Whenever I'm out with my dog, usually the third question I'm asked, after "what's his name?" (though I'm never asked for my name) and "what kind of dog is he?" is "where did you get him?" My answer is that I got him at a pet store. Usually this is followed by some type of surprised look, or simply "oh really." I suddenly become the biggest dirtbag in the world to some of these people.
Now I know pet store purchases are a controversial topic, and having a blog that advocates responsible ownership means I should be adopting a pet, but I'll say this - purchasing from a pet store is like any other major purchase...you need to do your homework.
We purchased our puppy from a store, but only after doing considerable research, asking the store for references of others who have purchased from there, and asking around to other pet owners for their feedback.
We also took regular visits to the store to see their puppies. The dogs at this store were always alert and awake. They were playful and, well, puppy like. The puppies also played in pens together, separated by size, rather then being individually crated. The pens were very clean, as were the dogs. The puppies were well documented, with information from the breeder should we wish to contact them to find more info about the parents of the pups.
Now I know in general pet stores have a bad rap. And I understand why. I've visited other stores and didn't get the same feeling as I had in this one. In fact, going to some of the local malls, it seemed as though some of their dogs were drugged...the dogs were very sluggish and did not act like you'd expect a dog to act when seeing new faces. The mall dogs were dirty, the place smelled, and some dogs were in crates way too small.
This is the problem with pet stores, there are too many who don't care about their animals, and are just looking for the profit. The one diamond in the rough that does show they care about the animals get lumped in together and get a bad reputation. That is why we made sure to do our research. The last thing we wanted was a dog with health problems and social issues from not being treated properly and not being with other dogs.
The store where we purchased from actually called us to make sure everything was OK and to see if we had any questions. Talk about customer service! I just wish more pet stores could be like this.