Monday, March 1, 2010

Responsible Breeder: Lucky Dog

Yesterday I spent a few hours with some dog loving friends at the Silver Bay Kennel Club Dog Show at the Del Mar Fair Grounds. Some people who are deeply committed to dog rescue are not comfortable around dog shows, but I am not among their number. In fact, it seems to me, that as the plight of homeless dogs becomes ever more apparent, the gulf between "Rescue People" and "Show People" is narrowing every so slowly. I found that I could talk rescue with any number of the breeders I met. Some of them are actively involved in breed rescue programs.

As I have previously mentioned, a responsible breeder takes what can only be called a parental interest in all the puppies that they breed and sell. I wish I could say all show breeders rise to this standard. All too many do not. But it is an inspiration to discover one who does. I met just such a breeder yesterday.

As my friends and I were walking by grooming tables, a Bichon breeder told me the tale of the dog she was grooming.

Five years ago, she had sold him as a puppy to a woman she had every reason to believe would be a careful and loving guardian of a dog who requires regular grooming and is temperamentally suited to being a close and amusing companion of their "person".

To her horror, just a few months ago, she discovered that the Bichon puppy she had sold was being kept outdoors in a filthy cage. I will let your imagination fill in the blanks. Not surprisingly, the little dog was suffering from numerous parasites and infections.

"Of course," she told me, "I had to get my dog back."

She did.

As I stood listening to her, this dog--now clean, groomed and returning to robust health--responded to my pats, nuzzling against me, displaying all the affection for which his breed is famous.

I once more marveled at the resiliency of dogs. Had his breeder not told me his sad history, I would never have guessed that the little dog who responded to my attention so positively had suffered so cruelly from human neglect.

This little fellow is now ready to be adopted into a new home. His adoption fee is $500.00: a fraction of the veterinary expenses incurred after his rescue. He will need a home where he is not routinely left alone for long hours. If you are interested in adopting an adorable, loving, well-bred Bichon and can provide such a home for him, email me:

portiasmom at live dot com

Or, if you wish to contact the breeder directly, she can be emailed at:

djansey at msn dot com

I want to thank my friends, Dayonne and Charlie for suggesting our excursion to Silver Bay. They are wonderful Dog People. Dayonne used to breed and show German Shepherd Dogs. They are proprietors of A Master's Touch Grooming, which offers both self serve and professional grooming for dogs and cats.

1 comment:

  1. You might say that my first rescue was my first show dog and started me on a lifelong love affair with dogs not to mention a life time career.

    I’m glad that Portia’s mom got to meet reputable breeders. Yes, there are reputable breeders, and I can’t stress enough for prospective pet owners to do their homework. Meet the breeders, visit with their dogs and their homes or kennels, ask questions.

    Before buying my first dog, I spent 6 months going to dog shows and talking to breeders of various breeds. However, I spent more time with German Shepherd Dog breeders because my aunt used to own GSDs and I always loved her dogs. It was a process of eliminating the breeders who weren’t interested in talking unless I was ready to buy. Others didn’t allow visitors to their homes or kennels. Some weeks it was very disappointing. Then I met a couple who took me under their wing and became my mentors. The first thing they told me was that they wouldn’t sell me a dog because I didn’t know enough and gave me a stack of books to read and ask questions. They quizzed me, too. I got to know them, their dogs and how they treated their dogs. By this time, I was past just owning a pet GSD, I was bitten by the show bug and joined the local dog club. I still didn’t own a dog, though!

    One day, I got a call from my mentor. He said, “Are you ready for a dog?” My heart stopped. Boy, am I ready! To this day, it brings tears to my eyes. “Here is the deal,” he said. “We just picked up a year old bitch from the K litter we sold 6 months ago to another breeder and show family (out of the area). We hadn’t heard anything from them or seen the bitch at shows so we took a trip to visit. What we found wasn’t acceptable and we refunded their money. The owners said that the dog wouldn’t eat, was snappy with their son and basically was a terrible dog so they just kept her in a small kennel run and would breed her.” Phil was in tears on the phone telling me about the condition of this dog. He continued, “Come up and take a look and if it didn’t work out and she was like they said, he would euthanize her.” He didn’t want any biting dogs with his name attached. I was to get her back into shape and show her. The price I was to pay was one puppy if he thought she was worth breeding.

    My son was 4 and I knew other dogs in that litter and they were great with him. However, I really wasn’t prepared for what awaited me. She looked nothing like her litter mates. Every rib and vertebrae were visible; her coat was barely a coat. She was so thin that her ears looked huge…more like a jackass. At one year of age, she weighed 50 lbs and should have weighed 75 to 80. My mentors said she was eating anything and everything in site and they had only had her for a few hours. She smelled of urine and feces, had cement burns on elbows and hocks. But, my mentors were concerned about my son and the biting claim. So was I to say the least. Not to worry. She sniffed him and started licking his hand. I put her in the backseat, she laid her head in my son’s lap and we went home. Three hours later, son and I were soaked and had a filthy bathroom but our new girl was clean! That was my introduction to grooming.

    It took months to get her in shape feeding 3 to 4 meals a day, going to doggie classes once a week and several walks a day. At the time I lived in ground floor apartment. I also started babysitting a friend’s young son. She took to the little kids as if they were her personal property and wasn’t keen on folks getting between her and her kids. She wasn’t mean about it but she would give strangers the ‘look.’ She did have issues with older boys around age 10 to 12 because of the former owner’s son. Within a year, I purchased my mentor’s home and kennel as they were semi-retiring and several dogs came with the deal.

    But my first rescue was the love of my life, and my son’s best friend, for the next 13 years.