Not What I Expected: My Sick Pet Store Puppy

Submitted by Kate M., Grandville, MI


I purchased Boston, my male Yorkie, from a Grandville pet store in October 2018 for $3,000. He had a slight cough, but I didn’t think anything of it at first and the pet store said there was nothing to worry about. 

Over the next couple days, he got progressively worse. Not only was he coughing more, he developed heavy breathing, stopped eating and started vomiting. I took him to the vet, where he had his blood drawn and some tests done. I was told his blood sugar was abnormally low and he had hypoglycemia. The vet gave him medicine to stop the vomiting, glucose to raise his blood sugar and high-calorie food to help him recover his strength.

That night, I watched Boston carefully. I slept next to him and force-fed him as needed, but he still seemed weak and lethargic. When he wasn’t better in the morning, I rushed him back to the vet. After more tests and an X-ray, they discovered he was anemic, had pneumonia and was fighting some sort of infection. The vet said he needed around-the-clock care and referred me to a local animal hospital.

Yorkie in hospital
On my way to the hospital, I called the pet store to find out if any of the medical costs would be covered under their warranty. A pet store employee told me not to take my dog to the hospital—instead, she suggested I surrender my ownership rights to Boston, allow the pet store to treat his hypoglycemia, and then I could take him back to the vet for his other health issues another time. I refused, explaining that he needed immediate care for all of his medical problems and I certainly wasn’t willing to surrender him to the store. 

I took Boston to the animal hospital, where they told me he would need constant care as well as IV fluids, oxygen and medicine. Their estimate was around $5,400, most of which I would have to pay upfront. I knew I couldn’t really afford the cost, but I paid it anyway. I knew that without the proper care, he wouldn’t survive.

I am so relieved to say that after extended treatment and about $10,000 in vet bills, Boston is finally getting better. He was sick when I purchased him, and the pet store should have told me. This is not what I was expecting when I got a new puppy. I would like to warn other people that they are taking a major risk when buying a puppy from a pet store. 

Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills. Puppy mills are commercial breeding facilities where dogs are bred for profit and kept in horrible conditions. Puppy mill operators often do nothing to make sure their dogs are healthy, and some couldn’t care less if their unethical techniques lead to the suffering of dogs or heartbreak of families. Responsible breeders do not sell their puppies to pet stores. 

All dogs deserve the good life—but as long as the secretive puppy-breeding industry continues to hide the truth, too many dogs will remain victims of its cruelty. Visit Barred From Love to find out how you can make a difference and stand up for dogs like Boston.