I'm kind of embarrassed to be from the "land of puppy mills," but what're you gonna do. Don't misunderstand--I'm happy to live in Oklahoma--love it here--just can't stand the puppy mill owners.
I bought Mia and Skylar (5 months apart) from a breeder in southern Oklahoma. I really don't think she's running a puppy mill but anything is possible. We did meet about half way between her place and mine since we're a few hours away from each other. We've met her and her husband--they seem like very nice people (early-mid 30's, two young children). I've heard several breeders say that they don't let people come to their property because of having puppies stolen and, as my breeder told me, she had a friend who had a visitor who was apparently carrying some sort of disease and it wiped out half her puppies.
I got each of my girls at exactly 8 weeks (not one day earlier). Mia was perfectly healthy and well adjusted. She is THE sweetest dog on the planet.
Skylar was basically healthy, and well adjusted, although she did have giardia (but I don't think that's uncommon in puppies)--nothing a round of antibiotics didn't clear up. After that she developed slimy colitis. Forti Flora, and later yogurt, cleared that up. Knock on wood, I think she's since outgrown it. I am curious as to why Mia's dew claws were removed and Skylar's weren't but can never remember to ask the breeder (we stay in touch via e-mail). The breeder sent Mia home with me along with something to sprinkle on her food and some sort of liquid antibiotic (I think it was) in case she needed it but I never used either of them. Overall, they were both happy and healthy (Skylar never acted ill) and ate and drank like old pros. We couldn't be happier with them. I found this breeder on Pet adoption: Want a dog or cat? Adopt a pet on Petfinder
, I believe it was.
Now for my story of stupidity...I bought my daughter a Yorkie last December to be a companion to her other Yorkie. I found her, Lily (3 months), in the newspaper (it NEVER occurred to me that puppy mills advertise in the newspaper as just regular people--I know that sounds stupid but I just didn't realize it). We met the couple half way between their place and ours. Well, Lily had several health issues (nothing that couldn't be treated fortunately) and she didn't seem very well adjusted (although Yorkies are quite different from chihuahuas personality/temperment wise). Her vet even said that he thought she came from a puppy mill. Sooooo, I filed a complaint with the USDA (the couple are licensed breeders) stating Lily's health problems and my suspicions. I've subsequently requested to know the findings of their investigation, but the government being the government, who knows how long it will take to get that (it's been months already). So I could really kick myself b/c I probably should have known better but didn't. I'm happy to report that all Lily's health problems cleared up and she's far better adjusted than she was initially. My daughter (23 y.o.) loves her to death!
I might also add that it was Mia and Skylar's breeder who provided me with the information on filing a complaint. I e-mailed and consulted with her beforehand regarding the situation. She was very helpful.
Anyway, those are my stories. Best of luck to everyone looking for a new baby!