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Learning The Hard Way Can Be A Blessing.


––by Heather Schulman A


AT AGE 17, LINDSEY MAGNESS purchased Ellie, her first puppy. She had been looking forward to this day for as long as she could remember and was excited to finally have a dog to call her very own. Ellie was purchased from a home breeder located in Palm Harbor. The puppy had just been shipped from a breeder in Missouri, with whom the Palm Harbor breeder had a close relationship, Lindsey was told. She paid $800 for Ellie and happily brought her new puppy home to show off to friends and family. Lindsey soon realized Ellie suffered from


kennel cough, a contagious respiratory disease fairly common among puppies. After several rounds of medication, Ellie slowly got better, but little did Lindsey know that this was just the beginning of a litany of medical problems. At age two, Ellie was rushed to the hospital, urinating blood. She had developed a severe case of bladder stones and would need to remain on prescription food and distilled water for the remainder of her life. After numerous vet visits, Lindsey did


some research on the breeder located in Missouri. What she found online was that her paperwork actually reflected two different breeders, both in Missouri; and both had been known as puppy mills. Records revealed that both breeders had violations regarding poor practices involving falsified documents; lying about dogs' ages; poor kennel conditions; and hosting auctions to sell dogs. Also, to her surprise, Lindsey learned that Missouri is the number one state in the U.S. for puppy mills. She now understood why Ellie was develop- ing more and more medical conditions. Her kneecaps developed Luxating


Patella, a painful condition effecting her abil- ity to exercise or walk long distances. In January 2013, Lindsey paid $1,800 for knee surgery, and Ellie still needs more knee operations. At six years of age, she has run up over $8,000 in medical bills, and Lindsey is very thankful that her parents were there to assist with vet bills while she was attending college. She hopes other young girls can learn from her story and understand what a financial burden it can be purchasing a dog from a pet store.


(Above) Ellie gets around with the help of her stroller. (Right) Copies of Ellie’s medical bills.


36 THE NEW BARKER www.TheNewBarker.com


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