Some of my best friends are Smiths.

race_exhibitIn high school, I saw a play of the same name as the title of this post. I never forgot it. I later was judging a high school theater competition in Illinois when I saw this play again. The play deals with the illogical thinking that causes racism or judgmentalism in our world (the play is actually set in England) in a very simple way. I often use the title trying to explain the absurdity of judgmentalism. Some get it; some don’t.

Having only experienced life as a white person, I can’t begin to try to expound on the complexities of life as an individual of color, but I am a member of a community that has been harassed, had our rights stripped and found ourselves on the receiving end of some of the most vile and degrading lies and insults that you can imagine. That’s right; I am a BREEDER!

In fact, I am a damn fine Breeder, but that doesn’t matter to some people. To them, the mere fact that I cause additional life to be born I am an evil person because somewhere some dog unknown to me is supposedly going to die because the people who “buy” from me have made a choice to buy a purposely created dog rather than a dog of unknown origins with unknown problems. The absurdity of this argument is further laughable by the mere fact that the majority of these people also have produced children of their own while real-life children suffer through their childhoods without a family of their own. That is what I call hypocrisy.

These hypocrites also fail to note that the most recent study I have found puts “purebred” dogs in shelter make up about 5% of the shelters canine populations. 5%! Over the last 15 years I have kept track of dogs in my primary breed through Petfinder and our national breed clubs rescue organization (the only rescue in the nation for the breed). In those 15 years, the annual intake or dogs in the breed is an average of 0.8 animals a year. Let’s repeat that– the average number of dogs in my primary breed that end up in a shelter or rescue is LESS THAN A SINGLE DOG A YEAR! That number would be even lower, but several years ago, an aging breeder asked a girl at her veterinarian’s office if she knew anyone looking for part-time work because she needed a new “helper.” Well, that girl called her friend the local Animal Control officer and the AC bullied the woman into getting rid of the majority of her dogs, and the lady’s lawyer placed several in a shelter out-of-state. (I picked up those dogs from the shelter, and was able to blow the whistle on the injustice of what was happening by the excellent shape the older dogs were in. The lady eventually was able to get ALL of her dogs back, and the AC lost her job because of this and several other incidents like it). If I remove the dogs that were placed because of an out-of-control Animal Control Officer, the annual average drops to 0.2 animals a year over the last 15 years, and none of those are dogs that I bred. So, how exactly am I killing innocent dogs? My other breed is very popular. It is a family favorite, so there are almost always puppies available anywhere in the country, so you would expect that shelters would be over-run with them, right? Well, there are so few that RESKEWS are actually importing dogs FROM OTHER COUNTRIES to supply the demand for dogs of this popular breed. So, again, how am I killing innocent dogs? It’s easy– I am not! We need to do away with blaming breeders for dogs in shelters. That onus should fall solely on the owner. We don’t automatically blame a 70 year-old mother because of the actions of her 50 year-old son, so why should a breeder be blamed for the actions of a buyer? They shouldn’t.

The truth is that there ARE bad breeders out there– people who do not take adequate care of their animals, who abuse or neglect them. The same is true, though, for every group of people on this planet! If a white cop illegally murders a person of color, does that make all white cops bad or evil? A black man who commits a crime against a white woman does not make ALL black men evil or criminal. You can no more blame a whole race of people for the actions of a few than you can blame all breeders for the actions of a few. It is insanity!

So, the next time you see these Animal Rights Terrorists picketing a breeder, or starting an on-line lynch mob based on little to no evidence, remember that the breeder may very well be one of your best friends– a SMITH.

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The haters say it is about the money…

US Currency is seen in this January 30, 2001 image. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

US Currency is seen in this January 30, 2001 image. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

But in my experience, the only people making any REAL money is everyone in the Pet Industry BUT the breeders, without the heartache!

This weekend, a very special little girl, Pippa, left my house to go live with a new family. Pippa is a pip, and is such a loving little girl that knows no stranger that when the decision was made that she would never be bred, I decided that I would make her available to be placed.

That decision was an easy one to make, theoretically, and after I turned down 3 families, I sort of half-heartedly mentioned her to one last person. This family was interested and we had several conversations, and they drove a couple of hours to my house to meet her. It was love at first sight for them. Theoretically, everything was perfect, but that theory doesn’t really speak the language of my heart. So, I had my partner take her to her new home on Saturday because I JUST COULDN’T. I was heartbroken. It was breaking my heart to say good-bye to this darling young girl and I had so many conflicting feelings it was tearing me up, but I knew she would be fine. She would go and never look back. It was me that would miss her, not the other way around, and sure enough, when I laid down to watch a movie Saturday night, and Pippa wasn’t here to hop up and nap curled up ON TOP of me, her absence was heavier than she ever was.

I didn’t place her for the money; in fact, the only money I took was a deposit that will be returned after her 2 year-old testing is done and recorded– no matter the results. I know that at least one result will be a “fail” because it was the reason she wasn’t going to be bred, but by posting all results, even the “fails” we can track familial lines and make educated decisions in our breeding programs. I request that all of my buyers do the testing, and offer them a refund of a portion of their purchase price (to cover the costs associated with the tests) so that we, as breeders, can track not just the dogs that are kept and shown and bred, but the litters as well.

Selling Pippa wasn’t about the money, and it wasn’t about me, but about her and the family she will bring years of joy to, even in my heart had to break to make that happen. Breeders aren’t selfish or greedy, we do it for the love of OUR dogs!

pip

Pippa– already Queen of the bed in her new home. I miss you, sweet girl!

Say What?

aphisThat’s what the government told us! The same government that had an open comment period for concerned citizens to offer their opinion on the proposed new APHIS regulations. They heard from every segment of the population and made exactly ZERO changes to their new proposed regulations, and then told us just to call them and describe our situation and they would tell us whether we fell under these regulations, Well, “Yeah, umm… NO! Do you really think I can trust you?”

Of course I can’t! The USDA has become overrun with Animal Rights Extremists and Terrorists, so if their mission is to outlaw animal usage by humans, do I really think they would apply logic, science or even a common sense approach to dog breeders?

One of the sticklers, for me, is the very lack of definition of “breeding females.” One would think, hope and expect that an agency of the Government would provide clear directives and definitions to the regulations they impose on those they are charged with regulating, but if they did that, it would be so much harder to catch unsuspecting, and well-meaning, individuals in those “gotcha” moments that could ruin the lives of its tax-paying citizens. (You know, those tax-paying citizens that pay their salaries.) BUT, they have zero definition of what a breeding female is. It could be any female of any species that is not surgically altered, but they won’t just say that. They tell you to call them and they will make a case-by-case decision. Say what?

I will use a real life example of a friend of mine: Say person Z is a dog breeder and has 20 dogs, 3 cats, 5 chickens, 2 Nigerian Dwarf goats and 3 horses. Now, of those 33 animals on Person Z’s farm, 22 are genetically female. This person would fall under APHIS if they ever place an animal sight unseen– even if they send a dog across the country to their cousin, their FAMILY!
Now, let’s take a closer look at those 24 females: 5 are hens. There is no rooster, so no breeding would be taken place, but technically they “could” be bred! 2 are ancient goat does! There is no buck, so no breeding would be taking place, but technically they “could” be bred! 2 are horses (mares) and of those 2, only 1 SHOULD or WOULD ever be bred. The other has too many health issues to even attempt to list, but she technically “could” be bred. 1 is a cat, and is spayed, so she can’t count as “breedable.” 14 are dogs (bitches). {Now, remember, this person is a hobby/ show breeder} Of those 14, A, B, and C are 12 years old or older and spayed because of pyometras and in their lifetimes they have combined to produce exactly 2 litters for a total of 3 puppies. D is 9 y.o. and has produced a total of 1 litter of 2 puppies in her lifetime. E is 9 y.o. and has never been bred and currently has T-cell lymphoma. F is 9 y.o. and has never been bred. G, H and I are 8 y.o. and have never been bred and didn’t pass a couple of their health clearances so wouldn’t be bred. J is 7 y.o. and didn’t pass a couple of her clearances and would never be bred. K is 6 y.o. and has passed EVERY health clearance and has been bred ONCE producing 4 puppies. L is 3 y.o. and had 1 litter producing 3 puppies. M is 2 y.o. and didn’t pass a couple of her health tests so she would not be bred. N is just coming 2 y.o. and has yet to finish her health tests. So, according to the term breedable, A, B, and C don’t count, but D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M and N do. That is more than 5, even though D, E, F, G, H, I, J and M haven’t been or wouldn’t be bred, leaving only K, L and N that as a hobby/ show breeder they would possibly breed. So, out of the 11 that are technically breedable, only 3 would possibly be. Add that to the possible breeding of 1 of the livestock animals (the healthy mare) this individual has, in any common-sense/ logical interpretation 4 breedable females.

But, what do you suppose the powers-that-be would say if this person picked up the phone and called the government and explained their situation? Does any logical person living in reality think the government would say, “Oh, don’t worry about APHIS, it doesn’t apply to you!” Of course NOT! They would demand to come onto the property and inspect and make their own determination. Question: When did Animal Ownership equate to invasion of privacy by the Government? What probable cause would they have to search and inspect such a person’s property? And if they can search theirs, what is to stop them from “inspecting” yours?

I can see the day in the not too far-off future.

lwdI love my dogs. I respect them. I enjoy them. The joy they brings others makes all of the hard work I undertake as a breeder worth it.

BUT. (isn’t there always a but?)

BUT, I have to be realistic. I fell in love with a rather obscure breed, an absolutely amazing breed, but a breed that isn’t exactly popular, so, there are only so many homes for the puppies that are produced, and what I have seen over the past 15 years in the breed is that most breeders don’t refer people to other breeders when a puppy-buyer comes a callin’.

The logic behind this action is that if they tell someone looking about another litter, they may not have a buyer when they decide to breed their next litter! I guess that makes “some” sense, but doesn’t getting ALL of the puppies produced placed in homes also help the entire breed? Of course it does. Well-bred puppies in pet homes help expose the breed to people who may never hear of it otherwise. It also helps breeders keep their numbers down by not being over-run with adolescent dogs.

For example, I currently have 3 puppies that are about to turn 4 months old. Through Facebook and correspondence with other breeders almost everyone in the breed knows I have a litter. I have put pictures of the puppies on-line and networked them the best I could, but I have received zero puppy buyers contact me. ZERO. 4 month old puppies and I have had ZERO inquiries. So, last week when their granddam came into season, the decision was made not to breed her. Now, before people get their panties in a bunch, the granddam is all of 6 years old and has had exactly ONE litter of puppies. She also, at 6, is patella clear (which is unheard of), hips rated GOOD (and hardly anybody does hips) BAER tested, Cardiac and Eye cleared by specialists. Her daughter from her first litter not only went Best of Opposite in Sweeps at the National, but finished as a puppy.

So, for every breeder that doesn’t refer, they have just narrowed the gene pool, because QUALITY and HEALTHY bitches that are an ASSET to an already small gene pool don’t get bred. People don’t find out about our breed because puppies don’t end up in great pet homes, where other people become exposed to the wonderful breed we love. So, while you are protecting your “sale” you are also helping to bring about the destruction of our breed. So, when you end up with no decent dogs to breed to, look in the mirror and thank yourself.

Namaste

When companies listen to mob rule; we all lose.

This week, after ignoroance ruled the feeds the airlines caved, and made another ridiculous “feel-good” regulation. They won’t accept the results of LEGAL big-game hunting on their airlines anymore. So, this is unacceptable for flight:

deadlion.jpg

But shipping underage puppies that are crammed into crowded crates and riddled with parasites and untold diseases are perfectly acceptable!

puppies

I wish someone would explain to me how this makes ANY sense! I can completely understand why regulations are in place for LIVE animals, but the carcass of an animal that was legally killed, and that is following the importation regulations is deemed unacceptable. Perhaps the airlines should consider following not only their regulations but THE LAWS that govern shipping animals before they cave to mob pressure and make regulations that affect LAW-abiding citizens.

I know you wonder how this affects “you.” Well, 1) the risk of disease transmission of a big-game carcass are minimal. Most diseases are non-zoonotic, so the risk to you or your pet (not many people own big game) are also minimal. 2) underage, parasite ridden and diseases dogs and cats not only bring in the parasites, are at risk of death from the stress of flight, but diseases that don’t exist yet in this country are arriving in alarming numbers! 3) Legal hunting is actually what pays for the majority of conservation efforts. Nothing in life is free, and the permits and licenses associated with humting create the revenue that fund the salaries of the game wardens that PROTECT the wildlife. Without legal hunting, there would be no revenue to fund the wardens that stop poaching. 4)Let’s say you collect German Beer steins. A story crosses the internet that claims that Hitler drank the blood of his victims from Beer Steins, and he created a law that a portion of the money for every stein sold was to fund an ethnic cleansing. Now, that COULD be false, but some morons follow their emotions and the mob forms calling for the abolishment of beer steins from Germany. Well, you know the story is false, but the mob is loud and keeps spouting an emotional campaign against your much-loved hobby, and then the airlines cave, and you can no longer bring home your steins, all so that the mob “may” save “someone” from an ethnic cleansing.

And sometimes, a dead lion is easier to deal with…

DadToday has been rough. I screwed up last night and took the wrong pill at bedtime, so I was up all night. All I wanted to do all day was sleep, but my mistake can’t be visited upon my animals, so I have struggled through today, and spent more time than usual on-line.

Who would have thought that I would actually miss all of the stories about a dead lion? I did. Today’s feeds were filled with issues surrounding Planned Parenthood. I thought that animal welfare drew out the hardliners, but they pale when compared to the supporters/ detractors of Planned Parenthood and there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground,

Everything I have written in the past week is still relevant. People don’t use logic to discuss such matters, but emotion. No problem will ever be solved when emotion drives the discussion. I miss the dead lion.

I won’t wade into the deep waters surrounding PP, but I do want to discuss why the discussion being had is wrong and will not lead anywhere: Nobody is actually listening. NOBODY. Not even your legislators, and that is the reason that the entirety of our government is broken.

Take a look back over the last 2 decades and tell me, are we REALLY better off? Our debt has exploded, we have been attacked on our own soil, we have open floodgates for people entering the country illegally, we have been wars that have been mild failures at best, we have begun negotiating with terrorists, we have open relations with a country without demanding they turn over a cop-killer, we have allowed Iran some hope of nuclear weaponry without turning over the Americans they are holding, the rich are getting richer while the working poor are getting poorer, hate pervades our society, and NOBODY IS LISTENING!

We spew forth OUR ideals, OUR beliefs, OUR wants, but we never stop to actually listening to what that OTHER person is saying about their ideals, their beliefs, their wants. So, we stay here treading water, as a country, drowning and hoping for a lifeline, but unwilling to make the effort to actually swim to shore.

We have REAL and severe issues in this country– huge problems, but everyone wants a “soundbite” fix, and folks, that is never going to work. We need people who that will actually WORK for US, and stop pandering to special interests and hardline primary voters. Of course, we have created this system. We don’t vote. We bitch and complain, but we don’t vote and the majority of us that actually vote, don’t vote in the primaries, so we end up with politicians that are pandering to the extremes of society, because they actually vote in the primaries, and the rest of us are left treading water because we were unwilling to actually make the change we want all because we couldn’t be bothered to go and vote. The major reason that people don’t vote is because they say that the politicians don’t listen, they don’t represent them, they lie, they cheat and they steal. Well, AMERICA, the easiest and best way to fix this is to VOTE for anyone that is NOT an incumbent. Our elected officials have learned over the decades that if they can get in office, it will be almost impossible to get them out, so they don’t have to listen to us. They can pander to the big-money guys knowing the rubes back home will keep them in office. So, stop listening to anything they say for the next 10 years, and just keep voting them out! You will see a dramatic shift in our leadership and their ability to actually listen and work together because then it will be in THEIR best interest if they hope to be re-elected.

Quit fighting, America, and start listening. Don’t waste your life. Don’t hate. LISTEN! Please know that you aren’t always right, but you aren’t always wrong. Share, but open yourself up to the grays.When you learn to see the gray, you will see the beauty that is all around us. You might even be able to recognize that sometimes a dead lion is really just a dead lion.