Today I saw a man milling around the kennel, and I asked him if he needed help. He said that he needed to get the registration papers for two dogs he had purchased from the store.
This happens a lot. People absolutely have to have their purebred dogs, they make a big fuss about them being purebred and having to have those magical "papers," and then they never even come pick the damn things up. We have thousands, literally thousands of unclaimed registration papers.
I asked him how long ago it had been since he purchased the dogs, and he said one was purchased last year, and one was purchased four years ago. I winced at hearing "four years," because that means the manager who handles such things would probably have to climb a mountain of boxes of paperwork and sift through hundreds to find the right one.
And then he said something about having lost them the first time.
Okay, that changes everything. We only ever get one copy of registration papers. If you lose that, you're up the creek. We don't have any others. No spares, no secondsies. I asked him what registry his dogs needed papers for. The ACA. Of course. I tell him he probably needs to contact the ACA for copies. He says he did that, and the ACA told him that we had to contact them, since the dogs are currently registered to us.
No no no no no. Not sure where THAT information came from, but the puppies are never at any time registered to us through the ACA. Maybe that's how other stores do it. Not how we do things. I tell him this. I tell him the papers always come to us with the dogs still registered to the breeder, never to us. So if the ACA is telling him to contact the person to whom the dog is currently registered, he'd need to track down the breeder.
He stared at me blankly. "How'm I supposed to do that?" Well I have no idea. You're the one that needs the papers. There is such a thing as the internet. You might try the ACA again and see if they have an address for the breeder or something. How the hell should I know? I didn't lose my dog's papers. I've never been in the situation before. Finally realizing that we really couldn't help him any more, he thanked me dejectedly and left.
I didn't know it at the time, but this guy is the husband of a lady who made herself so notorious with the staff for being downright nasty that the language used to describe her I will not repeat here, despite the adult content warning. This started way earlier in the spring when this lady called saying she needed registration papers for her two Boxers, male and female, and she needed them like YESTERDAY. Because they couldn't register the puppies until they got the parents registered. Yes, that's right. They bred two unregistered dogs and not only that, but they waited until the puppies were on the ground to start worrying about it. Then they wanted it to happen instantly. According to the two managers who dealt with this lady, she blamed us for all her problems, despite the fact that they lost the original copies of the registration forms that we gave them. She would not hear that we can't do anything for her, and she made it into something personal with whoever answered the phone, even if they were just a part-time college kid who only worked ten hours a week. All this, after they had signed their names to our warranty which clearly states that our puppies are NOT breeding or show quality, are not guaranteed for either purpose, and should not be used for breeding. If you are looking for a dog for breeding purposes, do NOT buy a dog from our store. (Exact wording.)
I doubt they still have the puppies just because they couldn't get them registered. I have no idea what they told the people who bought them. The fact that they're still trying five months later suggests to me that they probably promised they could get them.
There are other reasons why a purebred dog might not have papers. Lots of times people breed dogs without knowing anything about how the registries work. They'll breed an AKC registered dog to a dog from another registry, thereby ensuring that neither registry will recognize the puppies as purebred. It can be done, but most of the time these people want to register the puppies with the AKC and the AKC is kind of uptight about those things. I think the ACA would register a donkey as a Labrador even if you sent them a picture of it.
Sometimes people completely ignore the breeder's wishes, and the little Limited Registration box checked on their dog's papers, and breed them anyway. Limited Registration, with the AKC, means that the dog can compete in AKC events but cannot be bred. The AKC will not register puppies bred from a dog with limited registration. I'm not sure what those people think when they do this. Maybe hoping that the AKC forgot or something.
Really, I'm not sure what all the fuss about papers is anyway. The papers are not really proof of anything. You can get an AKC registered mix. It's very possible. I know of a lady who bought a "rare long-haired Pug" from someone. This breeder had a male and a female Pug, and also a male Pekingese. Her "rare long-haired Pug" looked exactly like a Pekingese. But it was an AKC registered Pug. I'm not even entirely sure that this breeder did this on purpose to cheat anyone. Perhaps the breeder didn't know that litters of puppies can have more than one father, and thought that after her male Pug mated her with female Pug, that was the end of that. For all I know, half of that litter really were purebred Pugs. Not that one, though. That one looked so much like a Pekingese that I thought it was a purebred Pekingese when I first saw it.
So what do the papers mean, then? Not a whole lot, unless you're planning on showing or breeding your dog. If you aren't, then don't worry about it. Just enjoy your dog.