Philadelphia Prohibits Sale of Unsterilized Dogs, Cats

Philadelphia Prohibits Sale of Unsterilized Dogs, Cats.

Don’t really know how laws like this will affect hobby breeders, but we need to pay attention. Especially worrisome given recent evidence that pediatric neutering may have adverse affects on hips, knees and temperaments. We need to continue to improve how we work, so decisions like this are not just thrust upon us by those who would vilify all dog breeders.

 


Just A Pet

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A Gaggle of Pets


JUST A PET…

We’ve all said it.  We don’t mean it to be denigrating but, let’s be honest, it rarely carries a glowing connotation. What’s that about and how does it impact our effectiveness at keeping breeding in the hands of responsible breeders

I recently read an article by Patricia McConnell, PHD entitled “ Pet Peeves – Let’s Hear it for the Family Dog” ( Bark magazine March/April 2007) in which she explores society’s ambivalence about the value of the family pet. She noted that definitions of the word pet include “spoiled”, “fondled” and “indulged”. She added that it is often used disparagingly i.e. “teacher’s pet”. Interestingly, she speculated that our discomfort comes in large measure from the emotions that pets evoke in us. Ms. McConnell comments:

“Dogs make us vulnerable, pure and simple. That’s fine with some of us, but it may make others uncomfortable and motivate them to downplay the importance of the family dog. Thus, it’s at least understandable that the value of companion dogs is often demeaned by society in general. However, it’s people in the dog fancy itself who surprise me -…”

I have some thoughts ( you knew I would!) about the squeamish relationship the dog fancy has to the whole “pet” thing.

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My Dog’s a Local Dog!

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Bad T-shirt

These T-shirts ( above), for sale on an extremist animal rights website are what got me started writing this blog. I finally took offense. I felt there had to be a better way, a more productive way to tackle the problems the domestic dog faces. I knew ethical breeders were actually a valuable part of the solution – not the cause.

So, I designed the T-shirt (below) as an alternative. As an embodiment of an idea. This is really just a mock-up. The T-shirt doesn’t exist ( yet!), the website on the back doesn’t exist ( yet!) nor does the ability to become certified ( yet!). I think this model is due for some exploration, though. The time is nigh…

Good T-shirts!

The Power of Face to Face

Had a wonderful time at a small, specialty conformation show this weekend. Enjoyed reconnecting with my “tribe” of breeders, exchanging news, ribbing each other, bantering about our dogs, our hormonal states, our children and what wormer seemed to work best with that last litter of puppies. In the familiar bustle of preparation ( hurry up and wait!),  the laughter and the borrowing of shears and spray bottles, it was easy to overlook the newcomers hovering by themselves ringside and tentatively wandering through our set up areas. Occasionally, some – braver than others – would come up and introduce themselves and ask about puppies or club information. Most watched quietly from the wings and finally wandered off back to the agility rings or their cars.

In retrospect, I realize we, both as a club and as individual breeders, missed an opportunity to connect with interested potential puppy buyers, those new to our breed  and those just curious about the games breeders play. There they were – standing there – wide open to an invitation to join our “tribe” or at a minimum to feel less alienated from breeders as a group ( our image could surely use a face lift).

And we blew it – we let an opportunity  to educate, inform and connect pass by.

An opportunity for the public to meet local, ethical, reputable breeders face to face.

An opportunity for the public to actually pet the breeding stock they might then choose to get their next puppy  from.

It’s these kinds of opportunities that brokers and puppy mills don’t have. This is where our strength lies. This, our local presence, is what we need to capitalize on if we are going to try to help keep pet breeding out of disreputable hands. And dogs out of shelters.

So, given how busy we are at shows, how much we enjoy catching up with each other, how distracted by the competition and the camaraderie we are – is there a way we can do a better job of not leaving the public feeling like outsiders at our events?  Continue reading

What, No Puppies?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just added the text below to the “Available Puppies” page on my web site because I won’t have pups till the Fall. Potential puppy “people” clicking on our available pages are really seriously looking. They need their next step to be a click away – preferably in the right direction! I added the URL’s directly for the breeder’s directories ( not the home page) of clubs I am associated with, so clients don’t get frustrated wading through the club news and event calendars that we often feature most prominently. I don’t want to lose them back to Google and a broker…  Continue reading

Rescue and the Spigot

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Just want to say this now, before we get too far into this discussion – I am not a purebred, bought from a breeder snob. I have spent my whole professional life working with the owners of all sorts of dogs and although I happen to be smitten with the  purebreds I breed, I do not believe (other than some level of predictability) they make any better or worse pets than crossbred dogs. I am not, by any stretch, anti rescue. I think homeless animals need to be rescued, but I do not think rescue efforts alone can turn off the spigot that keeps filling shelters.

As dedicated, ethical breeders, I do believe that we can help to reduce the flow on that spigot, by carefully placing dogs, offering support and providing a safety net for the dogs that we breed. Most of us already do a pretty good job of that, but I think we can do it even better. We have a responsibility to do so. It’s like rescue from the other end – prevention.

I don’t have the answers, just some ideas that I know will take quite a bit of fleshing out and tweaking before we know if they are even implementable. More next time…

IN your backyard breeders. Huh?

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http://goldenretriever.newyorkpuppiesforsale.com/

Massachusetts Puppies For Sale.com

 

Discovered these sites last week. Seems that they exist in most states for most breeds. Take a few minutes to poke around on this site and it will be obvious to an experienced breeder that this is a puppy broker and that although the insinuation is that these pups are locally bred, they do ( to their credit, I suppose) state that the pups come from an “exclusive national network of the finest” breeders and not necessarily from the state headlined.

They position themselves as knowledgeable, ethical breeders right in your backyard, but, although its easy to list Codes of Ethics, anti-puppy mill rhetoric and generally talk the talk, there is one thing they can’t do and that is to be, quite literally right in the client’s neighborhood. Visit-able, able to lend a hand, answer calls with crate training questions, eager recipients of cute photos and stories ( who else cares like Grandparents!). Providing family raised puppies, sold DIRECTLY to their new owners ( no middle men need apply).

Hmmm…knowledgeable, ethical breeders right in one’s backyard….that’s something we know something about. We just might have to redefine what the term “backyard breeder” means! Maybe we are the real “IN your backyard” breeders. Seems I know a bunch of breeders who could fill that niche for real!  Continue reading

Re-imagining the role of the contemporary dog breeder

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Ok. This is my first ever entry in my first ever blog. Bear with me if it takes a while for me to figure out a) how to navigate the blogosphere and b) if I have anything of value to write about.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, in the past few years, about how hobby breeders ( of which I am one) can have more of a role in addressing the problems that threaten the domestic pet dog. It seems to me that in spite of all the energy, time, money and commitment the majority of us put into doing this breeding thing “the right way”, the perception the public has of us continues to erode. We are increasingly being painted with the same brush as puppy mills and the likes of Michael Vick. We are alternately puppy factories and dog show snobs. I had seen t-shirts declaring that “mean people breed dogs”and “screw dog breeders”, but when I stumbled across a ” Save a shelter dog, euthanize a breeder” bumper sticker, I knew I needed to act ( or at least write!)  Continue reading