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Growing up on a farm, Adrienne Hales developed a love of raising animals at an early age.

Her passion turned to pets at the age of 8 when she began breeding Teddy Bear Hamsters for her friends. Her dedication to detail included designing their playgrounds and building them with paper towel rolls.

At age 12, she “sized up” and began producing Angora Rabbits, even collecting their wool.

But she always dreamed of breeding purebred dogs and after college and marriage, she seriously pursued the goal with one major obstacle: Her husband was allergic to dogs.

Research followed, and it was not always easy. She searched online and talked to her veterinarian before deciding on Bichon Frise and Havanese.

“Sure enough, they are a perfect fit for my family,” Hales said.

Today, Hales has a breeding program for both Bichons and Havanese and helps other families decide if the spunky little dogs are good fits for their households.

Recently, Hales had a call from a potential buyer who knew a lot about her breeds and asked very informed questions. That buyer, who took home a Havanese puppy, told Hales that she was a client of the AKC PuppyVisor program.

The program, launched in 2019, assists new puppy buyers with selecting a breed that fits well with their lifestyle and finding responsible breeders who register their litters with AKC.

Hales, a California resident, has since been contacted by other buyers enrolled in PuppyVisor.

“I can tell when I am working with a client who has been referred to me by the PuppyVisor program because the client is already knowledgeable about my breeds. They know the right questions to ask. They are educated on the importance of health testing and training, and they are confident about working with me as a breeder,” Hales said. “The PuppyVisor program helps clients get started out on the right foot, and continues to be available for advice and support. I recommend this service for anyone looking for that ‘perfect breed’ and wanting the best experience possible!”

People searching for puppies can enroll in AKC PuppyVisor and receive a lifetime of help, from selecting a breed to finding a puppy to getting training advice.

They receive a toll-free number with seven-day-a-week access to the team of breed experts, who have more than 100 years of combined experience in purebred dogs. Their goal is to help find the best fit for the clients’ lifestyle and personality.

With more than 200 AKC recognized breeds, there is a right dog for everyone, but many people are only familiar with a few popular breeds. Their right dog might be one that they have never heard of – until a PuppyVisor advisor introduces them.

AKC Breeder of Merit Rachel Perkey shows and breeds Standard Poodles under the kennel prefix Anolani. She screens puppy buyers carefully to make sure they are a good match for the breed. Last year, she placed one of her puppies with a PuppyVisor client and says it seemed as though they had been pre-screened before contacting her.

“It is incredibly important for families to be as educated as possible on their breed and make sure the breed is a fit for their families and lifestyles,” Perkey said. “The PuppyVisor program not only helps families with finding the breed that is right for them, but it also helps them locate an ethical and accredited breeder.”

The help does not end once the client purchases a puppy. The advisors provide instructions on preparing for the new arrival, from what to purchase and have on hand, to prepping children and other pets for the addition.

Once the puppy gets home, and the owners have questions on housetraining, crate training and other basics, they can call on the AKC GoodDog! Helpline, a seven-day-a-week telephone training support service. They also receive access to the AKC Vetline where they can get answers to medical queries.

Susan Lee acquired one of Hales’ Havanese puppies in November and said her family can’t imagine life without Javier now.

“He’s playful, gentle, calm, and loving especially with children. He brightens everyone’s day, whether it’s family or people we meet in the street… All the research and conversations with PuppyVisor helped us find not just a pet but our next family member,” Lee said. “This assistance on locating, raising, and caring for our puppy was critical support during COVID when face to face was at times impossible.”

For more information on the service: https://marketplace.akc.org/advertise/puppyvisor

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