The Dog Merchants-3DToday, via Facebook, I received my first official hate message about The Dog Merchants. It came from a purebred enthusiast who hasn’t even read the book, and who posted a vicious knee-jerk comment after assuming the book is something that it’s not.

Here’s a snippet:

“There’s scum everywhere and I’ll bet you gravitated toward them to tell the story you wanted to tell. … You’re obviously NOT a journalist. Perhaps just a PETA supporter who never investigated the truth. Dogs would be best served by the truth and knowing WHERE to go for a healthy, sound puppy, a breeder who will be available throughout the dog’s life. … You are more than gullible and then you pass it off as truth and do a terrible disservice to everyone. You not only should be ashamed of yourself, but you owe an apology to everyone you have not just insulted but whose reputations you have attacked.”

Obviously, I am expecting this type of response from some people—on the breeding and rescuing sides alike—because the entire message of The Dog Merchants is that we dog lovers need to be able to tell responsible sellers from irresponsible sellers, and to stop giving our money to the latter, breeders and rescuers alike.

And I actually agree with one thing this person wrote: “There’s scum everywhere.” Indeed. I do my best to expose it on both the breeding and rescue sides in The Dog Merchants, while holding up the most responsible breeders and rescuers as the alternative that we dog lovers should support. I actually quote a longtime AKC-affiliated breeder of Shetland Sheepdogs in my book to make this very point. She says, “Get smart. Realize you are not always being told the truth—breeders and rescues.”

If The Dog Merchants accomplishes anything, I hope it will be making a connection with people like the woman who wrote that nasty Facebook comment, people who are so entrenched on one side of the debate that they have stopped believing a reasonable middle ground exists. I hope people like this commenter will actually read the book, and will see that she and I are actually on the same side.

That is, on the side of the dogs, and wanting only the most responsible breeders and rescuers to remain in business.