We took the puppy back to its beginner home on Wednesday. It was a tough decision, but we (husband and I) had many doubts about the dog's background. First, I knew I wasn't ready for a puppy, but felt highly pressured into it (how can you resist those kids' faces?). Second, we had more questions than answers when we arrived at the breeder's home (nice family, but so many things that just didn't add up right in our own minds). Third, upon meeting the dog's canine family members, a few things stuck out as "odd" in my mind. (Note: the pets were well loved, and well cared for, as though each one was a person in the family - it was not the personal care and attention itself that we questioned). The 1-year old sister didn't look right to me. It left a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Upon taking puppy to the vet, some of my concerns were confirmed. He was healthy; a bit underweight (not a huge issue, as he came from a large litter, where I believe that is the norm). However, his eye turned inward a bit. The vet said this was a common enough trait and many outgrow it by one year. If he didn't outgrow it, though, he'd need surgery in a year to correct it. It was then that it dawned on me what was wrong with the sister.
Also, something about the dog's stance bothered us. Our first poodle arrived to us walking with a proud gate. It didn't matter if she was covered in vomit and poop; she was a proud, prancing poodle! But this new poodle looked scruffy, and did not walk nicely. He didn't have the usual poodle stance we've seen in other poodles. In fact, he flopped awkwardly all over the place.
We felt it was better to take the pup back and give him a chance at a better suited home. We knew we could never breed him, and part of our family goals were to find two nice poodles and breed a litter of puppies. Perhaps he would've made a nice family pet - he was sweet as can be and we all loved him easily. But, I didn't want to look at him in one year, after he'd outgrown the cute puppy phase, and think "what an ugly dog! why did we do this?" And I worried about future health issues in the pup, as something about him seemed "off".
The breeder took him back and gave us a full refund, no questions asked. Daddy had the difficult task of explaining our decision to the children, and comforting them. I had the much easier task of returning the pup! The kids were a bit broken hearted, but they understand (now) our rationale behind the decision. We took the day off of school yesterday just to play and have fun and mourn our loss a bit.
I am completely at peace with this decision (more so than I thought I'd be!). We will probably get another puppy someday. The kids and husband are ready now, but I'm going to wait until I know for certain that I am ready. We'll find the right breeder first, and probably wait on a litter.