Both my wife Susan and I are dog lovers. There's no doubt that we both love dogs ... all dogs.

She had a couple growing up, and I had a couple before we met. In my life, my family had Bootsie, Spunky, Parker, Ruby and Phydeaux. Spunky, the mutt that we had for 15 years and raised me, flew to Germany with us when my dad was in the service. We just could not get rid of her.

When Susan and I were engaged in February 1989, I asked her the next day what she wanted for her birthday, which was a week away.

“Oh, nothing.”

“What about a puppy?”

“YES!”

We were living in Savannah, Georgia, at the time, and a few days later, I drove to Jacksonville to get the dog she wanted, a Lhasa-poo, which we named Maggie, short for Magnolia Blossom. Maggie was our baby and helped break in our two human babies who came a few years later.

Since then, we've had Dugan and Guinness. Guinness was the best dog, a Schnoodle, while Dugan was...well, Dugan. For 14 years, we tried, but Dugan never quite got the idea of being housebroken.

Four years ago tomorrow, Riley came into our lives, and then last January, we found a rescue that we named Penny. Riley is a wonderful dog, but Penny is the most loving dog, probably due to being a rescue.

Recently, we were thinking about getting another dog. Riley is a Toy Fox Terrier mix, while Penny is a Toy Fox Terrier. So, of course, we decided on a Toy Fox Terrier.

The problem is that finding another rescue is almost impossible. We've checked petfinder.com and a few other websites, and the closest ones are days away.

Recently, we went to a couple of pet stores. Too often these places get their puppies from puppy mills, so we try to stay clear of them. But we did see a rat terrier mix. It looked a lot like Penny, so we played with him for a few minutes.

I was curious and asked the price. In the past, this pet store had dogs for about $500-$600. The sales person said she would check. She came back and said, “$4,900.”

I thought she was being hard to understand because of her mask. She repeated the price. It was more than what we paid for my son's 2005 Civic that we bought a few years ago.

Just for the fun of it, we went to another in the same mall. The selection was small, and there were no dogs that we'd want. But the price on all of the dogs was more than four times what it had been a year ago.

Apparently, the questionable sources that supply the dogs for these type stores have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Meanwhile, I checked on several adopt-a-dog sites. Most of the dogs there will cost about $250. Usually, though, the dog is neutered, vaccinated and, in many cases, microchipped.

With so many dogs looking for forever homes, it tells me we need to keep looking at these sites. I just wish we'd find another Toy Fox Terrier.

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