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I'm not sure if I overstepped or if these are signs of a unethical breeder


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sscressa..the OP stated they were inquiring about a current litter the breeder had, not a random future possability, in which case, it SHOULD be obvious who she is asking about unless she had multiple litters. either way the question should not be off putting, what if someone was just looking to get to know the breder for the future and had no specific dogs in mind? I have done it, I chatted with a Toller breeder for over a year just to get to know her for the future, and I asked her all kinds of questions like that, I had no interest whatsoever in anyone specific, and the breeder was happy to answer all my questions, heck I still chat with her once in while despite that I didnt even end up getting my Toller from her(I should of in hindsight lol)

 

:) Maybe I am reading it wrong then???

 

I took it as she knew/saw on a website a breeder had pups. Then she emailed the breeder those questions. If a random preson emailed me those questions(doesn't happen since I don't breed) I might me the one who would have deleted it, specially since the person not once mention the breed or any dogs in the questions, most likely I would have asked for more info from the person... but different people different aspects.

 

I agree with the breeder when she said "most breeders would just delete the inquiry because of these questions"

 

While some of her question were good and insightful, I think these question could go by the way:

3. On average how many litters do you have a year? Did you really care about the answer? If she wrote back 1-2 litter per year or 2-4 litter per year. Would it make a difference? For me its how the pups are raised and the condition and working ability of the parents that I am looking for. Just because someone only has 1 litter per year doesn't make them a good breeder.

 

7. What do you charge for a deposit? How much do you charge per puppy? This is a BIG no-no for most breeder to ask in the 1st email how much the pup is. If money is the #1 concern maybe you shouldn't get a dog(is the arguement I hear a lot). Kinda of like asking first thing in a job interview how much do I get paid.

 

8. Has any past puppies have any serious or minor health problems? What happened?

Its a valid question but needs to be breed specific and breeding specific.

 

6. Do you have any previous owner references?

another valid question but one I hope the breeder might refused in the 1st email. Or at least till they get to know me better and weither or not I am serious.

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7. What do you charge for a deposit? How much do you charge per puppy? This is a BIG no-no for most breeder to ask in the 1st email how much the pup is. If money is the #1 concern maybe you shouldn't get a dog(is the arguement I hear a lot). Kinda of like asking first thing in a job interview how much do I get paid.

 

Imo nonsense; the breeder is the one selling the pups; asking "how much for that" is the most basic question to answer if you sell anything. If the breeder cares so little about money that the mere mentioning of a price is taken as a deal breaker he should give his pups away to good homes.

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Imo nonsense; the breeder is the one selling the pups; asking "how much for that" is the most basic question to answer if you sell anything. If the breeder cares so little about money that the mere mentioning of a price is taken as a deal breaker he should give his pups away to good homes.

 

I can see both sides of this.

 

If you know you are approaching a reputable breeder then money shouldn't be one of the first considerations.

 

However, if you don't know what type of breeder you are talking to price can give valuable information. Stupidly inflated prices for pups that don't seem anything out of the ordinary would suggest where the breeder's priorities probably lie.

 

But the refusal to answer basic questions on breeding practice rings alarm bells loud and clear on this one. A good breeder should be proud to talk your ear off about everything they do, and a prospective buyer should be prepared to do the same.

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While some of her question were good and insightful, I think these question could go by the way:

3. On average how many litters do you have a year? Did you really care about the answer? If she wrote back 1-2 litter per year or 2-4 litter per year. Would it make a difference? For me its how the pups are raised and the condition and working ability of the parents that I am looking for. Just because someone only has 1 litter per year doesn't make them a good breeder.

 

No, someone who breeds just one litter a year could be a crappy breeder. But someone who breeds lots of litters a year is most certainly a breeder most of us would want to stay away from, so this is NOT a question I think can "go away."

 

7. What do you charge for a deposit? How much do you charge per puppy? This is a BIG no-no for most breeder to ask in the 1st email how much the pup is. If money is the #1 concern maybe you shouldn't get a dog(is the arguement I hear a lot). Kinda of like asking first thing in a job interview how much do I get paid.

 

I think you're dead wrong here. Why waste the breeder's time answering a bunch of questions if you know you can't afford a pup in the first place? Consider dragging a realtor out to look at a bunch of houses that you suspect are way out of your price range, but you choose to make the realtor spend time showing you the properties before bothering to inquire about price. Who has profitted from that wasted time? Neither you nor the realtor. When someone is breeding and selling animals they certainly shouldn't be offended when someone contacts them and asks "How much?" And the old chestnut "If you have to ask" is just silly. People price animals differently--I know what I think I would pay for a working bred pup, and I have recently seen pups advertised for more than what I think I should pay. Why lead the breeder on, thinking I'm interested in a pup, if I could find out up front that the breeder is asking more than I'm willing to pay?

 

6. Do you have any previous owner references?

another valid question but one I hope the breeder might refused in the 1st email. Or at least till they get to know me better and weither or not I am serious.

 

Again, I don't see why this conversation has to wait until sometime down the road. If the breeder is a good breeder, they certainly have happy customers they can send the inquirer's way. Why go back and forth a bunch of times before getting to the point? Maybe the breeders you know like the roundabout approach, but I much prefer being direct and saving everyone time and effort.

 

J.

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Dear Doggers,

 

I breed infrequently and have no problem selling pups. My relationship with my puppy buyers is personal for the puppy's life and I know when and of what every pup I ever sold died. I forward five/ten inquiries for every pup I sell after first suggesting the local animal shelter and/or Border Collie rescue. In the sheepdog community, I am not unusual.

 

If I got an email like the one described I wouldn't answer it. I don't fill in surveys and resist working for free. A personal introduction including one's reasons for wanting one of my pups (not just a "BC"), one's own experience with a Border Collie and/or working dogs and one's thinking about dogs might get a response or a contact name.

 

I certainly wouldn't go past that until you arrived on my doorstep. The puppy buyer is seeking a companion for the next 12-16 years. I am trying to place a puppy I have bred, reared, socialized, puppy named and of whom both my wife and I are very, very fond.Likely she will weep when you drive off with your new pup. I sure as hell don't want her to have a reason for her tears.

 

As a buyer, you have a perfect right to vet me rigorously and if you don't like what you see, you should walk away.

 

If, in my estimation, you and Spot are a mismatch, I'll turn you away. As a breeder, my standards for pups and owners are at least as high as yours.

 

Emails are wonderful tools for ordering moustache wax and used computers. They aren't worth a damn buying a dog.

 

 

Donald McCaig

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No, someone who breeds just one litter a year could be a crappy breeder. But someone who breeds lots of litters a year is most certainly a breeder most of us would want to stay away from, so this is NOT a question I think can "go away."

 

 

:) I guess for me I just don't see the point in the question. I am more concern with how the pups are raised, what they are fed, if they are healthy, and the parents well being. (Don't get me wrong if I saw a breeder producing more then 3 or more litters a year I might question them closely or just past them. BUt that in it self isn't neccessary a warning sign)

 

I think you're dead wrong here. Why waste the breeder's time answering a bunch of questions if you know you can't afford a pup in the first place? Consider dragging a realtor out to look at a bunch of houses that you suspect are way out of your price range, but you choose to make the realtor spend time showing you the properties before bothering to inquire about price. Who has profitted from that wasted time? Neither you nor the realtor. When someone is breeding and selling animals they certainly shouldn't be offended when someone contacts them and asks "How much?" And the old chestnut "If you have to ask" is just silly. People price animals differently--I know what I think I would pay for a working bred pup, and I have recently seen pups advertised for more than what I think I should pay. Why lead the breeder on, thinking I'm interested in a pup, if I could find out up front that the breeder is asking more than I'm willing to pay?

 

I personally perfer a breeder to just have the price listed. But that doesn't always happen. For me the price is part of getting a pup but it is not neccessary the only factor. I am looking at the breed, the parents, and the breeder. That right there will normally tell you the price range of the pups. If someone is selling "working" border collies so you asked them how much. What will that tell you? They say 400. That doesn't tell you if the parent actually work or the type of work or if it just meant they come from working-lines.

 

Again, I don't see why this conversation has to wait until sometime down the road. If the breeder is a good breeder, they certainly have happy customers they can send the inquirer's way. Why go back and forth a bunch of times before getting to the point? Maybe the breeders you know like the roundabout approach, but I much prefer being direct and saving everyone time and effort.

 

J.

 

As a previous buyer, while I don't mind being used as a reference. I would hope the breeder would make sure the other person is indeed interested in getting a pup from my breeder before they just give out my name! Until you get a better feel you don't have any clue as too who is on the other end of the computer.

 

on a side note! I think I am giving to much info out in my emails. If all breeders want are just basic questions... They must hate getting my emails!!! LOL I introduce myself, my dogs, and what I am looking for in a pup. Then I ask some question while using my dogs as example. Since I hate yes and no answers and want a more indept responses.

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Emails are wonderful tools for ordering moustache wax and used computers. They aren't worth a damn buying a dog.

 

Donald McCaig

 

WHile that is completly true. People tend to forget things way to easy. Or they can change their story. I perfer to have the basic in a written form. (Am talking about buyer and seller here.)

 

I had a cat breeder tell me and my sister over the phone this cat was used to dogs. Only after we got the cat, and the cat was petrified around the dogs even after being there for a couple of months. When asked the breeder again it was "oh, i wouldn't have said that! That cat was never around dogs before!". Yet me and my sister both were told the cat was used to dogs?!

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Okay so what I'm really getting from this is everyone is different, some will find my questions good and answer them and some won't. If there are those who don't like my questions then we probably weren't a good match for a breeder/buyer, not necessarily because I'm stupid or they're poor breeders but because they're looking for different buyers and I'm looking for a different breeder.

 

 

*Ponders*

 

Personally I do want a person to answer my questions, even if they seem stupid or irrelevant to them it's obviously important to me. I rather them be honest then worry about making themselves look bad. It's true if they breed more than one a year doesn't make me think "Wow, they are awful," it gives me other questions to consider such as, "Why are they breeder four or five litters a year? Are they really in that much of a demand and are they truly searching for good homes for the pups."

 

But I would like to say, I would like to know the price up front. I don't know why it has to be such a mystery. And I can't understand why it's a no-no, I will probably never be able to buy a 2,000 dog, does this mean I should never own a dog, ever? If they are charging 800 a dog I'll have to consider litters further down the line than one charging 400. It's important to me because they might not be breeding the same pair again by that time.

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No, we appreciate the information, but we also understand that the average pet owner doesn't always understand how to approach a breeder and try to cut them some slack.

 

What would you think of a breeder that socializes and trains the pups, provides lots of stimulation, works to match the right pup with the right owner, BUT produces 15+ litters a year? This breeder doesn't do anything with the sires and dam because there isn't enough time in the day to raise all those pups and train the adults to work sheep, or even get their championship in the show ring.

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No, we appreciate the information, but we also understand that the average pet owner doesn't always understand how to approach a breeder and try to cut them some slack.

 

What would you think of a breeder that socializes and trains the pups, provides lots of stimulation, works to match the right pup with the right owner, BUT produces 15+ litters a year? This breeder doesn't do anything with the sires and dam because there isn't enough time in the day to raise all those pups and train the adults to work sheep, or even get their championship in the show ring.

 

 

Mm, good point.

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What would you think of a breeder that socializes and trains the pups, provides lots of stimulation, works to match the right pup with the right owner, BUT produces 15+ litters a year? This breeder doesn't do anything with the sires and dam because there isn't enough time in the day to raise all those pups and train the adults to work sheep, or even get their championship in the show ring.

 

Personally I don't like big breeder. :) I liked to think my pup is one of a few not one of MANY! And I like to see the parents actually doing something.

 

But I could see how people would want a pup from that breeder if that breeder's pups DID succeed in the different venues. If she had mulitple pups competing on a prestige team or winning big or getting into and placing at nationals levels. Or if they just like what they saw being produced.

 

I would be more curious to see how they were able to raise, socializes, stimulate, plus match that many pups?! And keep the parents well being in mind.

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I really see Mr. McCaig's point on this one. If you are getting your pup from someone who is a really good breeder, with great stock and good practices, they will almost certainly have more demand than they have pups available. So, while you are a customer, it's really driven by the supply side, NOT your demand. Unless you are talking to a volume breeder, BYB, or someone who breeds too many litters in a year and needs all the customers they can get (HUGE red flag). They don't need you in a sense.

 

So I would certainly preface *any* initial contact with an introduction to yourself. Sell yourself to the breeder (truthfully, that is) so they have a reason to want to sell you a pup over other random queries they get. As a beginning pet person, you won't likely be on the top of the list for any well-bred litter. BUT you could set yourself apart as a different sort of 1st-time/pet owner, one that a good breeder would be willing to sell a pup to.

 

If the breeder is good, it will help you get your foot in the door, I'd think. If it is a substandard breeder, it may still impress them (assuming they care at all about the future lives of the pups they breed)enough to answer your questions where maybe they wouldn't be so into doing that when it is just a stark list of questions.

 

Better yet, attend some trials in your area and talk to people. Try to get your face out there. When I go in the market for my next pup somewhere down the line, I expect to be beating the bushes at trials, getting to know people in the network, using any connections I have. I'd want to watch working styles, which you may not. But you'd likely want to see a range of other BC personalities to help yourself find a good match - temperament of parents? Hard or soft dogs? Good with kids? One-person dog or social butterfly? That sort of thing.

 

Oh, and about your question on price, I think that is a very good question, but not because you won't be able to afford some pups. From what I've seen and heard, a good working breeder typically charges under $1000 (often about 600-800). It's the sport/confo breeders, it seems, that ask the exorbitant $2000 price tags, and for all the reasons stated in the "read this first" and other threads, you don't want that sort of breeder anyway.

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Imo nonsense; the breeder is the one selling the pups; asking "how much for that" is the most basic question to answer if you sell anything. If the breeder cares so little about money that the mere mentioning of a price is taken as a deal breaker he should give his pups away to good homes.

 

I agree. If I can't afford $1,500.00 for a puppy, I need to know if the pups will cost that much. Why should I enter into a long dialog with a breeder (about a specific litter) if there's no way I'll be able to buy one of those pups? If my puppy budget is $600.00, tops, I need to know if the pup will be in that price range.

But then, I want to know right off what I'm being offered in the way of wages for a job too! :)

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If I got an email like the one described I wouldn't answer it. I don't fill in surveys and resist working for free. A personal introduction including one's reasons for wanting one of my pups (not just a "BC"), one's own experience with a Border Collie and/or working dogs and one's thinking about dogs might get a response or a contact name.

 

Yeah, but the breeder DID answer it. She just took the time to answer it by refusing to answer the actual questions in it. The suggests that she doesn't want to answer those questions, and has nothing to do with her valuable time ... so it sure makes me wonder why she took the time to write back a whole lot of defensive nothing.

 

I think that if a breeder was put off by the questionnaire style of inquiry, and assuming she is an ethical, thoughtful breeder, she could have responded with something along the lines of "I spend a lot of careful time placing my puppies after getting to know the buyers, and would much prefer to establish a rapport than filling this in; maybe you could tell me more about you and why you are interested in my dogs, and then we can discuss it further" or something like that.

 

As for the money thing - even in rescue, it irritates me when people write one liners like "how much is Spot?" But then again, I list our adoption fees on the website. But assuming they missed it, and couched that question in a variety of other concerned and thoughtful questions, I'll answer it happily. If I were looking to buy a dog, that's one of the first questions I would ask too. Puppies are spendy, and some are spendier than others.

 

Emails are wonderful tools for ordering moustache wax and used computers. They aren't worth a damn buying a dog.

 

Yes, this is a super perspective for someone still groping around in 20-Years-Ago. Perhaps the OP could have send a request on parchment paper written in India Ink via the Pony Express, or maybe smoke signals would have been more practical. Possibly a message in a bottle sent in the hold of a Spanish explorer ship carried in the breast pocket of the morning coat donned by her most reliable manservant.

 

The reality is that it's now probably one of the most used forms of communication, like it or not. It's not like she sent the woman a text message, for pete's sake ("How much 4 ur puppys kthx."). And if you're going to put up a website advertising your product with AN EMAIL CONTACT inviting people to, you know, contact you, it kind of makes sense that you would respond when they do. Call me crazy, but I'm just logical like that.

 

RDM

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Dear Doggers,

 

In response to my " Emails are wonderful tools for ordering moustache wax and used computers. They aren't worth a damn buying a dog." Ms RDM replied:

 

 

"Yes, this is a super perspective for someone still groping around in 20-Years-Ago. Perhaps the OP could have send a request on parchment paper written in India Ink via the Pony Express, or maybe smoke signals would have been more practical. Possibly a message in a bottle sent in the hold of a Spanish explorer ship carried in the breast pocket of the morning coat donned by her most reliable manservant."

 

La.

 

There are important differences between telephoning, emailing and face-to-face talk. I believe the breeder/puppy buyer relationship is important enough for the latter.

 

 

Donald McCaig

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I think the problem with Donald's approach, which certainly would work well in our small(ish) stockdog community, is that it doesn't really allow for the first-time buyer or for buyers who live a great distance away. If I contact Donald for a pup or send someone his way, he knows me and so might assume that in the latter case I wouldn't send a complete nutjob his way.

 

But if I live on the west coast, I'm highly unlikely to go visit Donald at his farm, so if he's not willing to communicate with me other than face to face, which is his perogative, then I would be unlikely to get a pup from him.

 

J.

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I personally perfer a breeder to just have the price listed. But that doesn't always happen. For me the price is part of getting a pup but it is not neccessary the only factor. I am looking at the breed, the parents, and the breeder. That right there will normally tell you the price range of the pups. If someone is selling "working" border collies so you asked them how much. What will that tell you? They say 400. That doesn't tell you if the parent actually work or the type of work or if it just meant they come from working-lines.

I never said "how much" was a sole criterion. But if *I've* contacted a breeder, you can assume I've already gotten past the research part and already know what the parents are like, how they work, etc., *before* I'd even contact a breeder. At least in the working border collie world, prices are rising, at least in some cases, for puppies. While I might be prepared to pay $500 for a pig in a poke (because genetics being what they are, there's no guarantee the pup is going to work to the standard of the parents), I don't want to pay $800 for that same hoped-for potential. It may be different in other venues where as long as the pup grows up sound it can be used for what you want, but with working dogs, you don't know what you've got until you've already put a lot of time and training in. So for me, you can assume that I've already researched the cross and the whole reason I've contacted the breeder in the first place is because I am interested in a pup from that cross. So at that point, price does become important. I think what's missing in this discussion is your assumption that I would contact a breeder out of the blue with no real idea about the kind of dogs they produce or what they do with them. Granted, if we're talking about John Q. Public, your assumption might be correct, but the reason I see price as an important thing to discuss up front is because I have clearly already settled on a litter as being one I'm interested in. So I'm not fishing for information; I'm saying "I like this cross; I'm interested in a pup, what will it cost?" If the breeder doesn't want to answer that at the start, then that's not a breeder I'd be inclined to do business with. It's as simple as that.

 

on a side note! I think I am giving to much info out in my emails. If all breeders want are just basic questions... They must hate getting my emails!!! LOL I introduce myself, my dogs, and what I am looking for in a pup. Then I ask some question while using my dogs as example. Since I hate yes and no answers and want a more indept responses.

No one has said they would be turned off by in depth information from a potential buyer. We have simply stated that we don't find the questions HeatherRae asked to be offensive or something that shouldn't be answered on principle.

 

I have to agree with RDM that if a breeder is going to take the time to say "I'm not answering that" then why respond at all?

 

J.

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IMO all of your questions were legit and ones that an ethical breeder should not only be willing to answer but should hope a prospective buyer would ask. Some past buyers might not want to be contacted for references but a good breeder should have many more than are delighted with their dogs and who would be thrilled to give a reference.

 

However I think you might be more likely to get cooperation from ethical breeders if you took the time to introduce yourself, what you want to do with the pup, what experience you have with border collies, what your situation is as far as supplying a mentally and physically challenging home and lifestyle for the pup, etc. Some mention of what about their dogs drew you to make the inquiry to begin with would also show some preparation. I would think that if you showed that you had done your home work in presenting the background for your requests that you might find the response to be different if the breeder wasn't hiding something.

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1. What health testing do you have done before you breed your dogs?

The first question she responded about the tests she has cleared, no problem, talked a little about health issues.

 

2. How are puppies selected; do prospective owners choose or do you have another method?

She told me owners pick after she picks out who she wants. Also fine.

 

3. On average how many litters do you have a year?

She refused to tell me how many litters a year she has.

 

4. What interaction do you have you your dogs/ the puppies?

 

5. Do you do any sort of training/socialization while the pups are still with you?

 

6. Do you have any previous owner references?

She refused any references saying that all breeders have had people who have problems.

 

7. What do you charge for a deposit? How much do you charge per puppy?

 

8. Has any past puppies have any serious or minor health problems? What happened?

She refused to say whether or not there were ever occurrences of health issues because all breeders have had issues. Saying that issues with previous owners and their pets have nothing to do with me and my potential pet.

 

She told me while my questions might be good one's most breeders would just delete my inquiry because of these questions.

 

I have to agree with RDM that if a breeder is going to take the time to say "I'm not answering that" then why respond at all?

 

J

 

1st of all I am not saying this is a great breeder! but She did answer nurmours questions at least half. Not sure why she said I am not answering this question, then ignored other valid question? But at least the breeder came out and said it oinstead of leaving the question to hang. Her response suggest that YES there ARE health issues and problems have arrised.

 

I am curious to why she never answer (in my view) two very vaild questions and should be the easiest to answer! Socialization with the pups and types of interaction with her dogs.

 

to the OP good luck finding a good breeder!

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6. Do you have any previous owner references?

She refused any references saying that all breeders have had people who have problems.

 

I find this response to be extremely odd. No one asks for references with the expectation that they'll be given a list of people that you've had problems with. If a breeder (or employee, or anyone else who may be asked for references) can't come up with one or two names of people who might have something positive to say about them, then that's not someone I'd feel comfortable dealing with.

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I breed infrequently and have no problem selling pups. My relationship with my puppy buyers is personal for the puppy's life and I know when and of what every pup I ever sold died. I forward five/ten inquiries for every pup I sell after first suggesting the local animal shelter and/or Border Collie rescue. In the sheepdog community, I am not unusual.

 

If I got an email like the one described I wouldn't answer it. I don't fill in surveys and resist working for free. A personal introduction including one's reasons for wanting one of my pups (not just a "BC"), one's own experience with a Border Collie and/or working dogs and one's thinking about dogs might get a response or a contact name. . . .

 

Emails are wonderful tools for ordering moustache wax and used computers. They aren't worth a damn buying a dog.

 

Not answering this email is a good way of making the point to the inquirer that your pups are in demand, you don't need to sell to her, and you consider her below anyone who merits a civil answer. (I guess the "working for free" issue doesn't resonate with me, inasmuch as I, like you, spend considerable time voluntarily writing on the internet "for free.")

 

OTOH, I think answering an email like this is performing an educational function, and in the absence of extraordinary circumstances I'm happy to do it. The answers are easy and are nothing I'm ashamed of. I'd almost certainly include a little explanation with the answer to each question, to explain why I do things the way I do; hopefully, if she's a newbie, this will help her in evaluating the other breeders she contacts. In the course of answering, I'd make it clear that I regard buying a pup as a process, not an instant transaction. I'd ask for information from her to help me determine whether the process should move forward, and outline what I think the steps should be if so. I would probably not furnish contact information for references at this point, but would answer that I'd be happy to provide references to her at an appropriate stage in the process.

 

And I would be delighted she had chosen so efficient a method as email for her initial contact.

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