How to Choose a Healthy Animal

I’ve been doing a lot of reading over the last year, oddly, about dogs.  In pretty much every book, there is a chapter or 2 covering  “How to Select a Healthy Puppy”, “How to Choose a Healthy Animal”, “Choosing the Proper Puppy”, “Selecting a Healthy, Happy Pet”, and the like.

Anywho, using the books, let’s see how we did here at Run A Muck Ranch:

1.  Puppy  (There were few who wasted words on choosing a dog):

Angus was a puppy, but we failed on the rest since they were already adult or sub adult.

The Queen's Corgi's couldn't hold a candle to Angus.   Go us!
Our one correct decision.


2.  Make sure its eyes are clear and bright.


We met Angus in a dark back yard, so even if it weren’t a case of Crabby just picking the pup sitting closest to me so we could go home, we really couldn’t do a proper inspection.

Emmi’s eyes were windows as to how sick she was.


The experts say we should have passed Emmi by.
The experts say we should have passed Emmi by.


Sarah’s eyes were so very sad and clouded, but that could have been due to her injuries from being hit by a car.

Technically, the rest did pass the eye test, so I guess we did OK.

3.  Educate yourself as to the proper confirmation of the breed you are interested in and ensure that the {puppy} you are interested in does not deviate from the breed standard. 

Well, Angus’ early vet said he was a perfect example of a Corgi, so we lucked out.  Remember, Crabby picked him because he was the closest, and Crabby just wanted to go home.   Should we be proud?

Probably not.  Sarah came to us as an adult, but she is a pure bred (the collective preference of the books).  You don’t have to be an expert on pit bull confirmation to see the big “reject” stamp on her forehead.

But for the rest, uh oh!   There is no breed standard for a mutt and we still aren’t completely sure if Gracie is a dog!   Do we count ourselves as passes or fails for the majority of The Hoard?


Exactly what kind of creature is this?
Exactly what kind of creature is this?


4.  Carefully inspect the {puppy} for any physical defect.

Let’s skip over the fact we erred in taking in adults.

Franky and Vito have way loose knees.  Emmi has those freaky hips.  Morty’s hips have more of a swagger than a dog should have. DASH! is just anatomically out of whack. What is it with Franky’s underbite?   No living creature should move like Sarah.

In this respect, fail, fail and fail, to infinity and beyond.


The poster child for the dentally disabled.
The poster child for the dentally disabled.


5.  Make sure there is no sign of illness, injury or nutritional deficiency. 

Fail, fail, and fail again.  Emmi and Slugger’s mange was the first thing that caught the eye, emaciation being the second. That Emmi couldn’t even walk was an afterthought.   Sarah’s limp was pretty evident.  Morty,  DASH!, and Sarah were all unhealthily skinny. Hector had Cherry Eye.


Clearly an unacceptable animal!
Clearly Slugger was an unacceptable animal!


6.  Choose a {puppy} that appears friendly and curious.  Roll the {puppy} onto it’s back to make sure it will accept your domination. 

Who should we throw off the island first?  Willy, Emmi, DASH!, Vito, Marcy or Morty?   Willy was  a psychological mess, Emmi and Marcy wanted absolutely nothing to do with humans, and DASH! and Morty were just plain scared. Lest I forget, Vito wanted to kill anything in his path.


Ain't no way this creature will go near anything on 2 legs willingly.
Ain’t no way this creature will go near anything on 2 legs willingly.


I don’t see the point in covering any more of the highly educated, published, instruction on how to choose a healthy animal. Clearly we’ve made nothing but bad choices through the years and have only anguish to show for it.

If only we had listened to the experts.  Imagine how much better our lives would be.


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24 thoughts on “How to Choose a Healthy Animal

  1. The Man was not in a good place when we got him.He took a bit of work but we love him and he is growing old with us. He had a bad night last night so I sat on the floor and hand fed him. But apart from that I generally tried “it followed me him, can I keep him?” trick, but herself was not impressed. See – I don’t think you really choose a puppy or a dog – your heart does. I know, I’m a sentimental fool.

    1. I’ve come to the conclusion you don’t choose the dog, the dog chooses you.

      I’m glad, even though you are going through some difficult times right now, He chose you. He makes you special in ways no one else will ever experience. I’m reasonably sure Herself is pretty glad ‘it followed (you) home’ and is thankful every day!

    1. Though she looks more like a dog now, up until we changed her diet, she looked like the end result of a pairing between a dog and a goat, with their offspring mating with a muppet. You think I’m joking when I say people used to ask, not what kind of dog she is, but what is she? It happened on several occasions!

  2. I say toss the book. I have only had 3 purebreds, the rest so called rescue muts. Out of the 3, 2 of there lives were shortened by cancer and my Shepard degenerative spinal. The muts, though some came with issues the all lived and loved to old age. I say when looking for a pet, listen to your heart first, in the long run it will never steer you wrong.

    1. We’ve never been given the opportunity to listen to our hearts. The decision has always been made for us, by the dogs!

    1. I never take direction anyway :). Besides, with the exception of Angus and Willy, we really weren’t given a choice. OK, so we could have said no to helping Emmi and Slugger, but still, they certainly weren’t ‘chosen’.

  3. I just knew. They seemed to get along with other people and other dogs. They were in good physical shape and had no obvious deformities. Purebred? Nope, their heritage is like a map of Europe. There was something that told me that these were my peeps and they just knew that I knew. I knew it was OK to go home with Them.

    1. Dogs don’t need experts to tell them how to choose a healthy human. They know instinctively how to choose!

  4. I haven’t had the best of luck with purebreds. All my rescues have lived to old age so far. Two of mine came by way of you and fell into life and heart. I am trying to be stronger in telling you no more(LOL you will never know how close I came to breaking down on Morty-thankfully you kept him and I still get to see him/admire him)

    1. Seems to me we’re due for a stray to wander in any day now. I’ll be sure to bring him or her ‘home’ to your house when it happens!

  5. Woo-hoo, I do so like your style. I’m a cross breed, and I was picked cos I was a girl, only one in the litter (probably helped that I looked cute, mind you). Turned out I wasn’t quite as perfect as I looked, cos I had a wobbly knee (kept dislocating and needed surgery) and I’ve developed colitis, but I have a great home and run about like crazy (now my knee’s fixed)…

  6. “Experts” kill me. Look into a dog’s eyes and they will let you see their soul. My Samson was a registered Chihuahua, but he wasn’t the healthiest of ‘children’ but I can not even imagine where I would be today had I not gotten him. All of your pups landed exactly where God meant for them to be, smile. Kudos for the book review, critique, lol.

      1. Did not realize I wasn’t following you! The problem has been corrected! Thank you for the re-blog on our Maude’s passing back in February. My apologies for not noticing!

      1. Absolutely. I’ll never forget when Goober turned up on the farm and we took him to the vet. He was heart worm positive. I stood there and cried and looked at my hubby and said I don’t need birthday presents just fix him. He looked at the vet and said do whatever you can to help him. The “experts” don’t have a clue. Blessings from our farm to yours.

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