Anyone who follows Miley Cyrus on Twitter or Instagram knows the singer adores her dogs. In fact, the recent death of one of them, an Alaskan Klee Kai named Floyd, broke the young celebrity’s heart so much that a bulk of her social media posts were dedicated to him. (Floyd was also memorialized with a concert tribute, a shrine, and most recently, a tattoo.)
When the singer announced she brought home a Shetland Sheepdog puppy named Emu, we were thrilled to learn she had taken all the right steps to find a responsible breeder. Likewise, the breeder, Renee Wiseman of Las Vegas, Nevada, scrutinized Miley the same way she would any potential dog owner. Here, Wiseman explains her vetting process and why she decided one of her puppies would be happy and safe in the Cyrus home.
How were you approached about selling a puppy to Miley, and what questions were asked?
I was contacted by Miley’s trainer, who introduced herself as someone looking for a dog for "a client." For quite some time during that call, I had no idea who I was dealing with as I was questioned about the way my dogs were raised, the temperament of the parents, and the personalities of the various puppies. The trainer wanted a Sheltie puppy whose personality met certain criteria so that he could merge seamlessly with the other dogs Miley already had. The dog also had to cope with a life that would be a bit more flashy than most, and could deal with quite a bit of travel and meeting strangers. She also wanted to make sure the dog was well socialized and even tempered. She had very precise ideas of what she wanted in a dog, which set me at ease. The trainer knew her stuff and knew how to lay it out for me.
I also had some questions of my own: what training methods she used, how the dog would live, and where he would live and sleep in relation to his new owner. I did not want wealthy client who would buy the dog but then leave it in a kennel only to see it every other Sunday due to a busy work schedule. I want my puppies to have a family. It is very important that Shelties have someone they can bond with.
When did you learn who “the client” was and how did that affect your decision?
I finally asked, and when the trainer told me, I laughed and nearly hung up thinking it a joke. She finally convinced me, however, and I emailed her the application just as I would for any other potential owner.
Meanwhile, I Googled her to see what her pet history was. Truth be told I do not pay much attention to the tabloids so did not even know she had suffered a loss recently. I do this with all my clients, though; if they have ever hit the news for cruelty or neglect, it comes up in a heartbeat. In this case, it did bring up certain questions, which I posed and were answered to my satisfaction.
The Cyruses are Sheltie people—one of the references (that yes, I did check) came from a fellow exhibitor-breeder in Cali who I personally know and who are highly respected and sold the family a Sheltie some time back. This breeder had met the family and spoke highly of them as pet owners.
So in the end, I decided Miley had all the resources in the world and would love my pup for all his days.
How did Miley choose Emu out of the litter?
Over the next several weeks as the puppies grew, I posted videos on YouTube. Miley would watch those with her trainer, and that helped them to choose their favorites out of the litter. We finally agreed on one of the largest of the litter because of his even temperament and happy-go-lucky nature. He was the type of pup who would trot up to anyone like he'd known them all his life—perfect for life in a house with lots of strangers in and out, but he was also not overly energetic, so he'd make a good tour-bus dog as well.
When did Emu go home to her new mom?
Emu turned 8 weeks in early May, just when Miley left for Europe for her tour, so Emu stayed with me longer than most in my litter. That was at Miley's request, which I loved. She didn't want to jar him with the back and forth of going to a new home and then her leaving for almost two months, and did not press me to let her take him early either. That is truly the mark of a great owner. Miley was looking after Emu’s needs first! Emu stayed with me until I delivered him home at the end of June after Miley's tour wrapped up. Originally, Miley planned to come to Vegas and see me, but her schedule changed and she invited us out to meet her in LA instead. We got to meet their family and their other dogs, which were all well trained, well groomed, and very happy. Meeting them and getting to know her and her family in person set me completely at ease with the transaction, and I was happy to leave Emu with her.
See photos of Cyrus and her dog here:
Top photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP