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OK, you've done your research. You've talked with friends and professionals. You've heard all the horror stories. But you want a Husky anyway. They're wonderfully clean dogs, they're sweet, and you've fallen in love with those magical blue eyes. There's no turning back. You're committed. The question now is where to go for this furry bundle of unconditional love. You basically have four choices: a pet store, a shelter, a rescue organization, or a breeder.

Pet stores charge the most (up to $1500), and once you leave, you and your puppy are on your own. The truth is that 90% of the dogs sold in pet stores come from puppy mills - no matter what they tell you! These dogs carry with them the greatest risk of congenital health problems. Correcting such problems can be VERY expensive. not to mention the heartbreak of possibly losing a new pet after you've become attached to it. If you don't believe us, ask your local veterinarian where most of his problems come from.

Shelters do a better job of caring about the animals they adopt out. Their focus is less on making money and more on saving dogs, but the sad fact is that they almost always have more dogs than resources. The best shelters will have each dog checked by a veterinarian and/or behaviorist to be sure it is healthy, neutered, and adoptable. One particular shelter that seems to do a consistently good job in this regard is The Animal Rescue League of Boston located in Brewster, MA. A link to their website is at the right. Still, problems may develop, not so much because the shelter overlooked something, but because a dog's history may be unknown and some problems may not manifest themselves until a dog is older. The best shelters will try to be helpful in such situations, but their resources may be limited. Fees are in the range of $350.

Rescues, like shelters are good, bad, and in-between, so let us talk about the good ones so that you'll have a yardstick against which others can be measured. Like shelters, intakes come from a wide variety of sources. Animals are evaluated by a veterinarian and a behaviorist, and are rehabilitated if necessary. All animals are neutered and microchipped. The best Rescues take great pains to match the needs of dogs in their care with the qualifications of applicants looking to adopt them.The best Rescues also offer after-adoption support. The price tag is usually in the range of $350.

Breeders generally offer all the advantages of a Rescue plus full knowledge of the dog's lineage and temperament. The price you'll pay a Breeder is in the same range as at a pet store, but if you have a problem, a good Breeder will take back the pup, usually with a full refund and no questions asked. We have yet to see that happen in a pet store. Nearly all show dogs come from breeders who are AKC registered, but there is no reason why a pure-bred Husky won't make a great family pet. AKC breeders can be found via the American Kennel Club.

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