:Nicole Young, for TAPACT
Meet Tiki – a sweet, spirited pup with a uniquely patterned nose and the cutest puppy dog eyes.
Tiki was sold at the border to an unsuspecting family on November 14. The puppy peddlers put him in a festive costume and stood in the border crossing line until someone couldn’t pass him up.
“We were waiting in the traffic line to cross over and a vendor sold him to us. The guy was holding him, only him, and walked by our car. I actually rolled down my window and stopped him because I fell in love instantly with his face. They placed him on my chest and it was over!” – Tiki’s mom
His family brought him home, but within days Tiki was lethargic and sickly. By November 19th he was in and out of the vet’s office, and on November 30 little Tiki passed away. The cause? Canine parvovirus, also known as parvo: a very contagious virus that causes lethargy, loss of appetite, pain, and bloating. There is no known treatment for parvo, and while it can affect any dog, puppies younger than four months who haven’t received vaccinations are most at-risk.
“His tiny heart stopped – they tried chest compressions and all other life saving measures, but unfortunately that was it. Having him fight so hard, for so long made it even harder – we definitely had hope even on the toughest of days.” – Tiki’s mom
Tiki’s story is one that we hear often, as it’s the most common outcome for puppies that are sold at the border. The men and women selling puppies like Tiki prey on unsuspecting, well-intentioned individuals and couldn’t be bothered by the puppy’s wellbeing. To them, dogs are just a product that needs to be sold. They look at these dogs and see dollar signs. The puppies are typically unvaccinated and many are in need of urgent medical attention. Some are already on their deathbeds. The unsuspecting, well-intentioned individuals who purchase puppies like Tiki often mistake the act of purchasing a pup like Tiki as rescuing, but in fact it’s only perpetuating the problem because it puts money in the pockets of the peddlers, incentivizing them to continue to sell.
“This is the last thing you expect when purchasing a puppy, but at the same time we knew it was a gamble considering the circumstances. In the end, we did all we could and it brings me peace knowing he was surrounded by people that loved and cared for him. And although it was a tragic experience, I have come to terms with it and can only learn from it. Getting the word out there and educating people is definitely a way to help prevent others from going through it. Hopefully one day, it’ll be enough to put a stop to this terrible industry.” – Tiki’s mom
Tiki is the reason for our work at TAPACT. We are passionate about telling people to stop buying puppies at the border, because not only do we want to ensure puppies like Tiki avoid this fate, but we also want to avoid this heartbreak. Remember Tiki’s story before you buy a puppy at the border, and please share it with others. In order to stop the puppy peddlers we must end the demand, and as Tiki’s mom said: education and the sharing of information is the best way.
If you are at the border and see these puppy peddlers, the best thing you can do is refrain from engaging them and instead, report them to Tijuana Animal Control at +52 664 973 7006 and/or send photos or videos to TAPACT. And if you’re getting a new dog or are considering it, adoption is one of the best things you can, and will ever, do. Your local animal shelter or rescue organization – like The Animal Pad – can help you find the right match for your family.