Also, I've heard that selling puppies in pet stores is illegal in California?
And with regard to using a reputable breeder - we got our golden retriever without papers because it was so much more expensive to get one with papers. At the time we also had an elderly blind and diabetic dog whose care required a lot of money and a somewhat aggressive sharpie-border collie mix who had had a traumatic puppyhood. Because we live in a small space and because I run a business out of my home we chose a golden retriever and it proved to be the perfect choice for us. We met both of her parents and liked the people who sold us our pup. They didn't qualify as backyard breeders from what we could see, but they also weren't 'reputable breeders'.
I'd like to get another dog but one problem I face is that we rent and I would prefer not to ask our landlord for permission to get another dog. This will sound irresponsible but it is not the case - we have been here for 15 years and our landlord has no idea how many dogs we and our downstairs neighbours have precisely (three at the moment, four in the past and we'd never go above that, two for each suite). I would be nervous to ask him for permission because it might cause him to actually think about it.
Basically, I am someone who would never surrender her animals unless I were sick or dying. If we are required to leave here because the landlord sells the house I would move to a trailer park and live in a dumpy trailer if I couldn't find somewhere better that allowed me to keep my animals. Rehoming them would not be an option. I love them too much to give them up.
We have cared for all of our dogs and cats very well over the past 17 years and all have been well-loved. But I prefer not to deal with the permission requirement.
Again, you may call me irresponsible but the facts of our animal ownership shows otherwise.
How do I explain my situation to a shelter or a reputable breeder? We did get permission to adopt a cat in the past few years but prefer not to request it for a dog, especially given that we will be one dog over the legal limit. An SPCA official told me that they would not intervene in such a situation if the dogs would well-loved and cared for, but I don't want to announce it.
We are a a year or several years away from getting another dog - I want to give my golden a chance to be a therapy dog in hospitals and such - but I do think about how I will proceed when the time comes. Invariably,
I return to buying a pup from a private home, probably a mix next time, with no need of papers.