it but a minute later will crash in on him for the pin routine to show him who's really boss but on her own schedule oddly enough, passive aggressive really.

    But I'm kind of worried how pushy he is at such a young age. If he's this competitive with Juniper at this age, will it only become worse? Could it eventually lead to violent aggression (over food, for example)? He has even humped Juniper half a dozen times...at 14 weeks old!? What's up with that? Should we be worried he's going to turn into "one of those dogs", not to mention a dominant, potentially violent prone dog (with Juniper and/or stranger dogs)? We worried about Juniper being too aggressive in her play when we first went to the dog park but 90% of dogs absolutely love her or tolerate her just fine despite her high level of activity and play-aggression (biting at neck, pawing at the body, etc.)...so I feel like we lucked out with her, but it's likely we won't have that same luck again especially with a male, am I right?

    Besides those little worries about his behavior, we are absolutely thrilled about bringing Jaco into our home! We're just anticipating potential issues in the future regarding socialization especially for playing at the dog park...but should we? And should we anticipate dominance issues between Juniper and him given the indications this early on? I know males and females will tend to not be aggressive towards one another but with how dominant and aggressive June is (when it comes to playing, not being violent), I fear they could get into a pissing match when he reaches full size and strength. This is all just speculation at a very young age for Jaco BUT no matter how many times Juniper makes him shriek he keeps coming back for more...and I have a feeling that sort of behavior from him isn't going anywhere.

    Thanks again for continuing to provide me feedback, everyone's experience is greatly appreciated!

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  • His actions at this age are totally normal..(IMO). it doesn't sound like he is that pushy to me… but more like learning the "ropes".... and the boundaries. The humping is pretty normal too.... just "feeling" his way and testing the dominate "water"... so to speak.

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  • Thanks for the sanity check, Pat. I truly appreciate you following this thread…otherwise at this point I'd be afraid we took home a monster on Saturday, haha! But now I realize that our female Juniper was just an exceptional dog. She's always had a certain level of caution and almost disinterest at times. Being a male pup it's like Jaco is her dimensional twin as far as personality at least at this time. Jaco's persistence, despite being such a small guy compared to Juniper, is what I'm not used to. But over the course of researching into getting Juniper and since then searching for answers to questions I have had as she's grown up....I have never gone out of my way to read about male dogs. And now thinking about the crazy male dogs I've known throughout my life it just reinforces how laid back Juniper is about everything except prey.

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  • First Basenji's

    He is a beautiful brindle B/W! From your thread remarks since he has been with you both and Juniper, he is settling in just fine! Gee, glad he is not a shy puppy!!! Seems like you know dogs/Basenjis really, if you walk around the dog park to watch his reactions, you could gage if you should bring him in there. I had Uzie for one week and I drove down to Tampa for a dog park visit with MacPack et all. Uzie was very shy and only one B of 20 or so seemed to want to bully him, but no fights and Uzie was very, very under-socialized, but I had watched him with the dogs in my daycare and saw that he 'carried' himself well, avoided conflicts, and did fine. If you and your girlfriend don't have any reservations and he is bonded with Juniper, he will follow her lead too. Get out and help him learn his world! & Do post pics ASAP! Again, congrats on your new boy!

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