Bella was a very young Maltese, perhaps 7 weeks old when a neighbor asked us to watch her for an afternoon. Who can resist such a face!

We became fast friends, and she would not leave my side. There’s a reason they are called ‘man’s best friend.’ I’ve always loved dogs. Of course, I’m not a cat-guy. Found out well into my adult years I’m allergic to felines much to my wife’s dismay. Dogs are team players. Cats are in it for themselves. I digress.

Anywhichaways, less than 2 days after this photo was taken I got word that Bella had died, a very sad piece of news certainly.

Here’s what I know: She was purchased from a ‘breeder’ or perhaps more correctly, a ‘puppy mill.’ I’m no DVM, but apparently this was a result of being raised in an absolutely filthy environment. She contracted a protozoa -as did the rest of the litter – and like her siblings was not able to survive. Her new owner contacted the breeder whose response was, ‘well I can give you a Chihuahua.’ Talk about having no conscience! Our neighbor’s response? “Why would I want another dog from you?” Indeed.

The lesson here is don’t buy pets from someone selling them in a mall parking lot. At a minimum, have them checked by a vet first, and ask them what sort of care they have had. Double check. So far, they are out $450 for the puppy, and nearly that in expenses.