It’s not only dog-lovers who’ll be disgusted at what writer Shona Sibary revealed in the Daily Mail this week. Anyone with half a heart would struggle to condone buying numerous puppies and then giving them away when they’re no longer “cute.”
Most people buy a puppy with the best of intentions but life is life and things don’t always work out. That’s fair enough. But to buy four puppies — at different times — and give every single one of them away simply because they grew older and became more challenging is another story altogether.
Sibary describes the moment her dog Juno was taken away by her new owners as one of nothing but relief. “You see, I already had my eye on another puppy — this time a miniature dachshund, who, I was fairly confident, wouldn’t be constantly trying to scale the garden wall,” she said.
Reading between the lines, it doesn’t even seem as if her motivation for giving her pets away is an inability to cope with the demands of a growing dog — more that she got bored of them and wanted to trade them in for younger, cuter models. A bit like a middle-aged man who ditches his loyal wife for a woman half his age.
“Over the past four years I have fallen in love with four puppies and, on each occasion, driven miles with hundreds of pounds of cash in my pocket to buy them,” the mother-of-four admitted. “Then, months later, I have turned my back on them and given them away.”
“The minute they become too much trouble — which they always do — I fall out of love and start advertising them in the classifieds section of our local newspaper,” she continued. “You’d think after doing this four times in four years — and spending over £1,000 — I might have learned my lesson. But I’ve just gone and got another dog. This time she’s a seven-month-old whippet cross cocker spaniel whom [my daughter] has named Clover. And if she continues to leap onto the kitchen counters to steal food I’ll probably get rid of her, too.”
The writer describes herself as a “serial dogamist” and suggests that her habit of buying puppies then giving them away is down to the fact that she was never allowed to have a puppy as a child. “Maybe I just don’t know my own limitations when it comes to training an animal and clearing up after it,” she speculates.
Maybe. Who knows why she does what she does? What’s perfectly clear is that she shouldn’t keep doing it.
Beverley Cuddy, editor of Dogs Today, expressed shock and disbelief at Sibary’s puppy-buying habit: “I’m speechless when I meet people like this. Dogs are family and you don’t give up on family. It sends shivers down my spine. The problem is when you get a puppy, it’s ready to learn. If, in its first home, the dog doesn’t learn and hasn’t become sociable, when it enters the rescue world, it’s a dog with a whole lot of problems, a dog that’s not easy to love.”
“Even if you find it a new home with other people, very often it will ricochet several more times around other owners and rescue centres unless it comes across a wonderful person willing to spend time to undo those mistakes. It will be very hard to rehabilitate,” she added.