The Barking Boutique is a heartbreaking retail store for puppies


About three years and a week ago, my mom pulled me out of school with zero explanation. My mom, my sister, and I took a short trip to the local animal shelter—Kent County Animal Shelter—to visit one resident in particular.

My family is basically dead set on shepherds; however, finding breeds typically known as more desirable are much more difficult to find in a shelter. We had been waiting to meet one like him for a few months at that point. 

My heart was full walking into the shelter, and while I walked away with the literal love of my life, I felt the moment was bittersweet. It was a realization. While we saved one, the rest would be left here. And we took the most desirable one; he looked the closest to our conceived perfect.

This past weekend, I had a parallel experience to that date. Rather recently, a new shop came into popularity near my house. After a late lunch on a Sunday, my friends and I decided to visit. 

I am sickened, to say the least. 

The first thing I noticed was the vile smell; immediately after, I recognized the glass pens. 

Dressed in a teal bow and adorned with what is perceived as perfect puppies, The Barking Boutique is a heartbreaking institution.

Dressed in a teal bow and adorned with what is perceived as perfect puppies, The Barking Boutique is a heartbreaking institution.

Two to probably four dogs sleep in glass, and what I can only guess, are wood boxes that sit slightly elevated above the ground. 

After a few glances and a lap about the room, if so desired, you can choose a puppy to test drive? Similar to that of purchasing a new car, per one’s request, a puppy is pulled from its respective pen and locked in a small enclosure with whoever summoned them. 

In many cases—not at the store near us in particular—there have been lawsuits filed against The Barking Boutique for selling sick puppies and refusing to aid in their needed medical attention. 

If you are buying a dog for up to a couple of thousand dollars, I’d advise making sure it is healthy. 

The Barking Boutique is a high-volume puppy store. In many cases, when they import puppies from different states, many of the breeders violate the Animal Welfare Act.

One thing of dire importance to note: reputable breeders do not sell to puppy stores—especially those in search of residence in a mall.

And what truly defines a puppy mill? USDA breeders can have a license and still violate the terms for which they are set to follow, like vaccinating puppies when transporting across states as well as their guarantees of routine checks before adopting out a puppy. 

I will say it again: you will not find puppies reputably bred at a pet store. 

If this is not enough to persuade you, I offer the fact that about fifty-six percent of dogs that enter animal shelters are euthanized. Fifty-six percent.

I know, I know, some people are allergic to dogs. But how many of you really are? And if you adopt a dog that even, may I dare say, sheds, why do you need it? Do you truly despise vacuuming to such a degree you are sentencing numerous dogs to a life in a shelter?

If you’re choosing this path only to obtain a dog that is purebred, please take a few facts into careful consideration. Purebred dogs not only have increased cases of inherited diseases but also heightened health issues. I also hope to remind you that your doodle is not purebred, but is a mutt in the same sense any other mixed breed dog is. 

I mean, I’m not trying to shame those who have purchased a bred dog. I understand being set on a specific breed. My family is the same way. However, if you are so completely determined to adopt a specific breed, I urge you to steer clear of pet stores. 

The search for designer dogs is a truly nauseating business. A perfect puppy simply does not exist. Buying into a pet store that sells thousand-dollar puppies is not a business I can support. I question the intention of owners where their “product” lives in subpar living conditions, and they charge exorbitant prices for simply a family companion.

A retail store is no place to buy a man’s best friend.