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Anti Puppy Mill Policy

THE GRACEWOOD FARM DIFFERENCE

 

Here at Grace Wood Farm, we work very hard to be different, to set a standard that makes sure that we are not a puppy mill and that our babies are never abandoned or put in a shelter. We have put our money where our mouth is, and we put in the hard work behind it to be different. 

OUR MODEL

 

When adopting from Grace Wood Farm, you are committing that you will partner

with us and our team to set a different standard in this community. We have put

some policies in place to ensure we are giving the best to our puppies. Here at

Grace Wood Farm, we work hard to be different in the level of care that we give

to both our parent dogs and our puppies. However, we can not be the only ones

trying to make that difference. This is not something that we can do on our own.

Even after our babies leave us to go home with their new families, there is still so

much work that needs to be done. We alone cannot make the difference in how

we breed and care for our puppies once they go home. We need our Grace Wood

Farm families' commitment with us to make this difference. 

 

We get sick to our stomachs over how poor dogs are treated at puppy mills. If you aren't familiar with what a puppy mill is, let us explain these terrible places. Typically there are dozens or hundreds of dogs at the breeder's site. There is no feasible way to manage that many dogs unless you put them all in kennels. All of those poor parent dogs end up living their entire existence in a small kennel. They don't go out. They don't play. Often they are neglected and rife with infections, parasites, mites, fleas, etc. Sheepadoodles, Poochons, and other designer dogs are highly sought after, and often reputable breeders like us have a long waitlist. On rare occasions, puppies are available now due to someone having to drop their spot on our waitlist. 

We pride ourselves on being the polar opposite of a puppy mill. All of our parent dogs deserve to live their best life, be adored as pets, and be cared for as any beloved pooch deserves. This is why we have the unique model of having several small, family-oriented breeding locations, with a limited amount of doggies at each site. We have a limited amount of litters at each location at a time, ensuring that all our pups get the thorough care they need and deserve. Below we will go into more detail about our practices, which, as you will see, couldn't be further from a puppy mill. There's only one way to shut down puppy mills for good - don't buy from them!

 

OUR LOCATIONS & LOCATION BREEDERS

 

We have multiple locations so that we can ensure that each parent dog and every puppy in each litter are being carefully cared for. We put thought and intentionality behind the way we set up each of our locations. Nurseries, crates, and play yards are all built with specific breeds in mind. Our nurseries are top-notch, focused on giving our dogs, puppies, and location breeders the best possible experience. We use high-quality materials, and we don't cut corners to save money. We believe that you get what you pay for, and we want the best for our adult dogs and our puppies. From the highest quality diet to supplements, vitamins, neurological stimulation, and birthing protocols, our dogs are getting the best of the best care. We know how to care for our dogs and puppies with a level of quality that is bar-none. As a result, our puppies begin their lives with the best of everything, the best nurseries, the healthiest parents, and skilled location breeders caring for them every single day.  

 

Our location breeders are the real rockstars at Grace Wood Farm. They truly make a difference, and they are a huge part of what sets Grace Wood Farm apart from the others. Each of our locations is managed by friends of Luke and Brittney, people we know and love. If we wouldn’t trust someone with our children, we don’t trust them with our puppies. We make sure that our dogs at Grace Wood Farm are getting the best care by having the best location breeders on our team. Our location breeders receive regular training from Luke & Brittney, and the entire Grace Wood Farm Team is in communication every single day to ensure that every adult dog and puppy is getting the proper care and attention that they deserve. In addition to rigorous training, our staff follows strict routines and rules every day with every dog. All of our operations are held to the highest level of integrity. We make sure that all locations have the same processes of care, food, supplements etc. and we also cater to each location based on the individual needs of each parent dog and our puppies. 

 

One way that we protect our puppies and our location breeders is by prohibiting visitors to our locations. One of our highest priorities is protecting the health and safety of our dogs, and many canine sicknesses like kennel cough, distemper, and parvovirus are potentially fatal threats and can be transmitted by something as simple as walking inside with your shoes on. A puppy’s immune system is highly volatile, and they don’t receive their first vaccinations until around weeks 6-7. Keeping our puppies isolated from outside exposure is the best thing for them. To ensure the highest level of care for our puppies, Grace Wood Farm doesn’t allow anyone outside of our families and staff to interact with the puppies until their Go Home Day. 

 

Grace Wood Farm also looks out for our location breeders by having a dedicated office team that is available to answer all of the questions and needs of our new families so that our location breeders can give all their attention to the parent dogs and litters, ensuring that they are getting the individual attention they need to be happy, loved, and cared for. We spend our time interacting with clients, finding great homes for our puppies, and working out the logistics of scheduling and finances so that our location breeders can be solely focused on the health and safety of our parent dogs and their litters, a luxury that most breeders simply do not have. 
 

THE CLIENT EXPERIENCE

Grace Wood Farm is also committed to making sure that our clients have

a great experience. We aim to give our families the best care possible,

from the first phone call to the day they pick up their new puppy, and for

the many years following. We want our clients to know that we are here

for you, and that doesn't end when you take your puppy home. We

maintain relationships with our adoptive families after the puppies go

home and are always here as a resource for tips, recommendations,

and concerns. We've helped many families work through their dog's

health problems from injury, eating something they shouldn't have,

infectious diseases, training techniques, and so much more. With us,

you don't just get a breeder who passes a puppy off to you. You get a

friend who is with you through your pup's whole life journey. Our team

is available to answer your questions, recommend products, and even

help you find another puppy when you are ready to bring home a sibling

for your dog. Any time you have a question or a need, please give us a

call at 803-888-4149.

 

OUR WAITLIST, TIMING OF LITTERS, AND AVAILABLE PUPPIES

 

Every week we receive dozens of requests for currently available puppies and most of our litters are full many months in advance, reserved by our deposit holders. Sometimes our deposit holders will choose to pass on a litter and we end up with puppies available. This is rare, but it does happen. If this is the case, we will make an open announcement on our social media accounts that we have extra spots to fill. This is the only way that we will announce extra spots in a currently born litter. We do not take an additional "interested" list, as it would have hundreds of people on the list and would be unmanageable. If you would like to try and get on one of the extra spots, you will have to watch our social media announcements after a litter is born for notice that extra puppies are available, and contact us right away. Extra spots are usually gone immediately, so you would have to be on the lookout! 

 

Grace Wood Farm does not guarantee any timings of future litters, as dogs can go into heat earlier or later than predicted. Additionally, we do not guarantee specific litters, as sometimes the mating does not take. These are living creatures and we are working with their bodies and time schedules. We do not run a puppy mill, therefore we work with the mamas and daddies that we have on their own schedules. If a litter does not take, we will move you to the next litter of the breed you picked. We also do not guarantee litter size, as this is 100% up to God. If your litter is smaller in size than slotted deposits, we will move the spot holders who can't get a puppy to the next litter of the breed you picked.

WHAT WE EXPECT AND NEED FROM OUR CLIENTS

NOT SKIPPING LITTERS OR "SHOPPING" FOR A PUPPY

When you join our waitlist you are committing that you are serious about adopting a puppy from us. We expect our Grace Wood Farm families to commit to Grace Wood Farm with genuine and sincere intentions of adopting one of our puppies. We strongly discourage our deposit holders from spending exhaustive time on our waitlist, skipping many litters over much time. 

 

To discourage the practice of our deposit holders continuing to skip litter after litter or “shopping our puppies,” we only allow our deposit holders to skip four litters before forfeiting their spot on the waitlist. If you skip four litters, you will be removed from your place on the deposit list and instead placed at the bottom of the deposit list. This allows for our families who are serious about getting a puppy to have a fair opportunity and for our currently available babies to get a home right away. We do this because we want to limit how many puppies we breed to the number of adoptive homes we have scheduled. We are counting on you to get a puppy so we breed our girls based on a lot of factors, one of them being how many deposit holders we have on our waitlist. 

At times on pick day, families decide not to choose a puppy from the litter they committed to. You may, at that point, choose to forfeit your spot on that litter and return to the general waitlist. When you return to the general waitlist, you will be placed back at the end of the list. However, you can only do this once.

 

After that, we will have no choice but to take that as a sign that you may be an irresponsible dog owner, and we will not feel comfortable that we can trust you to follow our policies and care for one of our babies. If you forfeit your spot on a litter twice, we will remove you from our deposit list. We spend a tremendous amount of time, thought, communication, and effort to ensure our puppies are cared for with world-class standards, and we strive to give all our families a wonderful experience from start to finish. Committing to a litter and then vacating your spot creates a tremendous amount of extra work for us. The puppy now only has three weeks to find a new home, and if we don’t find a new home quickly, that puppy will be left without its littermates as we search for a new home. We ask that you carefully decide to commit to a litter when the puppies are born.

 

When our deposit holders are not serious about getting a puppy and pass litter after litter, we can have more babies than planned homes. Grace Wood Farm refuses to breed more puppies than we have good homes, a tactic used by puppy mills to mass-produce dogs and flood the market. To prevent over-breeding, we keep a waitlist of serious families planning to adopt a puppy. When our waitlist does not see our babies as living creatures and only as a possession to own, then we have babies with no home. We are reputable breeders who refuse to overbreed like a puppy mill. This is part of the Grace Wood Farm Difference - we adhere to strict standards to maintain our reputation.
 

GIVE YOUR DOG PROPER TRAINING

 

Being a responsible dog owner ensures that you provide a plan to train your canine companion to be the calm, well-mannered, and best-behaved doggie that you could ever want. A trained dog is less stressful, not only in the beginning but for life. Proper socialization and manners will give you the dog you are envisioning. But you have to do the work and stay committed. You both deserve it. Here at Grace Wood Farm, we have a strong policy that if you want any puppy from us, you better be 100% ready to train it! Every puppy needs training and not being willing to do this disqualifies you from owning a puppy or dog. A dog may have the best genetics, parents with the best temperaments, and the highest level of socialization from birth. But that dog can turn into a bad doggie if it doesn’t get training! If you want "the perfect pet" you must be willing to put in the time, money, and effort to train your dog once they are home. If you put in the training, you will reap the benefits!

 

In our attempt to give our Grace Wood Farm Families the best opportunity for a well-trained dog, we have partnered with lifetime online puppy trainers Baxter and Bella. We have chosen to work with Baxter and Bella rather than using local trainers because we know that it is not just the puppy that has to be trained for you to have a great family pet and experience - you need to be trained as well! Luke and Brittney have six kids and know the importance of the whole family being on the same page when it comes to your new puppy. A puppy can go to a trainer, but if the family does not know how to follow through with this training, then you have wasted your time and money. Going through a training program together, as a family, with your puppy sets everyone up for success. Dogs run on an alpha system. If you send your dog off for training, your trainer has become the alpha, not you. The trainer has trained your pup, not you. There is a difference. Dogs are living emotional creatures, just like humans. When you and your puppy are getting trained at the same time, there is a bond that is formed. Your puppy comes to understand you care for them and learns to follow your instructions by learning your voice, your temperament, your commands, and encouragements. If you and the rest of your family don’t know how to train your puppy it will take much longer to have a family pet that you want to keep and that you have bonded with as well. When humans do not create a bond with their pets, they are more likely to give their dogs up rather than keep them. This is one of the huge reasons why there are so many dogs in shelters. With Baxter and Bella, you are both learning together and you will have trainers that you can call that will help teach you as well, making a much stronger longer lasting family pet and bond. The best dog is a well-trained dog, a part of the family that you will enjoy for their lifetime. 

 

We want to make sure that you are prepared to be the very best puppy parent you can be and offer you an amazing resource. Baxter and Bella have been ever so generous to provide us a discount code to give you to use when you and your family buy one of our sweet babies from us! Visit www.baxterandbella.com to check them out, and when you place a deposit we will give you a special coupon code for 25% off. 

INTERACTING WITH OUR TEAM

 

At Grace Wood Farm, we are committed to giving our clients a wonderful experience. We treat our clients like family because that's what they are. We are entering into a relationship that will hopefully last for many years, and good relationships take effort. We strive to be kind, respectful, and helpful at every opportunity and we ask that our clients treat our team with the same respect. 

 

We ask that you be realistic with our team when you make requests and that you ask nicely rather than making demands. Our team will do everything that they can to help you, but they are required to follow our policies, and they are expected to be sensitive to the needs of our location breeders. This means that sometimes when you ask for things, you might have a delayed answer or even a “no” on occasion. When our team needs some time to complete requests, or unfortunately cannot give you what you want, we ask that you respond to them with kindness. If you have any concerns, you are always welcome to call and speak with Luke or Brittney directly. Please don’t be rude, impatient, or demanding with our team. This doesn’t help anyone. Keep in mind that throughout the process, we are vetting our clients to make sure that our dogs will be cared for in a loving home. If you respond to our team with hostility or irrational demands, it could make us reevaluate your character and your intentions with our puppies and your eligibility to adopt a puppy from us.

 

CHOOSING A LITTER

 

We like to work with our clients to determine the best location and litter for them. Once a litter of puppies is born, we will begin contacting our waitlist starting from the top down. Each person on the list will have the option to secure a spot on the new litter or continue waiting. We will contact our deposit holders via email for these litters, and we ask that you respond in a timely manner so that we can quickly move down the list. If you choose to pass on a litter there is no penalty for the first three litters that you pass, and you will retain your same position on the general waitlist.

If you pass on a fourth litter that is available to you, you will forfeit your spot on the general waitlist and be moved to the bottom of the waitlist. You will then have two more times where you can pass a litter, and if you pass two you will go to the bottom of the waitlist again.

If you decide to secure a spot on a specific litter, your spot will be based on your current position on the general waitlist and based on how many puppies are in the litter. If folks choose to pass on a litter, we will continue contacting our deposit holders letting them know of the opportunity to get on that litter. Once you are on the litter, we will be going through much more communication regarding the litter details, timing, schedule, etc.

 

THE NEW POLICY - OUR HEART BEHIND THESE CHANGES

 

As we’ve said before, Grace Wood Farm is committed to changing the way that things are done in the dog breeding community, and we are trying to do our part to limit the number of dogs that end up in shelters. We do not breed dogs just for sport, we intentionally breed to meet the number of deposit holders that are on our waitlist because this is what a responsible breeder does. We do not want more puppies than we have homes for. At times we have had some issues with clients who want to either “shop” our puppies looking for exact physical characteristics, or who skip litters continually looking for the optimal timing. We understand why someone would want to do this, but it’s just not practical or responsible. When we breed dogs for our deposit holders but then have them skip litters due to vacations, cold weather, or other reasons, we are left trying to find other homes for those puppies. We become part of the problem that we ourselves are trying to solve. We have found that we have to change our policies to limit these behaviors. We are now limiting the number of times that you can skip a litter, and we are taking the timing conversation off the table. We trust that when you place a deposit with us, you are ready to bring home a puppy and you will commit with us to choosing a litter, and a puppy from that litter within a reasonable timeframe. 

 

WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. HERE'S HOW YOU CAN HELP US MAKE A DIFFERENCE

 

When adopting from Grace Wood Farm you are committing to partnering with us and our team to set a different standard in this community. These policies have been put in place to ensure we are giving the best to our puppies.

 

  1. Limit to skipping litters: When you get on our waitlist you are committing that you are serious about adopting a puppy from us. We expect our Grace Wood Farm families to come with genuine and sincere intentions of adopting one of our puppies. We strongly discourage our deposit holders from spending exhaustive time on our waitlist, skipping many litters over much time. To discourage the practice of our deposit holders continuing to skip litter after litter or “shopping our puppies,” we only allow our deposit holders to skip four litters before forfeiting their spot on the waitlist. If you skip 4 litters you will be removed from your place on the deposit list, and instead placed at the bottom of the deposit list. This allows for our families who are serious about getting a puppy to have a fair opportunity. At times on pick day, families decide not to choose a puppy from the litter they committed to. You may, at that point, choose to forfeit your spot on that litter and return to the general waitlist. When you return to the general waitlist, you will be placed back at the end of the list. However, you can only do this once. If you forfeit your spot on a litter twice, we will remove you from our deposit list.

    • We do this because we want to limit how many puppies we breed to the number of adoptive homes we have scheduled. 

    • We are counting on you to get a puppy so we breed our girls based on a lot of factors, one of them being how many deposit holders we have on our waitlist. 

    • When our deposit holders are not serious about getting a puppy and pass litter after litter we can have more babies than planned homes. 

    • Grace Wood Farm refuses to breed more puppies than we have good homes, a tactic used by puppy mills to mass-produce dogs and flood the market. 

    • To prevent over-breeding, we keep a waitlist of serious families planning to adopt a puppy.

    • When our waitlist does not see our babies as living creatures and only as a possession to own, then we have babies with no home.

    • We are reputable breeders who refuse to overbreed like a puppy mill. This is part of the Grace Wood Farm difference - we adhere to strict standards to maintain our reputation. 

  2. Requirement for spaying or neutering your dog at six months of age: We require you to spay or neuter your dog by six months of age or your health guarantee will be voided.

    • Waiting to spay or neuter your dog comes with tremendous risks. Dogs can become sexually active by six months of age. Within moments a dog could pair with a neighbor’s dog or stray, resulting in an unwanted pregnancy and unwanted puppies coming into the world. Often unwanted puppies end up in kill shelters, bad homes, or bounced from home to home. We must do our part to help with the overflow in our shelters of unwanted dogs.

    • Dogs can contract STDs when they come into sexual contact. Some STDs can cause lifelong health problems in your dog, and in extreme cases can even cause death. Having your dog fixed removes any desire they have to mate, and eliminates this concern. 

    • Female dogs are far more likely to develop ovarian cancer in their lives if they have a heat cycle before being spayed. Fixing your dog before her first cycle actually will increase her likelihood of long-term health.

    • Female dogs may become territorial or have food hoarding tendencies if they start to ovulate, due to their survival instincts. When a female is spayed she no longer has these instinctive tendencies from her female hormones. Breeders are educated and equipped to train breeding females, but many regular families don’t understand how to approach these behaviors. 

    • Male dogs can have an increase in aggression from the testosterone in their body if they are not fixed. Owners are often not equipped or understanding of how to handle this. Misinformed owners may put their dog in a kill shelter because they are confusing his sexual maturity with behavior problems. When a male is neutered, it drastically alters his body chemistry, removing many aggressive tendencies from testosterone. To have the best male dog temperament, you need to neuter him at six months. 

    • In our contract, there is a fine assessed for unapproved breeding, both planned and accidental.

    • Please do your part and have your dog fixed by six months of age.

  3. Rehoming policy: If at any point you decide that you do not want your dog anymore, for any reason at all, you are required to return the dog and its belongings to us for rehoming.

    • All of our dogs deserve the chance to have a happy and stable life. We do not want our dogs to end up in kill shelters, sold on Craigslist, or bounced from home to home.

    • If for any reason you decide you don’t want your dog anymore, you are required to return the dog to us for rehoming. The dog’s possessions must be provided with the dog to provide the dog with the best opportunity to settle into a new home with some comfort.

    • We have many wonderful families waiting to receive a dog from us, and it is always easy to re-home a dog in a fantastic setting. 
       

I started this business in 2016 because it combined two of my biggest passions: having family pets that are bred right and making a difference in the breeding community and family building. As a mother of six children and so many dogs, I know how much joy comes when a new member is added to the pack. I hope you are equally excited about your growing family and feeling good that you are helping to be a part of the solution, not the problem! We can do this together!

 

As our Grace Wood Farm family continues to grow all across the country, we thank you that it all starts in loving homes like yours.  

 

Sincerely,

Brittney Stasi

Founder and CEO

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