Responsible Breeding

I am a dog breeder.

This is a post that’s been going around Facebook a lot:

I am a dog breeder. I spend a lifetime learning pedigrees, going over dogs, talking and learning from those in my breed and those outside it. I raise each litter as if I gave birth to them and spend an equal amount of time finding them loving forever homes. I only put puppies on this planet that I think will be the healthiest (mentally and physically) and nicest examples of their breed. 
I support each family who chooses one of my puppies and let them know they are now a part of our extended family. I am there if one needs to come back and will aggressively pursue the return of one of my dogs if its in the wrong place. I support my breed in rescue and education. I hold them when they arrive and leave this world, not only my own, but my brethren in the fancy. I share my knowledge and socialize my dogs so that they will be the advertisement for my dedication.

I don’t keep track of the money and time I put in to my love of dogs, it would not be true measure of how I feel. I support my friends in the fancy, because it takes a village sometimes and only WE know how things are for us.

The price I charge for my puppies is never profit, but investment in the next generation. I will not be ashamed of who I am, I work hard at being a good dog person and encouraging others to be the same. I am a breeder and I am proud of it.

If we don’t support each other – we are doomed as a fancy. 

Here’s the truth, and I think this is the case for most of us:

I am a dog breeder. I spend a lifetime learning pedigrees, going over dogs, asking others to tell me that my dogs are crappy and desperately hoping they’ll tell me the opposite, trying to find judges who don’t mind the particular ways my dogs aren’t that great, agonizing over the fact that I’ll never have anything really spectacular and don’t have the money to special it if I did.

I raise each litter in exactly the opposite way I would if I gave birth to them, because ouch, and also because the people I DID give birth to hear nothing but “I cannot deal with you right now; I need to concentrate on the puppies.”

I breed puppies that are as mentally and physically healthy as I can get, except that my breed isn’t all that healthy. And I’ll forgive some temperament quirks for a really typey dog. And they’re not really as healthy as I can get, because I’m not dealing with Sandra L., no matter how long her stupid dogs live. OK, I guess I’m breeding puppies that I hope like heck will be happy, and at least better than average.

I support each family that buys one of my puppies, though the truth is that I’m supporting the puppy, not the family. If it becomes you versus the puppy, I’m going to bury you under a volleyball court and take the puppy home with me. If, like me, you realize that your puppy is the most important consideration in any issue, then you can come over for Thanksgiving as long as you don’t give the dogs turkey bones.

I give lip service to supporting my breed in education. Sometimes I go further than that, if I am a rare saint. But most of the time if the educational program at the Nationals interferes with the open bar time, the bar is going to win. And I’d like to educate Sandra L. right in the face, if you know what I mean. Man, she burns my boots.

I should socialize more than I do; I kind of lost track of that last litter and before I knew it they hated little kids.

I keep close enough track of the money that goes into the dogs that I can tell people to never, ever, ever breed dogs. I support my friends in the fancy as long as they’re my friends and as long as they’ve never said bad things about me. If they’re not my friends I will avoid speaking to them at all costs and if there’s an opportunity to steer a puppy person away from them I will. I once broke a major by “sleeping in” when Sandra L. was showing that puppy who only needed a major. I feel ashamed of that, but I also love every second of it.

The price I charge for my puppies is desperately needed and usually keeps a dog food check from bouncing. Because I have dogs, I am perpetually penniless and the vet owns a boat; because I have dogs, I had to buy acreage; because I have dogs, my car guzzles gas. So I give thanks to God for every puppy buyer who writes a check that covers the home equity loan I took out to pay the stud fee, and I thank God for every puppy buyer who lets me pay the vet back for the c-section, and I thank God for the puppy buyer who will pay for the cremation of the beloved ancient dog sitting on the couch in her last weeks, watching the puppies leave for new homes.

I am a breeder. That means the dogs win. No matter what happens. I have said more bad words about Sandra L. than I can remember, and I still hate her guts, but I just heard she has cancer and so I’m driving down tonight to take two of her dogs home with me and they’ll sleep on my bed while she’s in the hospital. The dogs win, so I’ll keep devaluing my house by installing an entire yard of concrete pavers. The dogs win, so I’ll skip the family vacation again this year so I can pay for two neuters and then give the dogs away. The dogs win, so they get organic chicken and are kept at perfect weight and conditioning and I eat far too many hot dogs because it’s all I can afford after paying for puppy K. The dogs win, so most people think I’m a little odd and I don’t seem to take very good care of myself, or care about my career too much.

I am a breeder, and there will be more dogs at my funeral than people. I hope.

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7 Comments

  • Reply Julie October 7, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Love it.

  • Reply Kim October 7, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I love you! and please, once again, kiss Puck for me!

  • Reply Raegan October 7, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    The dogs win. That’s it, right there. The dogs win.

  • Reply nancy and david itkin October 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    And you are a better person for being a breeder. The puppies and dogs are very lucky to have you. As are we.

  • Reply Krystal A October 23, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    This is amazing and hilarious. Amen to someone else’s dogs getting organic chicken and veggies while I throw together crap!

  • Reply Dany August 9, 2013 at 8:20 am

    I always enjoy your blog posts… thank you for taking the time to write them. One question though, who’s Sandra L?

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