|Dear Marley & Me Lover,
"Marley & Me" opens in theaters on Christmas Day, 2008. If you are a dog lover, this movie will undoubtedly be on the top of your "must see" list. It will also, more than likely, send people rushing to their pet stores, commercial breeders, and reputable breeders looking to buy a puppy "just like Marley". If you are one of those who is seeking to add a "Marley" to your home please STOP and consider the reality of what you are doing.
| If you have read the book, you will know that although Marley was a sweet boy, he was NOT a good one. He was neurotic, naughty, and destructive. He was a NIGHTMARE! Although his owners loved him, they did not enjoy him to the fullest because he was so out-of-control. They spent a lot of time and effort getting him to be a better behaved member of the family. Marley was fortunate that he found a home with these wonderful owners. Many, many dogs (not just labs) with this type of personality end up in shelters and many do not make it out alive.
A dog or puppy should not be a spur of the moment purchase, but one that should be made with careful consideration to your family situation. Not all dogs are good for all people. Each breed has its good and not so good points. Some are more active, others may not be great with kids. Some might bark too much while others may be more difficult to train. Do your research before you add a loving heart that could be with you for 10 or more years.
I have had Labrador Retrievers for over 25 years and have enjoyed wonderful dogs who will be part of my heart forever. I believe that Labs make outstanding pets and are great with kids, BUT....you have to do your researach to make sure that the puppy you are getting has been produced by people who care about the breed and not for the money they can make off the breed. Pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills or brokers who care about the income they can make off the merchandise. Commercial breeders (those who make a living off their breedings) fall in the same category. On the other hand, reputable or hobby breeders are ones that care about the puppies and dogs they breed and sell. They breed for correct temperament, conformation, test for health concerns, and screen buyers to insure the correct match between owner and puppy.
The internet is a boon to those who want to do research. If you google "reputable breeder" you will find many sites that provide descriptions. Dog clubs also provide a lot of information, for example - The High Desert Lab Club has several links that will help you find the right puppy for your life. Just click on the HDLRC logo and you will be taken to the club website. John Grogan, Marley's loving owner has produced a psa for the AKC. You can see what he has to say about adding a Marley to your life; just click on the AKC pawprint below.
If you want a lab there are many great breeders around the country who will be happy to help. Just take your time and do your research and you will end up with a wonderful companion for many, many years to come.