Local is Best – In Dog Rescue, Too

Although, I am often wont to look askance at the doings of HSUS, this press release, “Dirty Dozen” Puppy Mill Posing as Dog Rescue Groupcaught my eye. I checked into it a bit further.

It appears even dog rescue should be a local process – either visiting your local shelter or working directly with a local rescue group . Looks like both internet breeders AND internet rescue are best  avoided.

It seems that this puppy mill

Frenchie Puppy Mill...

also operates this “rescue” where $500 to $900 will let you “rescue” what appear to be older, maybe no longer useful/saleable mill dogs. “Donations” are also encouraged ( Hmmm, why did I never think of that?!!). These sites are very convincing. They “talk the talk”.

...posing as a rescue organization

I have no doubt these poor animals deserve to be rescued, but ideally not in a way that supports the very system they came from. Those of us that choose to adopt must be aware that rescue has become ” the new black” ( as I recently heard someone say). There are those that will take advantage of the good-hearted souls who offer help to homeless animals.

As with any charitable organization, it’s worth checking into credentials before getting involved with any rescue group. Careful screening and selection is as important in rescue as it is in chosing a breeder. No one wants to perpetuate, however inadvertently, the mill system of dog breeding.

We breeders can do our bit by keeping a current list of local rescue organizations on hand for clients that express interest. Potential adopters then have a better chance of connecting with groups they can develop a relationship with. All good stuff that increases the chances a rescued dog will be a good, permanent fit!



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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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

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