Teeny-Tiny, Paris-Style Pocket Pooches: Why This Vet Can't Stand The Hype On Tote-Sized Teacups
Okay, I’m sure you’ll agree that Paris Hilton is the skankiest, most vulgar personality ever created (by herself) for US consumption. She’s just nasty, IMHO. In a former life I partied heavily on South Beach—so I know first-hand. But, don’t worry; this post is not about her. It’s about Tinkerbell, her poor little, blameless pooch—and others like her.
Tinkerbell lives in Paris` arms while she works: movie premiers, club nights, shopping sprees, an endless series of limousine entrances and exits, flashbulbs at all venues, etc…The poor dog is either terribly well-adjusted or neurotic as all get-out. I fear for its sanity. Paris` mental status is already accounted for—just check any newsstand.
But let’s get down to business—these poor little creatures. How horrible must it be to live 3/4 of your life in a glorified duffel bag? Not to mention the real crime: being born.
Teacups are big business. While undoubtedly cute and often surprisingly good-natured, most owners don’t know the trouble that goes into crafting these hamster-sized dogs.
Trouble = spontaneous abortions, mummified pups, C-sections with 50% survivability rates (if they’re lucky enough to be cut in time), pyometra and peritonitis (if they aren’t), neonatal pup attrition (death), and long-term immunologic, orthopedic, cardiac, respiratory or gastrointestinal dysfunction (to name a few)—not to mention the unlucky breaks that come with being tiny—easy fractures, severe periodontal disease, hypothermia, hypoglycemia, etc…
For each pup conceived, we’ll never know the percentage that makes it to market. But I’d wager it’s not even 10%. Now you know the real reason for the $1000 minimum on these pups (in Miami the average is more like $1500). Supply and demand. (I didn’t go to business school for nothing, though my Wharton classmates might argue to the contrary.)
I could go on for a long time in this vein. The only other subject that gets me going quite so hotly is the sale of these teacup pups in retail outlets designed to lure the fashionable and uneducated (human traits not mutually exclusive, I’d hasten to opine).
As you probably already suspect, the puppy mill industry and puppy retailers are in cahoots. Sometimes, they are one and the same—vertically integrated, as it were. More often, a network of ambitious backyard breeders or faraway mill-style operation is behind the pristine storefronts on fashionable streets hawking pups at the rate of its other retailers` Gucci knockoffs.
Teacups bred in these conditions are not only intrinsically sickly for their teeny-tininess, they are often housed in unfriendly environments (among their many pseudo-brethren) in cost-effective conditions. Can you say kennel cough?
When I worked the trendy South Beach beat (back in my clubbing days when work needed to be near play for efficiency’s sake—work hard, play hard, etc.), the tiny pups made me miserable. The hospital’s incubator and nebulizer were always in action, helping me nurse these recently bought pups back to some semblance of health.
When these pups finally reemerged from the tunnel of light, I’d inevitably have to explain some other issue likely to become a chronic health problem—collapsing tracheas, medial patellar luxations, porto-systemic shunts, patent ductus arteriosi, cryptorchidism, etc. It was a Sysyphian undertaking. And I loathed the powerlessness that came from knowing more puppies would soon take the place of my current batch.
After finally getting the glitz and glamour out of my system and getting back to my suburban South Miami roots, I saw far fewer disaster pups. My clients were no longer the models, producers and music-industry types I courted back in the day. I now deal in white bread, high-end Hispanic suburbia and my patients reflect this.
Sure, I still have to deal with the rich ignorami from time to time, but now my client list is blissfully devoid of the Parises, Jennifers and Glorias of this world—along with their attendant mini-me fashion statements. Hallelujah!