I was a victim of a scam. I feel like I should have known better but alas, my rose colored glasses were firmly on my face. I’m not a total fool despite the fact that I have been fooled about dog bandanas and a job. It’s just that I have faith in people; even though, sometimes I shouldn’t.
My daughter is a really good daughter and therefore, she tends to get what she wants. What she wants is usually pretty reasonable but sometimes, it’s literally life changing. Like the time we agreed to let her have her “dream dog.” A Saint Bernard! There were a lot of reasons, (maybe some ill-advised) that we agreed to let Lizzie have a Saint Bernard but, either way, I was super excited about it.
The hunt is on!
I immediately started looking at all the rescues as Lizzie asked me constantly if I had found her a dog yet. I was aware that we could buy a puppy. I mean, if we had an extra $1000 or so sitting around, I could. But, I am a rescuer at heart so I really wanted to find a dog who needed us. But, it turned out not to be that simple.
Some Saints were too far away. One rescue rejected us because two years ago, my pets were late on vaccines. An owner changed her mind. It was turning out to be harder than I expected. We did have a home visit with one adorably humongous girl but she turned out to not be as cat friendly as they thought.
So when I was contacted by someone who said she had three puppies available, I was less interested in my “adopt don’t shop” mentality and more interested in getting a dang dog. When she said that the puppies were 600, I rationalized that as a steal since the cheapest I had seen so far was $1200.
What followed was a series of bad and somewhat naive decisions.
I tried to do my due diligence. I reverse checked her phone number. I googled image searched the pictures. I even paid for a background check., After stalking her facebook for a bit, I felt confident that we were all good so after convincing Brian and having Lizzie pick her favorite, I sent her $300.
I asked what would happen now. She said that she would reach out from time to time and they would be ready in 4 weeks.
Every day crawled. I was super excited and Lizzie was equally so. We talked about him all the time and made all the plans. A friend who saw the red flags before I was ready to acknowledge them encouraged me to ask questions. (Other friends reminded me to be careful.) So I asked questions.
What food do you feed them? Diamond.
Are they rough or smooth coat? Neither, just kind of curly.
If you know saints than you know that not knowing the coat type was the reddest flag of all but I stubbornly still believed because what choice did I have? She already had my money and I already loved the puppy.
Then there was silence.
The big weekend approached and I tried to pin down a time but got nothing. Just when I had accepted that it was a scam, she messaged apologizing profusely. She explained that a family member had died of covid. This was completely believable given that it was pandemic time. I rejoiced that it was back on. Why bother to reach out if it was a scam? She already had my money! It must be legit!
We agreed on a day but when the day came and I reached out for the address, I got radio silence again. I messaged a few more times and got nothing. My last message was me acknowledging it was a spam and on the off chance that it wasn’t, she needed to respond.
Later that night, she texted. She was so very sorry. She promised it wasn’t a scam. A family member had died of covid. (Again??). She felt terrible, could she bring me the puppy tomorrow? I was still skeptical but since she wouldn’t get any more money if she didn’t bring a puppy, I had nothing else to lose. Obviously, I wasn’t going to give her my address so we agreed to meet at Walmart the next day.
This is it…maybe.
I arrived at Walmart with Lizzie and Antwan. My friend, Paige, came to wait with me, mostly to make sure nothing crazy happened. Although, she didn’t say that at the time.
An hour passed. I messaged. She apologized and said she was delayed but was about to leave and would be there in 25 minutes. After an hour, we finally were emotionally ready to leave. I sent her a message, saying I was leaving. After I was halfway home, she responded, saying her phone died and she could just come to me. She even sent me a picture of the puppy with his mom. In hindsight, it is extremely obvious that this is not the same mama dog.
I told her we would meet at Winn Dixie. I went home, dropped the kids and got my husband who was understandably frustrated at going because it was so clearly a scam. But I just wasn’t ready. (While he may have been weary of the saga, he was also ready to hug his weepy wife.)
After sitting there for 30 minutes past the time that she said she would be there and of course, not getting any responses, we went home.
I just couldn’t understand what she had to gain since she already had my money. But, I guess she wanted my pride. And she got it. I felt like an idiot and had a heart-broken daughter. I guess the fun at that point was simply to jerk us around,
The next day, I put all my energy into finding a Saint Bernard. I searched and searched. I even put myself on a waiting list for puppies that were being born and would cost 1500. I was determined. Naive but determined.
Then the next day, I get a message. A Saint who I had been passed over for was available again and would I be interested?
A six-month pure-bred Saint Bernard who would come with supplies and a crate. The rehoming fee was $200 and he was 5 hours away.
The next weekend, Lizzie, Brian and I took a trip to West Florida and picked up Lizzie’s new big puppy which quickly became my new big puppy. Cause she’s a kid and you know how that goes.
There was a lot of pain and heartache before Moose but in the end, I didn’t buy a puppy. I got to adopt like I wanted. Lizzie got her Saint Bernard like she wanted. Rimuru got a new best friend/brother. And alI learned that Saints really are insanely stubborn.
Edit to add: Even though, I referred to the scammer as a “she,” really who knows. I didn’t know, at the time, that scammers steal other people’s numbers. I didn’t know that the seemingly nice lady on Facebook was probably the victim of the scam, too.