Thursday, January 11, 2007

Oodle Doodle Boodle

As a person with rescues, I’m very against any animal becoming the new fad.
These innocent creatures become as disposable as 80s jelly bracelets and become nothing more than a symbol of status or money-making tool by the population at large. Because of this breeders and sellers have it in there best interests to spread disinformation about their product to make it fantastically appealing. The media spreads it for free and many are duped into believing that this creature, whatever it may be, is the ideal and will blend perfectly into their life with minimal effort. Yes, there are a large population of people who love their animals and give them the best possible home. But there are others, who treat them as disposable and get rid of them when they no longer mesh with their wardrobe.
One of the most recent fads has been the so-called “designer dogs”. I’ve had a few poodle crosses and I’d have to admit that by and large these are great little pets. However, I am a dog person and the few canines I don’t enjoy the company of are untrained, unsocialized, and unpleasant to spend time around—usually because of the owners. All dogs need training, extensive healthcare, and socialization to become the wonderful pets they can be. So many breeders are giving promises that shouldn’t be..such as being hypoallergenic or free of health issues due to being of ‘mixed’ and therefore superior blood.
Crosses also had a dark side. Their breeders were someone from the neighborhood who thought their bitch would live a better life if she were able to have the occasional litter. They picked another sweet and adorable dog they knew to stud her to and bang—doodly-poos. While misinformed, these people really did love their dogs and did not sell puppies to make money. Usually they were free or cost whatever their first vet visit came to. While attractiveness and good temperament was highly likely with the match of two sweet fluffy pooches, the breeders never did health testing. And these were probably in the best case scenario for where to get a little doodle-poo. Petstore animals have a far sadder story.
Genetic and other testing now exists to determine whether a potential breeding animal or pair is likely to pass on traits such as heart defects, hip dysplasia, or bleeding disorders. When a responsible breeder breeds his/her animals, they do the testing as due diligence. They also will offer to cover the medical costs should any of those genetic flaws pop up. Ours never had that. Our most recent fluffy mutt had several problems with her heart, pancreas, and a glandular disorder. This lead to lots of worry, tears, and suffering. All congenital and therefore unnecessary had the breeder only checked the dogs she was mating.
I’m all for truth in advertising, responsibility, and making the good choices. That’s why I like to see some effort to educate and help people make a more responsible choice should they want something like a doodly-poo. My last two are purebred dogs from rescues. With rescue, you are more likely to know the truth about what you are getting: Who knows, but you’ll figure it out soon enough.
The truth with any dog.
Even the most responsibly bred purebred puppy may not follow the temperament or looks standard. Just as responsible breeding does not negate all health problems. Our KerryGirl was originally from a good breeder. She has a few health issues that are either minor and breed-wide (like her cysts) or fairly major but can happen to any breed or mix of dog and there is no pre-breeding test for (like her IBD). But I can’t say that it could have been avoided—these things just happen. The work was merely done to make sure that the likelihood of the best possible outcome was increased as much as possible.

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