My husband and I make our living training and boarding dogs. During a span of two decades, we have worked with over 15,000 dogs and have at least 30 dogs playing freely in our doggy camp every day. Yet with all the classes, behavioral counseling, and daily observation, I still wasn’t prepared for the maze it can be to shop for a puppy on the Internet.
I did try local breeders first. I had always taught my students to visit the parents of any puppy first, so I insisted on this when answering a classified ad. The address led me to a dismal puppy mill where a 12-year-old non-responsive shell of a dog with ancient despair in her rheumy eyes was presented as the dam. This place, I found later, was notorious for keeping dogs a lifetime in cages in a dark barn, breeding continuously with no social interaction. I called the sheriff and had nightmares for weeks.
Then I turned to beautiful websites that had gorgeous pictures of well-groomed, home-raised poodles. Three of these very professional websites led me to very unprofessional people who refused to let me enter their homes to meet the dam and sire–one even heaped verbal abuse on me for asking! Then I made a $500 four day trip from Idaho to New Mexico to buy a red poodle from a lovely website only to be refused entrance to a small filthy home crammed full of thirty poodles (the grandson tipped me off to the number). Yet the breeder held out an AKC pup with a price tag of $1,800 as she named four different dogs as its possible sire. When I answered her email later frankly explaining why I had left so quickly without buying, she threatened to sue me for libel!
I headed home determined to teach our students never to order a pup from a website until you or someone you trust physically visits the home behind it! On the way home from this trip, discouraged and leery of any breeders, I decided to try one more website. I called Connie Halcom of Rainbow Toy Poodles in South Jordan, Utah, and was invited to make a visit immediately. Two well-groomed poodles came bounding onto the immaculate lawn to kiss my face and escort me into a beautiful, sparkling home to meet Connie. As I sat on the sofa beneath a wall of winning ribbons, the poodles cuddled into my lap. I cried with relief. Connie gave me a tour of the happy poodle heaven (she keeps only three adult dogs, one who is retired), the nursery, and the room where tumbling puppies learn the doggy door before they go to their new homes. When the pups master the door, they get to romp outside on the spacious lush lawns among the lovely flowers. I was overwhelmed with admiration as I saw Connie’s devotion to the health and happiness of the dogs, her meticulous record-keeping and medical testing, the home’s cleanliness, and her responsible breeding of quality poodles with great temperaments. As I type this, Rainbow’s Super Spicy Nutmeg, my new eight-week-old toy poodle, sleeps on my lap.
I am delighted with my choice and already in love with this healthy, well-bred puppy. Connie has been accommodating, helpful and supportive after the sale was made, too. As a professional in the dog field, I would with confidence recommend any of Connie Halcom’s Rainbow puppies. On a scale of one to ten as a toy poodle breeder, I give Connie a 10!
Vivian Stoppel, Founder, Retired Scotch Pines Dog Training and Boarding
New Plymouth, ID