Thursday, March 12, 2015

Coming down to the wire

Herbie, Joey, and Pip at 8 weeks Julie wrote yesterday (Wednesday) that she:
took the pups and Pip for microchipping and  eye testing yesterday. The eyes, like the hearing, need to be done by a specialist. The puppies were so brave. Not one peep (or pip) out of them. It was a rather long ordeal but everyone was great and we had our other furry kids with us. They were very hungry and needed to potty when they got home but were ready to play. Off to the vet tomorrow morning for a check up.
Herbie and Joey will be going to their new homes this weekend, so when I get in next week, they'll already be gone. If I'm sad that I won't see Pip's big brothers again, I can't imagine how sad letting the puppies go must be for Julie, even as it's exciting and, really, one of the whole points in dog breeding. She's very careful to make sure each puppy goes to a good home, but letting go must be hard.

I have so much respect and admiration for people who take in rescue dogs. Most of those dogs came originally from careless or unethical breeders who don't look carefully at all the issues in choosing which dogs to breed to ensure that puppies will have a high probability of a long, healthy life and a sound temperament ideal for that breed. Puppy mill breeders breed several or even many dogs at a time. But a lot of well-meaning but uninformed people simply pick another pedigreed dog to mate with their own beloved pedigreed dog, without realizing their own dog and/or the mate might have genetic problems that will shorten its life--conditions that should NOT be fostered by breeding more of the same.

Dog breeding should be done to foster the wonderful traits--physical and behavioral--specific to each breed. It's not supposed to be a fun hobby so kids can watch puppies be born, nor a for-profit business enterprise. Well-bred dogs are expensive, but the truth is, you cannot tell a good breeder by how much you spend for a puppy. I've checked on the Internet, and  I'm not paying more for Pip than most Havanese puppy-mill breeders charge. Do they provide the enrichment and socialization activities for their puppies that Julie does, and even start housebreaking? Do they carefully screen every potential buyer to make sure the puppies go to good and loving homes? Do they provide prospective owners with all the medical information so there's good continuity with immunizations and puppy care? Do they make sure each puppy has its first shots, is chipped, and has been tested for vision, hearing, and bone structure? And do they offer nurturing warmth to their prospective buyers, sending puppy photos every week and making the anticipation an exciting part of the fun of getting a puppy?

Julie and Agnes (the owner of Pip's sire) are exceptional both as dog breeders and human beings, but the standards they meet are also fostered by the Havana Silk Dog Association of America. The American Kennel Club may do some good things, but their pedigrees do not distinguish between dogs that should never be bred and dogs that meet the highest standards of health and temperament. (Unlike Havanese, the parent breed, the Havana Silk Dog is not an AKC breed because of this.) No breeder can guarantee that a puppy will have a long, healthy life. But by doing everything possible to raise the probabilities, good breeders make the world a happier place for people and their pets. Good breeders help those of us who just want a nice puppy to have the best likelihood that our beloved dog will be with us for a long time without endless vet bills and heart break. It's impossible to express how happy I am that I discovered the HSDAA, and Julie.

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