Kiko's House has long written about the epidemic of cancers that has severely shortened the life expectancy of American golden retrievers, as well as carped about organizations like the Golden Retriever Club of America, which while funding studies on and supporting research into the cancers, have done little or nothing to rein in greedy member breeders who play God in knowingly selling interbred, cancer-prone puppies to unsuspecting buyers who end up heartbroken.
But now at least one breeder's group is obliquely acknowledging the epidemic in the form of a "phenomenal guarantee," in its own words, that it will sell healthy pups, and if perchance they turn out to be less so over the years, it will give the buyers credits based on a sliding scale to buy a replacement pup.
Several people have asked me what I think about the guarantee, and my stock response is as follows:
The guarantee seems to be a praiseworthy effort on its face, but despite legal boilerplate that would seem to hold the breeder responsible for life-shortening health issues and indemnify the owner with credits should there be such issues, anyone buying a puppy should be aware that:
* They would have little discretion as to diet since the diet must be veterinarian recommended. Can you say big bucks?
* They would have to keep meticulous records regarding every aspect of the care of the dog. Can you say pain in the butt?
* Failure to follow every letter of the guarantee, no matter how well intentioned the owner might be, would void the guarantee. Can you say uh oh?
* Finally, and I have a major problem with this, if a dog does turn out to be yet another Golden afflicted with cancer or other common disease, its owner is being asked to turn right around and purchase another dog from the same breeder, albeit at a discount. Can you say further heartbreak?