For The Love of Pups: A Puppy Buyer’s Guide

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Meet Maris the author’s soon to be pup.

One winter morning as I was walking to meet my BFF, there before my very eyes, was a woman walking the most precious dog I had ever seen.  And just like that, in the middle of Second Avenue, I stopped the woman and asked the breed of her puppy.  Smiling, she replied her dog was a Malti Poo, a cross between a Maltese and a Poodle.

Buying a puppy is an emotional experience, at least it was for me.  Turning to the internet, typing in female Malti Poos for sale, I saw some of the most incredible puppies. Unfortunately, there are many puppy scam artists out there, posting the cutest photos of puppies, that aren’t even real, playing with your emotions, enticing you into buying.

Fearing a Buyer Beware experience I spent a month in search of our puppy, meticulously checking and rechecking every reference.

For me, the question remained, whom could I trust, whom could I believe. I was spending day after day talking to one person after another, all claiming they had the one and only perfect puppy for me. This became my mission over the next month.It became a full-time job.  If I wasn’t on the phone, I was on the internet checking and then meticulously rechecking references.

It was during that time that I became aware of puppy brokers.  A puppy broker is a middle man of sorts, who buys and sells dogs to pet stores and private buyers. All though there are many reputable brokers out there, there is a chance that the puppies, adorable as they may be, come from puppy mills.

Puppy mills rarely if ever, allow you to see their kennels.  Often for photo purposes, the puppies are taken outside to be photographed, or photographed using photoshop to change their background location.  Puppy mills house their puppies in inhumane conditions, notoriously selling sick puppies without full discloser so that there is no way the buyer can tell if they are indeed receiving the healthy puppy as described.  There is no way to check if the puppy has been vaccinated, dewormed, or even examined by a vet before it has been sold.  Their goal is to make money by selling in volume.  In other words, again, Buyer Beware.

Just when I was feeling really discouraged, ready to abandon my search I discovered Pawrade and met Courtney Dean. I asked Courtney what set Pawrade apart from the usual puppy sites I reference.  She replied, that Pawrade was so much more than a concierge service.  Connecting buyers with vetted, reputable and honest breeders, ensuring that all of their puppies are being raised in a loving and safe home, was their top priority.  Buyers will have a 100% guarantee that all the puppies on their website will never be from a puppy mill or scam.

Right from the start, before even asking the breed or puppy I selected from their website, she asked me if I lived in a house or apartment and if there were children at home or other pets.  She even asked if my husband or I had any allergies and if we spent a lot of time at home. It was important to also know why we wanted a puppy at this time, because a puppy, she said, was a full-time commitment. When I asked her why she wanted to know she told me that all the information would be passed along to the breeder ensuring the breeder that their puppy would be placed in the right home.

At Pawrade I learned that their loyalties were to the breeder as well as the buyer.  Pawrade does everything possible to ensure the puppies are healthy at delivery. They even want the breeder and buyer to meet and have a long-term relationship as the puppy begins to grow.

To my surprise and delight, Pawrade even has a comprehensive health guarantee, because their commitment to the buyer and breeder does not end with the sale of the puppy. In order to meet their strict standards, each puppy is checked as Courtney would say, from “head-to-tail” extensively. Breeders must also follow a strict vaccination and deworming protocol before the puppy is sent to their new home.

To ensure the health of your puppy, Pawrade gives each new puppy owner a three-year health guarantee and a free month of Met Life Pet Insurance. Please check out their website for must-read information.

I told Courtney I wanted a female Malti Poo, between five and seven pounds.  On their site, you get to see the puppy’s birth weight and the weight of both parents, which was extremely helpful in narrowing down my choice and falling head over heels in love with Rose.  The highlight for me was a zoom call between Courtney, the breeder, and of course my Marais, AKA Rose. Marais was now mine, and I can’t wait for all the “smiles and cuddles we will share” for many years to come.

Payment for your puppy is through PetPay, using one of your credit cards.  This also made me feel like I had made the right choice, because before I was hearing the words “Western Union” a lot.  Another tip for buyers to avoid at all costs.

Jen Rubinstein one of their puppy concierges along with their travel team, seamlessly arranged my puppy’s transport. She was the go-between, scheduling the type of travel and delivery date that I had discussed with Marais’ breeder.  There is a transportation fee depending on the mode of travel selected.

My puppy search ends here, as my husband and I wait for Marais’ arrival.  I was even given their Puppy Guide, an all-in-one inclusive guide that includes what to buy, down to the type of toys for your pet, what to look out for, when to take my puppy for her first check-up, and future vaccination schedules.  My husband and I are so thankful to have discovered Pawrade, My experience was a pure delight thanks to Courtney, Jen, and the other members of the Pawrade team.

For additional information, please visit their website,

Stay tuned for Marais’ arrival.


  • Sharon Marantz Walsh

    Sharon Marantz Walsh has served as a spokeswoman, appeared on television, radio, and other media outlets for many not-for-profit foundations, securing celebrity endorsements, significant funding, and sales, as well as in-kind-gifts for auctions.  Sharon was the Editor-at-Large for Glow Beauty Magazine. A talented artist, her exciting new endeavor is Foto Art: Creating Forever Memories. Taking client's photos, and creativity turns them into unique, one of a kind pieces of art.

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