So we've been wanting to get a dog.
We always said that we would adopt a dog from a shelter, and get a mutt. We live in a small apartment, and need a small dog. Online yesterday I looked at 450 dogs available for adoption in New York City, maybe 4 were of the size and age we wanted. Also, after hearing some horror stories about shelter dogs with behavior problems and other physical ailments, we decided to got the safe route and go to a breeder.
I had no idea this was going to be such a difficult process. The names of AKC breeders seem to be a closely guarded secret among the dog-erati. We started out at the AKC site, which directed us to contact "regional coordinators" who, after some additional email prodding and in one case a check for $5, sent us listings of people who own the breed we are looking for, and agree to have their names distributed. They are not all breeders. Some are just dog-owners who like to talk about the dogs. Along with the lists is an admonishment to begin to "network" and establish relationships with breeders, visiting them, (showering them with gifts, perhaps?) in hopes of getting on to a waiting list. (This is like trying to get your kid into a private school or something!) We've had to fill out questionaires, and provide references, names and phone numbers of people who know us and know us around dogs. We've had to tell stories about our childhood experiences with dogs, and explain, in 500 words or less, why we think we would be well suited for a particular breed. Now we are planning some weekend trips to visit breeders, to allow them to assess our puppy parent potential ... I don't have to say, do I, that this is going to cost a small fortune?
Meanwhile, if I wanted to have a human baby, I could have quietly gotten pregnant by now, without talking to anyone, without filling out any forms, or defending my fitness to have a human baby. Just saying ...