If, after reviewing my web site, you're interested in a puppy from Tealwood Labradors, please e-mail me an inquiry. You can try calling but I often am not able to answer the phone. I try to be responsive but usually can reply more quickly via e-mail as I can do that at midnight! If you call, please speak slowly enough that I can get your phone number, and tell me the best times to try to return the call. Feel free to leave messages every couple days until we connect as I've been swamped the last year with projects and problems in addition to normal routines.
PLEASE don't just ask if I have a puppy; I need information regarding what type of Labrador you're seeking, for what purpose, lifestyle, facilities, plans for caring for the puppy and plans for the dog as an adult. I'd like to hear where you live, hear about your family, whether you've raised and/or had dogs in the past. I'd like to know specifically what your plan is for caring for a little puppy. Especially if both adults in the family work, you need a real plan ... you cannot leave a puppy in a crate for 7-8 hours while everyone goes to work and school.
We need to have both e-mail and phone discussions before I'm comfortable accepting a deposit and putting you on the list for a puppy. If you're close enough (within 4-6 hour drive), I highly recommend you plan on scheduling a visit to meet me, my dogs and see my facilities. I want to be SURE that you're going to provide a wonderful, forever home for one of my babies, with lots of love and attention and whatever health care ends up being needed throughout his lifetime. I want to be sure that both adults in the family are on the same page, wanting a nice puppy and able to give love and proper care. A puppy is not a disposable commodity ... he's a long-term member of your family, similar to adopting a child. They feel happiness or sadness, confidence or fear, well-being or pain ... just like we all do. But, they're vulnerable just like a small child, and it's up to US to protect them and give them a quality life. Neglect or abuse of any kind is never justified.
While you need to be prepared for my inquisition and, hopefully, approval of you as a puppy family, I want YOU to know enough about my dogs that you feel confident that this will be the right type of dog for you and your family. You need to be honest with me, in that regard, and with yourself.
Once we've talked and/or visited enough to determine that one of my puppies is right for you, it's time to commit and get on the list for a particular litter. That requires a deposit, currently $300. This is a two-way commitment. I commit to you that I will put you on the list of buyers for a particular litter, and will not move other pet buyers in front of you. I will even do that as of the moment you tell me via phone (or e-mail) that you've made a decision and will be putting a check in the mail. You commit to me that you will follow through and purchase a puppy from the litter at the stated price.
When you place the deposit, you do need to tell me specifically what you will accept as far as color and sex. For example, you may insist on a male puppy, preferring yellow, but would take a black male if yellow wasn't available. Or, you're dead set on a black puppy, male or female. Or you may be open to any color, any sex. That is honestly what I would recommend, as the type, temperament and soundness of the bloodline is way more important than color or sex. But, I need to know so I can tell other people what may be available in the litter, and can determine how many deposits I should accept.
When it's time for people to make selections and take their puppy home (about 8 weeks), I normally let people select their puppy in order of deposits received. That's why it's nice to be towards the top of the list ... you have a better chance of getting the puppy you most want. THE EXCEPTION to this is that, as the breeder, I always reserve the right to step in and pull a puppy (or several puppies) that I believe are destined for special things. Normally, this is a puppy that I feel should be shown, should be in a breeder home, and have an opportunity to perpetuate the best qualities of the breed. It may be a puppy for me to keep myself, or may go to another breeder/show placement. Occasionally, it may be a puppy for a service dog organization or search and rescue ... a dog with a talent for a special job. Those puppies would be identified at 7 to 7 1/2 weeks, and everyone else would drop down a notch on the list. Thus, you may initially think you will have 2nd pick of the litter because you're the 2nd deposit; but, if 2 puppies are pulled for show placements, you'd end up with 4th pick of the pet deposits. It doesn't happen often like this, but could happen.
Your deposit is NOT refundable if you change your mind for any reason. If you find another puppy sooner elsewhere, you will not get your deposit back. If you end up getting a divorce, or have a relocation, etc. and find it's a bad time for a puppy, your deposit will not be refunded. However, it will stay on my books for the future. If and when you are ready for a puppy, we will apply the deposit to another litter. I invest a lot of time into dealing with puppy buyers, and often turn away other buyers because you're on the list and it leaves no more appropriate puppies available to them.
If there is not an appropriate puppy available for you (based on what you've told me you wanted), you will have two options. If desired, I will refund your deposit. Or, as most people decide to do, we can transfer your deposit to another upcoming litter, usually putting you in a top position on that list. It will be your choice but, if you tell me you want to transfer into the next litter, you need to see that as another commitment; you cannot expect your deposit back if you find another puppy sooner.
All pet puppies are sold on "limited registration" unless we've worked out another option and contract. Limited registration is an AKC full registration but you cannot register any puppies whelped by or sired by a dog with limited registration. You cannot show in AKC conformation classes with a limited registration, but can show in all other AKC events. The AKC encourages breeders to use this option to avoid irresponsible breeding and almost all reputable breeders do so. You can learn more about this at www.akc.org .
PUPPY SELECTION AND PICK-UPS
Orchestrating puppy selections often becomes a breeder's nightmare! I really try hard to make everyone happy, but it just doesn't always play out that way. As stated above, I have to give priority to myself as a breeder, and/or to other top show/breeder prospect puppy placements. Then, I give next priority to the order in which I received deposits. Everyone needs to make themselves available in that order for selecting and picking up their puppy, and need to understand that other people may be in front of them, and may be waiting behind them. The timing can get difficult, but we always work through it. I will not take a "bribe" to let someone pick before someone else ahead of them on the list. And, I will not hold up everyone's selection and pick-up because someone at the top of the list doesn't make themselves available to come at the appropriate time. If the timing becomes a problem for someone, we'll have to make the pick based on pictures and phone conversations so that others can come and get their puppies.
I currently do not dictate which puppy goes to whom. If there's a choice for you, I'll normally let you choose unless there's a valid reason why a particular puppy is not right for you. But, I will give you my input on personality differences that I've observed over the weeks, and hope you take that into consideration. It frequently happens that people play with the puppies for an hour and get a totally distorted impression of personalities. The most energetic, outgoing puppy may look like a "dud" when you come because he's already worn himself out! I will base my recommendations on what you've told me about your family and the type of personality that best fits. And, PLEASE, try not to fall in love with a particular puppy based on my pictures! If could happen that that puppy will not be available to you.
Puppies can start going to their new homes at 8 weeks. They will have had their first puppy shot (8 weeks), will have been de-wormed 3 times and vet checked. I normally have big bags of the puppy food I use here then, so you can buy one to get started with the same food. You will receive written medical records, the guarantee, pedigree and AKC papers.
Yes, I can ship puppies. We do this frequently and my puppies really take it in stride well. I think this is partly due to good genetic temperament and partly due to good socialization in the first 8 weeks. We may, however, run into problems with weather; the airlines won't take a puppy if the temperatures are too cold or too hot at either end. There will be additional costs. Shipping usually runs about $200. Health certificate and the airport trip about another $100. I have sturdy puppy crates that you can use to avoid buying a small one, but you'll have to ship it back to me UPS ground.
I try to ship puppies only on non-stop flights but we don't have a lot of them out of Richmond, VA. I may have to drive to Washington DC to get a non-stop flight. I prefer Richmond as it's not nearly as busy as DC, and not nearly as far a drive, not as risky for traffic problems.
Another option that some people like to do, or if the weather restrictions don't let up, is to fly into Richmond and fly home with your puppy in the plane with you. An advantage is that you can come here and meet the mama (sometimes the daddy also) and some of my other dogs, see where your puppy was born and raised, etc. I have a soft carrier, airline approved, that I loan to people to avoid buying one just for this trip; again, you'll have to ship back to me UPS or USPS. You do not need a health certificate for this option.
I hope this answers a lot of the questions you may have. Jot down any other questions so we can discuss when we talk.