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What's a puppy mill, Nan?

May 24th, 2005, 02:27 PM
I had my 9-yr old grand-daughter visiting for the weekend, and yesterday afternoon, we went to the mall. I helped her buy a birthday gift for her daddy.
She caught me off guard by asking if we could go to the Petland see the puppies and kittens. I had forgotten that her mom takes her there sometimes for this. :(
I said no, that I didnt ever go in that store.
"Why"? ( I wasnt thinking of how kids always want to know "why"?)
Well, because they support Puppy Mills.
"What's a Puppy Mill?
I didnt go in to any graphic detail of course - just said they are places that let the mom dogs and cats have too many babies so they can sell them. Because of that they sometimes get sick, sometimes they even die.
I also mentioned that other pet stores such as Petsmart adopt pets,finding homes for animals in need, and these were the stores I shopped at.
That satisfied her... end of story.

However, now my daughter disagrees with me telling her this. She said at nine - she didnt need to know all this stuff, and it was a harmless past-time that they enjoyed... that I have now put a damper on.

Maybe I shouldnt have said anything, I wasnt trying to undermine her views, but rather just be truthful with a child.

My daughter and I get along very well, I just dont happen to agree with her policy of frequenting this store for ANY reason. Even though they are not buying them, this is what sells the puppies and kittens. :sad:

I didnt think myself nine was too young to be aware of some of the basics behind the fuzzy little puppies and kittens she sees.
But - as she is not my child, I wonder if I did overstep my boundary? :confused:

May 24th, 2005, 02:38 PM
That is a toughie. . . .

Kids are far more aware, and understand alot more than we give them credit for. Think about kids of divorce. They KNOW exactly whats happening.

Although the message itself is NOT above your grand daughter, it is your daughter's right to parent her how she sees fit.

I think you handled the question well, you gave her the gist without the gory details about it. . .

My grandmother (Nanny) has always been brutally honest with me my whole life, and in truth she is the one person I admire the most in the world. I always appreciated that fact that she was always honest with me. . . .

I guess being the family matriarch, maybe my mom didn't have the guts to tell Nanny not to tell us stuff she didn't want us to know. . . . :rolleyes: ;) :p

May 24th, 2005, 02:50 PM
I agree with you. I am in the position daily pretty well of informing nine year olds they have cancer! So if they can handle that, they can certainly handle the situation of puppy mills. Most nine year olds are very smart!! And with few exceptions, most want to learn as much as they can about pets and how to care for pets. I know we have the Kindness Club in the Maritimes where an essay contest is held and sometimes the essays are about puppy mills - written BY 8 and 9 year olds. So, I guess I do not understand why your daughter would be upset with you. You shoudl remind her of what nine year olds learn in school - I also volunteer at an elementary school (an after hours enrichment program) - in my so called spare time, lol - and had a group of 9 yr olds win an international award for the development of a web site. It was a site about kids and hospitals of course, hehe NOT about puppy mills mind you but some in the competition did write about more grueseome stuff than that.

Not to mention that at that age, some of their favourite authors include RL Stine - too spooky for me, lol But I am sure your grand daughter will understand and I think you did the right thing!!

May 24th, 2005, 02:56 PM
I think 9 is old enough. I was a member of the WWF at 6- I already knew then how crappy humans could be.... Kids can watch cartoons where humans get ripped apart but they can't hear about real life things? If you think YOU did wrong, I think your daughter is doing worse by GOING to the pet stores and encouraging her daughter to think it's ok.

May 24th, 2005, 07:08 PM
Cyberkitten, I think the reason my daughter was upset at this is the fact that though we do agree on most things.. we have a few differences of opinons on animals and animal care in general.

Issues where we didnt agree have come up before.
She is a very kind and caring person and a loving pet owner, but in some cases, I feel she's a bit too "casual" in her approach.

Two examples of this:
-The last she does every night is put her two cats out for the night. They live in a gated townhouse complex ( no real traffic) - but even so, to me this is risking their lives.
- Her senior dog hurt his toenail a few months ago, it bled heavily and was bent-looking. When I heard this.. the first thing I said was.. He needs to see the vet at once.
No, she said. we are going to just wait - it will heal. ( which it ultimately did)

So, I believe she thinks I am 'foisting' my views on animal care on her, and in this case she thought..'there she goes again!) ROFL! :crazy:

We will talk more about it at a later date, it wasnt a big deal... but I could see that she was annoyed at my bringing up the puppy mill topic to the little one.

I also feel that in some ways she and her husband both tend to try to shield their daughter, their only child, from many unpleasantries in life.
I understand why, and even if I dont agree - its totally their call.

But yes, kiids ARE very smart and very receptive - difficult issues can be managed carefully and appropriately for their age.
IF the topic 'arises" as in this case, I didnt see the harm.

May 24th, 2005, 10:20 PM
This is not about animal care. In my opinion this is not the same scale of subject as a broken toenail. It's like differing in opinion about how to take care of a child's fever in comparison to talking about starving refugees in third world countries.

It's about educating her. It's not an opinion. Pet store pups come from terrible places. Just tell her where good puppies come from. :)

May 24th, 2005, 10:50 PM
Prin, yes I agree that they are not on the same level - at all.
The only parallel is that in each case, I expressed my disagreement on her choices concerning animals.
What I explained to my grand-daughter was not a guess, a view or an opinion, but the truth.
But, by doing this, did I convey the notion that what they've been doing all along - visiting the puppies at Petland - is a bad thing?
If I never go in the store - is it wrong for them to do so?

That is what my daughter was upset about
Not what I said - but the fact that I said it.

May 24th, 2005, 11:10 PM
My son is 7 and he knows the hard truths about a lot of things. We have never sheltered him from anything. It would have been very difficult to do with two intelligent parents and a couple of teenage sisters.

Q knows about puppy mills and has seen pictures of dogs from mills. I certainly don't feel I would be doing him any favors by protecting him from the realities of how some people treat animals and even other people.

Sounds like your granddaughter is pretty bright. From the sounds of your conversation, she excepted your answer and has moved on. Your daughter will get over this. (Trust me, I have a mom too and we don't agree on a lot of things. She has a pet store dog!)

May 24th, 2005, 11:11 PM
Ahhh... I get it now. To be honest, I don't think it's a good idea for her to go to see the beasties in pet shops... They're probably infected with all sorts of stuff... :eek:

May 25th, 2005, 02:36 PM
I think that I would've handled it the same way. The child was in your care and asked a simple question about why you didn't go into that store. It would've been an entirely different matter if you'd have brought her home and showed her pictures on the web of what goes on at puppymills. My SIL always sidestepped any sensitive question that her daughters would ask her. I always tried to answer any child's question by thinking about what they were actually asking and then giving them an answer that was age appropriate. We got into a fight once because my son who was a year or so younger than her youngest, asked me something about sex. My niece was at my house, and heard the question. I can't remember the exact question, but the answer led to another question and that led to a discussion about the dangers of sex (aids, pregnancy, etc.). My niece went home and told her mom what I had said and boy was she peeved! She told me that her daughter was too young to know about stuff like that (I think she was 13 or so) and she hadn't had any discussions with her about sex. Both of her daughters were pregnant before they finished high school, and one dropped out of high school. My son never got anyone pregnant, graduated high school, and is a productive member of our community. I believe that if a child is old enough to ask, then they want to know and you should give them an answer (once again, an age appropriate answer). I don't believe that you do your kids any favors by keeping them in the dark.

Maybe your daughter does think that you were inferring that taking her daughter to the pet store is wrong, and if so, then oh well! The best way to educate the public on the plight of dogs in puppymills is to educate the young - they are the ones who will make the difference! I bet your granddaughter will never suffer the pain of buying that cute puppy from the petstore, only to have it die from parvo a week later!