Directing the process of Ginger’s breeding and assisting in the whelping and rearing of her puppies has been an eye-opener for us. We’ve learned a lot about dogs, breeding, puppies and, of course, POOP!
We were a little bit surprised when a couple of our customers voiced opposition to our decision to breed. We listened to their concerns and gave considerable thought to the issues they brought up. After some research and a good deal of soul searching, this is what we came up with.
Everyone who cares about dogs knows what a tragedy it is that so many litters are born without the opportunity to receive proper care and a loving home. Regardless of our opinion with regards to breeding, we all want every puppy and every dog to have a good, loving and safe home.
We all know that each year countless litters are whelped under poor circumstances. The media has shown us heartbreaking stories about puppy mills and other situations that often involve large numbers of animals being caged and kept under intolerable conditions. Here at Woofers we’ve been involved in several of these cases. Last spring we bathed and groomed over twenty dogs that were lucky enough to be rescued from a horrible situation. We sincerely hope that each of these dogs found a good, safe, loving home.
As we worked with these poor dogs we could see that several of them had developed some serious behavioral issues as a result of their experiences. We wondered what kind of home they would find, and worked with several of our customers to help place these unfortunate animals. I remember one of them quite well. He was a young male mixed breed. He was terrified of people and snarled at anyone who approached him. It took us the better part of a day just to get him safely groomed without injuries to the dog or the groomer. We can only hope that he found an owner who was patient, gentle and knowledgeable enough to deal with this dog’s fear and aggression.
Not everyone is prepared to deal with these kinds of problems. A home with children, for example, would have been a poor choice for this particular dog. The possibility that he would bite a child and wind up in a shelter (or worse) was just too strong. Other issues that potential rescue/guardians face are the health problems that some of these dogs come with. Potential rescuers need to consider the possibility of these problems appearing and they need to make the moral and financial commitment to deal with possible health problems as they arise. A potential adoptive family is not doing a dog a favor by adopting him, only to find that they can’t afford to give the animal proper care. We’ve seen enough examples of owners giving up on dogs that they “rescued” when they discovered that they couldn’t afford to give the animal the care that they required.
In spite of all this gloomy stuff, there are still thousands of dogs that are adopted or rescued into great homes where they receive the love and care that they need to thrive. We pride ourselves in taking part in the matchmaking process whenever possible.
We are acutely aware that there are people who oppose all breeding of dogs. Their rationale seems to be, “there are too many dogs already, everyone who wants a dog should adopt or rescue”. Our experience is that not everyone is cut out to adopt or rescue a dog.
Since we are involved in dog breeding ourselves, this may seem to be a self serving attitude. The fact remains that all dogs have to come from someplace. If there were no responsible breeders, then all puppies would come from unwanted or accidental litters that never receive the care a responsible breeder provides. Responsible breeders also insure the health of the dogs that they breed. They test the dogs for diseases, parasites and other health issues that could affect the life and health of puppies.
As I write this, Ginger’s puppies are just over 5 weeks old. Lyn has been home with the puppies every day since they were born. She and our daughter Kailin slept next to the whelping box for the first week of the pup’s lives. Lyn & Kailin spend hours every day socializing puppies, allowing them to become accustomed to people, other dogs, sounds, smells, different floor surfaces, inside and outside. They also spend several hours every single day feeding, bathing, and cleaning all the poop and pee that 8 well fed puppies can produce. I could go on and on about the amount of work that goes into producing healthy, well adjusted puppies, but I think you get the idea.
I don’t want to discourage anyone from adopting or rescuing a dog! We all know the need is there. If you are prepared to care for an adopted or rescued dog I applaud your decision to adopt. I’ve done it myself. The thing we need to remember is that just as all people are different, so are dogs. They are individuals with individual needs. We need to be realistic about our ability to care for any dog that we take in. We also know that not everyone is suited to raising a puppy. This is why every person who is interested in one of our dogs is required to complete a “Puppy Application” to help us determine if they are a good match for one of our pups.
Here at Woofers we see literally hundreds of dogs every week. We see every breed and mix that you can imagine (and a few you probably can’t imagine!) These animals come from responsible breeders, backyard breeders, puppy-mills, pet stores and shelters. The dogs that are the healthiest, most well adjusted and happy animals are those who live in safe, loving homes where they receive whatever care they need to thrive. The determining factors are NOT where they came from, but whether or not their human guardians were willing to do whatever is necessary to provide for their needs.
It occurs to me that the stigma currently attached to the breeding of dogs is unfair to responsible breeders. Whatever your position is on dog-breeding I’m sure we can agree that the goal is to prevent dogs from suffering. We can all help to prevent dogs from suffering by discouraging irresponsible breeding. Another thing we can do is to encourage and support the adoption of homeless dogs by suitable guardians. We maintain a bulletin board that we call our “Adoption Board”. If you happen to know someone who is thinking of adopting a dog please don’t hesitate to give us a call or drop by and check the Adoption Board. We would be glad to help in any way we can with the matchmaking.