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Pocket Puppy Princes and Princesses Make Us Feel All Poopy Inside

By Sarah Dahnke in Miscellaneous on Oct 9, 2006 11:41AM

Chicagoist absolutely loves animals, and we make sure to let you know it on a regular basis. But we are usually a little repulsed by pet stores, as stories of puppy mills and baby animals being separated from their mothers at a too-young age have deterred us from wanting to patronize such establishments. We've found ourselves, for one reason or another, frequenting the Clark and Fullerton area -- the epicenter of the Trixie/Chad phenomena -- and have passed by a store that makes our skin crawl every time we see it. No, we're not talking about Urban Outfitters. This store is called Pocket Puppies. This store has been getting some press for the past few months, but we had to see it to really believe it.

248459323_aa52325324_m.jpgAs you can assume, Pocket Puppies specializes in small teacup and toy breed puppies -- the tiniest doggies available. You know, the kind you can put in your bag and take to Starbucks with you because you wouldn't dare leave your precious outside or send someone else inside to get you a venti half-caf, skim, no-whip mocha. We all know these dogs were popularized by celebs such as Paris Hilton, who treated them like fashion accessories or dolls that they could dress up with new clothes and jewelry and rhinestone collars. (We know our dog simply would not be seen in public without a matching collar and sweater set.)

However, Pocket Puppies does offer some non-repulsive tidbits on its Web site. All buyers must be screened, and the store reserves the right to deny a potential buyer if he or she does not seem fit to adopt one of the tiny doggies. They encourage new pet parents to feed their little canines a holistic, all-natural diet. And all dogs come from breeders who raise animals in a "family environment."

But should we be encouraging these types of purchases in the first place? In his book Dogs Best Friend: Annals of the Dog-Human Relationship, Mark Derr describes this novelty breeding in an unpleasant light:

Nearly all of theses animals — pugs, Boston terriers, Yorkies, Scotties, toy poodles, miniaturized spaniels, Maltese, Shih tzus, among them — are at the limit of their biological viability, unable to whelp naturally or exist without human intervention. Some are so distorted in temperament and appearance that it is hard to consider them dogs at all . . . Many are unable to digest their food or relieve themselves properly. For all their problems they remain popular among people who want canine companions but consider real dogs too much bother.

Furthermore, Pocket Puppies recommends new pet parents take up pad training because "weather in Chicago and the Midwest are not conducive to the health and well-being of these small puppies unless weather conditions are above 70 degrees."

Above 70 degrees you say?? So you can take your dog outside for 4 months out of the year? Sounds like a great reason to drop $1,500 or more on a dog, especially when there are tons of dogs out there who desperately need a home. We can understand feeling sorry for the little pups, though, when you walk in the store and see their sad little faces. That's why we have spent too much time with our face pressed up against the glass window of the store but have never stepped foot inside.

Own a tiny dog to carry in your purse? Repulsed by the behavior all together? Throw us a bone.

Photo via KarmenRose.