Katy & Otis' story

Katy Swan, 28 from Monifieth, Scotland, bought her Cockapoo, Otis, who had life-threatening parasites, common in puppy farmed dogs, during the first months of his life. Looking back, and after a completely different experience when buying Beanie, a Toy Poodle from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, Katy fears Otis may have been from a puppy farm. 

Katy shared of her experience with Otis:

“Our puppy Otis came from a litter of four Cockapoo puppies we found advertised on the Pets4Home site. I called seven minutes after the ad was posted and the breeder confirmed he was ours. We met him over video call during the first lockdown and arranged to collect our puppy, meet the mum and see where the puppies were coming from, however, the breeder called us to say they were delivering another puppy nearby so they could bring ours too. We stupidly agreed.

“The breeder was a young lady who seemed pleasant enough. I asked her if she had any questions for me, but she just asked when I could send the deposit. I spoke to her around three or four times on the phone and each time she changed her story a bit. She kept saying she was busy with different jobs and claiming members of her family were ill – there was always something meaning she had a reason to avoid Facetiming.

“When our puppy arrived, they brought a dog that we were told was his mum, but our puppy had no interest in her and she had no interest in him, nor did she look like a dog that had just had puppies.

“Otis also had a bad stomach, which sent alarm bells ringing. I asked whether he had been unwell but the breeder assured me no. We were in a tricky situation as they were in our home, so we paid for the puppy, and off they went. We cleaned Otis up and hoped everything would be fine.

“But Otis was very poorly, he had terrible vomiting and diarrhoea every time he ate. We found out he had every internal parasite the vets could test him for and ear mites that were making him so uncomfortable. Our vet bill was in the thousands, but the breeder refused to believe anything was related to where he came from. I was very worried for the other puppies too, but she always said all the other puppies were absolutely fine. I believe she had kept one of the puppies and I have since found the other two puppies via social media. One of the other puppies was ill like Otis, but the breeder never shared that we were going through the same thing. At one point I had a very aggressive phone call from the lady saying she was coming to my house to take him from me because I was causing trouble with the vet. I was hysterical, but they never arrived.

“It seemed never-ending when Otis wasn’t well. I was terrified. I am an autistic person and so I find worry and stress all consuming. I was so frightened that our lovely little Otis was going to be so unwell that he wouldn’t pull through.

“Thankfully all are well now and we love our Otis more than we could ever imagine. I still worry about his health, and he’s got allergies, so we have to be very careful with the food he eats to not upset his tummy. His ears still cause issues and he suffers from recurring ear infections.

“As a puppy, Otis would seek out carrier bags to sleep on. He would always choose a ‘bag for life’ over his cosy comfy bed. He still enjoys a cold hard surface to a cushion. He was also very nippy – I think both of these things probably relate to how he was reared and bred by the sellers.

“Looking back now, I know there were so many red flags, but it’s hard to admit I should have walked away.

“When we welcomed a second dog to our home, Beanie, a Toy Poodle, we spoke to the breeders daily for three months. They are Kennel Club Assured Breeders and even now almost two years on, I know I can call them if I have any worries. The two experiences are incomparable. Otis coming home was filled with worry and upset, whereas Beanie coming home was so exciting and such a happy time.”