Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pardon My Frenchie

I would say my obsession began about 10 years ago when I was studying abroad in Spain. On the ferry to Ibiza with some friends, I noticed this dreadlocked Spanish fellow that had this adorable dog sitting across his body in something similar to a baby bjorn. The dog was so calm and chill despite the severe rockiness of the boat and general seasickness of the human population. I immediately knew this little pup was something special.

Later I learned that he was a French Bulldog and I would see others like him every so often while traveling around Europe in 2004. Then I didn't see them much until I moved to San Francisco in 2007. My friends will attest to the fact that every time I would see a Frenchie on the street, I would run and fondle it until it became inappropriate and/or the owners became visibly annoyed. This Frenchie fondling continued merry and well until I moved to the land of the Germans.

Like their owners, German Frenchies do not like to be greeted on the street and fondled. Actually most German dogs do not want attention from anyone but their owners at all. Our German landlords also put a big kibosh on my Frenchie plans, specially writing into our contract that we were not allowed to have dogs, cats, rats or lizards in our apartment. This was heart wrenching but my fiancé was able to help me prioritize my love to travel with flexibility over my love for a pup.

But two years later, all bets were off. I was getting desperate. I forced Kent to call our landlords and have a conversation about the possibility of getting a dog and miraculously they consented with some small provisions, such as we would take the dog in the elevator vs. the stairs (duh, nobody wants to walk down 4 flights of stairs). Of course we also had to agree that the dog would not relieve himself on the terrace and that we would take out a liability insurance policy in case he attacks anyone. A common warning told to new arrivals in Germany is that if your dog scares a German and he falls off his bike and has to go to the hospital, he can sue you.

However now that my Frenchie dreams are finally within reach, it looks like I might not get one after all. Frenchies have become the dog-du-jour: they are everywhere from print ads to Anthropologie. This has led to an increase in cost (we are talking thousands here) and more people who are breeding the pups for the first time to try to cash in on this opportunity.

I've been to 4 different households all over Northern California to see potential pups and I've walked away each time because I didn't feel confident that the people were interested in breeding dogs in order to create a better, healthier overall species but rather they felt like they would give breeding it a shot to see how they did. Because Frenchie are prone to a number of illnesses, its critical that the healthiest dogs are being bred. Its heartbreaking.

I can only encourage people who are interested in getting a Frenchie to make sure that they are getting a puppy from a breeder that has experience, can provide references, lets you see both of the parents and make sure that both parents have good personalities and are not aggressive. Also I would recommend trying to bargain on the price as I've seen the cost of several Frenchies go down as the pups get older. One lady was asking $2,800 for her dog, and now she is down to $2,000.

Frenchies will always have a special place in my heart and I will probably get one eventually but now is not the right time for me.

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