I worked happily in a stressful job with a long commute for many years until they announced redundancies. Having been there so long I was due a reasonable sum of money and so it gave me the chance to really think about what I want to do.
I have wanted a puppy for years, not just any puppy a Salt and Pepper Miniature Schnauzer, and this was my chance. When my Mum died 5 years ago I really struggled to get back in to the swing of things at work and my lovely boss Michael tried so hard to make me happy again, we had many chats about what I wanted and all I could come up with was that I wanted to work closer to home and get a puppy! He wasn't prepared to let me go and so I kept on the Hamster wheel but now, with redundancy looming, I was going to be paid to do what I wanted. Not actually sure I would have done it otherwise but this is a golden opportunity. Decision made, I would get my puppy and, once he was settled in, try to get a job close to home so that I can get home at lunch time for him. That makes it sound like it was an instant decision, it wasn't, it took me months with much soul searching. I know a dog is for life and not just for Christmas and I want to do it properly - Find a good breeder, a vet I am happy with, an excellent training school. I want a well balanced dog who is a joy to have around. Spending time with him and training should help me to achieve that - fingers very firmly crossed!
I then started researching breeders with the help of the Schnauzer Club, Kennel Club and the Schnauzer Forum. I knew that I wanted to avoid Puppy Farmers at all costs and it seemed like a minefield so I wasn't keen on trying other websites such as pet's for homes where there doesn't seem to be any control over who is posting.
With my redundancy imminent I rang a few breeders and my first problem was finding a dog (I wanted a boy rather than a girl) and the second problem was finding one in the right colour. Back I went to the Schnauzer Forum for help. I got a few messages with offers of help including one breeder who had a litter and suggested I give them a call.
I spent a long time on the phone talking about the litter (5 boys, all Salt & Pepper) and found out that they breed one litter per year and they also show their dogs. We both seemed happy with each other so it was agreed that I could go and visit the litter the following saturday when they would be just over six weeks old. She made it clear that until she had met me and seen how I was with the puppies and how well prepared I was she wouldn't decide if I was to be allowed to buy one of her litter - no pressure then!