Puppy Cottage

Winchester, VA

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Consumer Complaints and Reviews

I took my pug, **, to get his toenails clipped. I took him in and the first thing that they said was. "OMG, that is a huge pug". They put him on the table and looked at him saying, "You don't like your nails clipped do you?" I also saw that ** was almost choking because the harness was too high. They didn't even ask me for his rabies shots.

I heard ** yelp because she got one nail way too short. I allowed them to try and give him a vitamin but it was funny that ** didn't like it. They were telling me how to put my pug on a diet as he is huge. By this time I was biting my tongue. They finished after half an hour with 2 yelps from my pug. I can't believe that I paid them. ** nails were embarrassing. Someone needs to stand up to them because they don't know how to do their jobs. I am getting my money back,

On 12-18-10 at approximately 3:3 0pm my husband, Walter, Tommy, and I, Amanda ***, stopped by the Puppy Cottage to look at the puppies for sale. The Puppy Cottage is located in Winchester Virginia and is a pet store that sells puppies and supplies. The establishment appeared clean and the staff was friendly and seems to love the dogs. The dogs are in the middle of the store up on a platform at eye level in a crib-like design with a see through material. Inside there was shredded paper and we saw one to three puppies inside each section. To the right side of the store there are a few play sections that you can take the dog in and sit, play and get to know him/her. Puppy Cottage claims the following, which is also listed on their website:

All of our puppies are veterinarian approved and recommended, bred by professional licensed breeders who take pride in providing the best possible care for their puppies. A lot of work and care goes into raising our puppies, and it shows. Puppy Cottage continues the high level of care the puppies are used to, by giving them vet examinations twice a weekly. Puppies are played with and socialized so often that many are pooped by the end of the day. The puppies are fed a premium high quality natural food and vitamins. Most importantly, each one of our puppies are individually loved.

We then saw a white English bulldog and asked to see her. After just spending a few minutes with her in the play area, we had fallen in love with her and would later name her Lu Lu. One of the employees starting telling us that she came from 69 blood lines and how important the blood line was. She stated that the more bloodlines in a bulldog the healthier they are. She also said that Lu Lu was examined by a local vet. The employee went on to say that the vet said she would not need any work done to her eye or have any trachea issues which can be found in Bulldogs. The employee went on to say that this was because Lu Lu came from such a good bloodline. We were then shown Certificate of Pedigree papers on Lu Lu's father and mother side along with American Kennel Club registration certificate for both Lu Lu's mother and father. So everything appeared to be on the up and up.

I then asked the same employee (cannot name her due to investigation) why she felt a wheezing coming from Lu Lu. The employee stated that a local vet (cannot be named) examined her and said that she had a cold. The employee stated that she would send us home with the medication and she should be fine within a few days. The employee advised me to go into the bathroom and turn on a hot shower and let her sit in a steaming bathroom. She also informed us to give her honey to help with her coughing. We were given 10 pills thrown loosely in a white letter envelope. On the envelope was hand written Clavaninox Tablet give 1 tablet 2x daily morning & evening. There was no Veterinarian's information on the envelope. We thought this was odd but I think we were just too excited about our new little puppy that we just don't stop and think. The employee told us that she had spoken to the owner, Patrick ****, and he would take off an additional 10% if we would buy her now but that if we came back later to buy her that he could not offer that discount.

When we arrived home with Lu Lu that evening (12/18/10) she was somewhat playful but was coughing. Lu Lu was able to eat that evening and was given her medication as instructed. By 11 pm Lu Lu's coughing started to increase and the honey did not seem to help. As Lu Lu lay in bed with us, we watched her closely as she started not to be able to sleep due to the coughing. At 2 am I took Lu Lu into a steamy bathroom as directed and sat with her as she started to cough phlegm up. Lu Lu was able to still drink and use the bathroom but was struggling with coughing.

That morning, Sunday, the 19th, I called the Puppy Cottage at approx. 1:00 pm and spoke with the same employee who had assisted us the day before when we purchased Lu Lu. I asked for additional information on Lu Lu's condition and informed her that she was getting worse. When I asked how long she had been on the medication the employee stated that it was either Thursday (12/16/10) or Friday (12/17/10) but she threw the paper away so she could not say for sure. I did not say anything to her but this same employee had stated on Saturday that the vet had looked at her on Friday and prescribed the medication. This employee told me to keep doing what I was doing and keep them posted.

By Sunday (12/19/10) afternoon we had put a call into our Veterinarian who suggested we take Lu Lu to be examined at the Valley Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center located in Winchester. Within 24 hours of us adopting Lu Lu, we found ourselves in a Veterinary Emergency Hospital and would soon find out that we would be fighting for her life.

As Tommy and I were heading out to go to the Valley Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center in Winchester Virginia, I placed a call to Puppy Cottage and informed that same employee that our personal Veterinarian had advised us to take Lu Lu to the Veterinary Emergency Center in Winchester. That employee told me to keep them informed. Within a few minutes I received a call from this employee. She stated that she had spoken to the owner, Patrick ****, and he said that we could bring her back to them and get our money back or they would treat her. I was so surprised of what I had just heard and could not believe that they would say they would give me my money back in exchange for her.

Lu Lu was not a piece of furniture! This was a life that was very sick and needed treatment. I asked who would be treating her and she stated a vet. So then I asked who it was and if they were going to examine Lu Lu while we were there with her. The employee stated that Levy is a Vet Tech and has years of experience and he would treat her. I informed this employee that her personal Veterinarian informed us that her office would send Lu Lu to the Veterinary Emergency Center due to the fact that she would most likely need 24/7 care and be possibly placed on oxygen. The Puppy Cottage could not provide her with the care needed.

On the way to Winchester, Tommy received a call from this same employee. She informed Tommy that Levy said that they would keep Lu Lu for 7 to 10 days and treat her so we did not have a medical bill. Tommy also informed her that they did not have the equipment needed to treat her. If our own vet referred us to Winchester then why did they think they could treat her? They are just a Pet Store! At this point Tommy and I were alarmed at the suggestions made by Puppy Cottage and questioned their motives. Did they care that she got the best treatment or were they hiding something? Was Lu Lu sicker then they had informed us and was it more than a cold?

Tommy and I had informed the attending physician at Valley Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center of the last 24 hours. The physician informed us that the medication given by the Puppy Cottage was illegal. The Puppy Cottage cannot send home medication. The medication Clavamax was also not to be exposed to air but instead each pill is in an individual wrapper. We were shown how a Clavamax pill is sealed in a foil like pouch. The Clavamax that we were given by the Puppy Cottage was loose pill thrown in a white letter envelope. The physician informed them that when Clavamax is exposed to air it will start to deteriorate and will no longer be good.

The Physician informed Tommy and I that they needed to keep Lu Lu and run some tests to determine her condition and treatment. At that time she was not oxygen depended but they wanted to give her a little oxygen to help her relax. Lu Lu was showing signs of Kennel Cough which is dangerous in puppies and can be in adult dogs. Kennel Cough is very contagious to other dogs. Now we were now also concerned with our other dogs since they had just been exposed to her.

On Monday at 1:30 am, I called for an update on Lu Lu and was informed that Lu Lu was now oxygen dependent and was placed in an oxygen tank and was being treated with antibiotics. I was told that Lu Lu now had pneumonia that was most likely caused by kennel cough. The physician informed me that the next few hours would be touch and go.

On Monday morning at approx. 7:45am, I received another update on Lu Lu. She had a rough night and was still oxygen dependent. I was also told that due to her oxygen levels dropping in the middle of the night that Lu Lu would have most likely passed away if she was not able to be put right on to oxygen and been treated by attending physician.

When Tommy and I purchased Lu Lu we had paid a portion of it with a check and the remaining with a visa card. Due to the illegal medication and Lu Lu's condition worse than what they had told, we felt the need to put a stop payment on the check until they knew more of what was going on. The stop payment was placed on the check that morning at approx. 8:30 am. At approx. 9:30 am the Puppy Cottage called and another female employee informed Tommy that they attempted to cash the check and there was a hold on it. Tommy informed her that this was true and due to the situation, we felt they had been misleading and deceiving on Lu Lu's condition. I thought that was quick on finding out about the check. Levy or his employee must have taken right to the bank and asked to check on the check he had.

I arrived that morning at the Emergency Center to see Lu Lu and check on her condition. There were no changes, she was still receiving antibiotics and still in the oxygen tank. Lu Lu would stay that way throughout the day as I would stop in and see her. That same day I proceeded to look into what had happened to Lu Lu. I had gotten a copy of Lu Lu's current medical treatment along with a letter from the physician stating her current condition and that if she had not been placed on oxygen and received 24/7 care she would have passed away.

Tommy and I then went to the Puppy Cottage to speak to them about Lu Lu. As soon as we walked in, an employee handed us the phone and informed us it was Levy. I then answered the phone and Levy asked me just what is going on. I stated that I knew he was aware of Lu Lu's condition since his employee was communicating with him and relaying information but would inform him again. But I still went on to inform him from the beginning when we were told about her being examined by a vet and how she had a cold. I also informed him on how the medication was dispensed and that it was illegal for them to do that. Levy claimed that he had done nothing wrong and that Lu Lu was not only examined by a vet but that the vet had informed them to dispense the medication.

Levy then asked me why I did not bring Lu Lu to them. I told him of Lu Lu's condition and stated that he did not have the means to give her the proper treatment and care. Levy stated that he has years of experience and for me not to question his ability. I asked if he had oxygen treatments, Levy would not answer the question but would say don't question my ability. Levy then hung up on me.

We then left the Puppy Cottage and I headed over to the Veterinary's office that Levy had claimed had treated her. I was informed by that Veterinary's office that they would examine the new puppies as they came in and would treat any puppy that needed treatment. I then gave them Lu Lu's code number that was used to identify her at the Puppy Cottage. Lu Lu's file was pulled and Lu Lu was never examined on 12/17/10 and was never prescribed any medication including Clavamax. The only examination that had ever been done on Lu Lu was on 11/26/10. This examination was because she had just arrived to the Puppy Cottage. Her exam was normal and good. There were no signs of respiratory condition. I proceeded to show them the medication and how it was dispensed to us. The Veterinary's office was shocked and stated that Levy could not dispense that medication and that it was not properly wrapped. So after speaking to them, Tommy and I were even more concerned on the care that had been given to Lu Lu by the Puppy Cottage. We feel that the Veterinary's Office is on the up and up and there are no concerns that they have done anything wrong. Additional information has been gathered on this matter but due to an open investigation by officials additional information on this can not be given.

Now with the help of our family we are looking into other claims of sick puppies being sold and misleading information on other puppies sold from the Puppy Cottage. We are also looking into the breeders that Puppy Cottage claims to get their puppies from.

On Tuesday, 12/21/10, Lu Lu was taken out of the oxygen tank and instead received an oxygen line going into her nose. It seemed that Lu Lu had made some improvement but later that evening she started to go backwards in her recovery. At approx. 7:30 pm I spoke with the physician who informed me that Lu Lu had another x-ray and that her pneumonia had not gotten better but instead had intensified. They have also not been able to taper Lu Lu's oxygen level back. She also stated that Lu Lu has a small trachea which is not helping the healing process.

The physician suggested a different antibiotic that they can get from the local hospital but that it was expensive and still no guarantees on it. She informed them that Lu Lu's recovery is about a 50/50 chance. Tommy and I left the house and went to the Emergency Center. After speaking to them they proceeded with the new medication.

As of 9:00 am Wednesday, 12/22/10, Lu Lu was more alert and seems to be showing signs of improvement. She was able to receive a little tapering of the oxygen level. The next 24 hours will tell more.

With some help from family with researching Lu Lu's breeders, we are finding some concerns of Lu Lu's breeder being a broker of puppy mill or some involvement with puppy mill. As of now ,they have found that the Owner/Breeder, Mrs. Christine M ****** of Coffeyville, Ks, of Lu Lu has had inspections from the USDA with violations. They also found reports that she was linked to the November 2008 extensive Humane Society of the United States investigation of Petland all over the U.S to puppy mills.

We will continue to post Lu Lu's condition and how the investigation against Puppy Cottage and Patrick *** is going. As of now, 12/22/10, Patrick ***, owner of the Puppy Cottage, is not taking any responsibility and claims he has done nothing wrong. We will see him in court! Tommy and I have fallen in love with Lu Lu and will continue to fight for justice for her and the other puppies and will see she gets health care needed. As of 12/22/10 we have paid close to $4,200.00 for Lu Lu's medical bills. Lu Lu is a part of our family and we will do what it takes to get her well and stop this from happening to anyone else. When we visit Lu Lu the look in her eyes says it all. She has only had a little time to feel what it is like to be a part of a family and be loved. So, she has to get better so she and we can have more time together.

Please pray for Lu Lu and pass her story to everyone you know. We are attempting to reach other victims of the Puppy Cottage and to inform others on Puppy Mills and Pet Stores. Don't let the claims of healthy puppies and nice atmosphere and paperwork on the puppies fool you like it did us. We have also listed the Virginia Statue/Laws that support our case under the discussion page on Lu Lu's facebook page or go to this link for all the statue/laws. Search Lu Lu Story or Lu Lu's Story on Facebook.

On Wednesday, 12/22/10, Tommy and I visited Lu Lu. She was more interactive with us and seem to show signs of improvement with the new medication she had received but it was still too soon to tell if the medication was working but it gave us hope and we continued to pray for her recovery. On the way home I was thinking about how much Lu Lu has changed my life for the better. This past five days has seemed like weeks and it has been an emotional roller coaster. One moment we would think she is showing signs of improvement then the next, we would wonder if she was going to make it. With sleepless nights, I have stayed up educating myself on the welfare of these lives. I feel there needs to be stricter laws to protect them. I know it will take years, a lot of manpower and funding to shut puppy mills down but in the meantime if we have stricter laws for these pet stores, maybe they will disappear and the puppy mills will lose their biggest funding.

As I continued home, I wondered how Lu Lu and I could help and prayed that she would be around to help me. I want to help educate others and stop this from happening again but what could we do. I realized that we would continue to fight for her case against the Puppy Cottage and continue to look into the breeders who sold her to the Puppy Mill. I also hope that getting her story out would reach other victims and we can fight together. And to those who have not been a victim I hope these brings awareness. I was mislead but I was also ignorant due to my lack of education on this.

On Thursday morning at approx. 7:15am Tommy received a call on Lu Lu's condition. She had been off the oxygen treatment since 4:30 am and was breathing on her own. This is great news! They are still planning on keeping her and still unsure when she will be ready to come home. She has made a huge improvement for being such a very sick puppy.

Every day Tommy and I would visit her and sometimes several visits through out the day. It has been a struggle for her to fight this but I have been amazed at the will to live. I would tell her every time I saw her to fight this and that I needed her in my life. I know some might think I am nuts but those who have the love of an animal knows that they are so much more. They are a part of our family and our life.

On 12/24/10 Lu Lu was able to stay off the oxygen and is improving. We were told that Lu Lu will be able to come home Christmas morning. The only antibiotic that seemed to work for her was through iv so she needed to stay and finish the third day of this antibiotic.

On 12/25/10 at approx. 6:00am Tommy and I arrived at Valley to take Lu Lu home. This was a wonderful Christmas gift. She is taking five different medications which are given to her throughout the day. I am very fortunate to be able to take her to work. We have to watch her closely and she can not play until she has fully recovered. Even after she recovers she will still be limited to activities due to her small trachea.

On 12/27/10, Lu Lu has done very well over the weekend. She will be following up with our local Veterinarian. We will still be seeking justice for Lu Lu and other victims of the Puppy Cottage.

If you are a victim of the Puppy Cottage please contact us by email or contact us on our Facebook Page. Search Lu Lu Story on Facebook.

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