Your dog is not a purse, nor should it be carried in one

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Your dog is not a purse, nor should it be carried in one

I was sitting in class when the bright pink website on a classmate?s laptop screen caught my eye. It was so bright and nauseating that I couldn?t tear myself away. More than just my eyes were assaulted though; my sensibilities were attacked. The girl in front of me was looking at, a site that ships out purebred puppies to their owners. There?s little background on the family given before the transaction; and the two parties, puppy and family, never even meet before the puppy is shipped off.

Even worse is how the website markets their pups. ?Lindsay Lohan sports a cuddly new accessory ? her DivaPup ? as she leaves a New York City studio,? read the caption to one of the site?s photos. Accessory? Your puppy is not a Kate Spade.

The site I?m pinpointing is Emma Rose?s Maltese DivaPups, but there are probably others like it. The goal is to find the puppy that looks the most appealing, buy it, wait until it is eight weeks old, and have it shipped to the nearest airport.

There are more than just a few things seriously wrong with this process. Though you may ask the site managers as many questions as you like about the dog, you never meet the pooch before you purchase. Maybe I?m being a little naive, but to me, a puppy is a family member that you bring home with the consent of everyone, including the pup. How can people tell if a dog is right for them based on a picture? What if there turns out to be a poor fit between your family and your new puppy? I simply cannot understand those who have no desire to meet the creature that they will share their home with for 10 to 15 years. Let alone the fact that you pay through the nose for these puppies. Getting a cat or dog is a delicate choice that should only be made after you meet the animal.

I am even more disgusted by the suggestion that dogs are akin to ?accessories.? Maybe ?Emma Rose? thinks it is amusing to call Lindsay Lohan?s puppy an accessory. The problem is there are people who love their dog?s looks more than the dog. And they also enjoy what certain dogs seem to suggest about their owners. A DivaPup, the site insinuates, is fashionable.

The trouble is that we are not talking about a handbag, but rather a living creature. I am not trying to claim that owners of DivaPups toss their animals into the bureau drawer at the day?s end, but I do believe that viewing a dog as an item to pump up your prestige is deplorable. Emma Rose?s puppies are the ?in? dogs of the moment ? the easily portable creatures that pop their fuzzy heads out of designer bags. But buying a dog for its looks and not for love is the wrong way to go about it. I sincerely hope that if the puppy?s behavior or appearance doesn?t live up to expectations, they don?t suffer physical or emotional neglect.

Emma Rose?s site does do a brief check to establish whether the person is a suitable pet owner, but no one meets with the buyer before the exchange, nor is there any way to prove that what is said in the online form is true. The dogs also come with warnings not to give them certain vaccines, because puppies in the past have reacted poorly to them. The DivaPups are super cute and very expensive, with one Maltese listed at four thousand dollars. The pups are also completely unknown to the new owners when they arrive. They must be extremely well-protected in their early life to prevent disease and even death ? the site cautions not to let them in public for the first six months. Furthermore, they are marketed as fashion items. And though the site occasionally refers to them as ?your new baby? and so on and so forth, it is hard to imagine anyone obtaining a newborn with a few thousand dollars cash and a few forms saying that they know what they are getting into and have access to health care.

What DivaPups is selling are, quite frankly, dangerous. They are living being purchased on faith and picture alone. This is contrary to all the things that good dog owners know, such as that the best pet you?ll ever own is the one that licks your face when you visit the dog shelter.