Sunday, March 9, 2008


Recently a discussion on one of my many chat groups has drifted to the subject of rescue, specifically about a breeder's roll in rescue. As you might notice on our website, I have a page devoted to rescue plus a couple of quotes. The first one has not been attributed to anyone as we don't need to lay claim to it but live by it-"If you don't rescue, don't breed". Pretty simple if you ask me. The second one is a quote from David Frei. Many of you know him as the new voice of the Westminster Kennel Club Show. He says, "For the responsible breeder, breed rescue is just a matter of course."

If we are a responsible breeder, that means our goal is to breed a dog that is as close to the standard as possible. Not to breed when we have a demand. Not to breed to fulfill a want,or a desire of the public. Personally, I think I can be selfish and say, I breed for my next generation and for no one else's pleasure. I made that mistake a couple of years ago by breeding to fulfill someone else's desire and what I thought was a litter produced to benefit the breed. Boy was I wrong. I never should have let a friendship dictate over the best interest of the dog or the breed. I have therefore been the responsible party and every dog I personally placed out of that litter was altered. The remaining dogs, it's a shame, are out of my control and will be bred and in all honesty, not be bred to the best interest of the breed. I am selfish and the decisions I now make are for the sake of maintaining the breed, not to feed someone else's ego and definitely I take full responsibility for all my breedings from this time forward. The blame game is not something I partake in-that's for those who have ego's to feed.

I like to think of the roll of rescue really is cleaning up another person's mess. They lack the moral values to be responsible for the animals they produce for the life of the dog. They fail to insure that the dog is going to a forever home. The breeder's greed feeds their need to produce one dog after another. But not only are we cleaning up a breeder's ill gotten gains, but we are also cleaning up for a greedy society. The "I want it now and will have it now" society. People have a tendency to think they need something without realizing that it's really a want. Similar is a hoarding situation, the person gets and gets and gets. Some realize that they are in way over their heads. And other's have no clue, just thinking I am the only one who can do best by these dogs. It's scary to watch a person cycle like that-the constant rotation through various numbers of dogs. I've seen too many dogs hurt by this behavior, shuffled from home to home.

We do not need to have an animal in our lives, many times our lives are fulfilled without an animal or the fancy car or the big house. But today's world has created an error in our programing, where needs and wants can get interchanged. What is the saying-here today, gone tomorrow?

Unfortunately, many people think in order to be in rescue, you have to actively foster dogs in your home. Actually that's wrong. Rescue is so much more. It's education, transportation, it's home visits(I do a lot of those), temperment testing, fundraising, donating equipement, typing, shelter visits, I could go on and on. It's those behind the scene people who work without any recognition, actually make rescue work. If you feel a need to boast about how many years or how many dogs you have rescued over the years, are you doing it for the right reason? If you can't foster for whatever reason it is, try helping with what ever God given talents you may have. Are you an artist, then draw a picture to be auctioned off at a fundraiser. Natural speaker, do educational talks at schools, churches or public meetings on the importance of spay/neuters and being a responsible dog owner. There are so many more ways to rescue then just fostering that dog.

Part of the recent discussion turned to commercial breeders and their leftovers. Dogs just like cattle, horses and antiques, are auctioned off. At dog auctions, there are rows and rows of cages. Dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds. Male, female, puppies. It pulls at one's heart strings to see our domestic companion animal, the one that sleeps on our laps, fetches a ball or brings in the cows for milking in the evening, treated no better then the animal that is now our Big Mac. As breed fanciers, when we see one of our own listed, like with a mother and her child, we want to protect it. Our first instinct is to get it out of that horrible place, wrap it in a warm blanket and say, it's all better now. But is it really? Let's look at this from a different view.

Commercial breeders, Puppy Millers(PM), or Back Yard Breeders(BYB) usually are not like the breed fancier in that they, in order to maintain production, have multiple breeds. Not only do they have multiple breeds but they also will create breeds if the need presents itself. Those dogs that don't produce, become too old, are unhealthy, have only two options. They can either be destroyed or they can be sold. By selling the dog, the breeder usually hopes it can recoup some it's financial investment. And by selling, that usually means auction. We are not talking about a newspaper or Internet posting saying I have a lovely dog that needs a new home. Now here comes the breed fancier, surfing the web, looking at the auction sites, hoping to save one of their own. Bingo, one's listed, must mobilize, gotta get it out of that horrific situation it's been put in. But wait, are we really saving it by buying it at the auction? One dog, one breed, remember, this breeder has multiple breeds. But by buying that one dog of that one breed, all we are really doing is helping to validate the mass breeder's reason for existence. Remember, he's not a fancier like us, but a business man. One dollar in, is one more dollar he can reinvest to produce another dog of another breed. Or breed the daughter, sister, or son of the dog we just "saved".

Validation. I don't think we really think of it that way. Our own little petty justification of rescuing one dog by buying it only allows the producer to assign the same or worse fate to another dog. Validation. Are we willing to save one and leave 10, 000 more? Are we really able to say that someone else can take care of those dogs, they aren't our breed, why should be care? That's not looking beyond the end of our nose to what's happening in the world around us. That's feeding that ego again.

Our only real option, though I hate to see it happen, is to not buy that dog at the auction. Don't validate that breeders reason for existing. I know as hard as it is for me to see a cardigan or a collie in the auctions, I can't justify "rescuing" one dog only to let other's take it's place in the production line. We should really figure out a way to reduce the demand so that eventually there is no need for a commercial breeder. That's a discussion for another post.

If a breeder is truly a responsible breeder, they will need to insure the long term sustainability of the breed they love. They will keep track of dogs throughout it's lifetime, breed not for ego and as a favor but breed to maintain and protect the breed. They will require spay and neuters of those dogs that they can not control or are placed as pets. They will take back or remove a dog from a situation that is not in it's best interest. That breeder will not purchase or facilitate the purchase of any dog - regardless of breed, from an auction. They will help with finding abandoned dogs new homes. Rescue from shelters or private homes where the breeder is absent. Above all they will not help validate the existence of the commercial breeder or puppy mill by buying a dog from them, under the auspices of rescue.

Off my soap box, for alittle while, later gators.....


Garrett808 said...

wow such a good post! Such clarity and amazing realizations. Good work :)

kaalmafarms said...

Excellent post. Having cleaned up horrific parasite loads in dogs that have been in contact with dogs housed in the name of "rescue" in poor and unsanitary conditions, I can say you should add to your statement something about don't foster unless you can properly care for the dogs and keep them in a clean environment. I get tired of hearing about the bragging about rescue from people that do this, and finding that vet bills are unpaid, the dogs are fed horrible quality food and like I said full of worms and other parisites. No favor is done to the dogs or breed with this idea of rescue. If you can't afford to care for a dog properly, don't take it in! Donate money,donate food, help with transport but don't keep more than you can afford to care for and brag about how much you do to rescue!!

Cindy said...

I think that's an awesome point to make--time for another post to come up!

You aren't saving them if all you are doing is taking them from one horror to another.