After 6 months of waiting and 2 years of maturity Babbette has officially come into season, or “heat”. We are ready for our first pregnancy and prepping for puppies.
Since the pandemic has brought an influx of puppy buyers and sellers, it wasn’t something any of us could have predicted. We had veterinarians in check but over the last year their hearts have changed. After contacting a few veterinarians they have all said they will no longer be helping with breeders. This is not unwarranted and I can accept their opinions. Some are wondering why I choose to breed standard poodles especially at this time. My short answer is because people need help. As a person with disabilities of now 2 incurable diseases which are highly debilitating, dogs have always been my therapy as well as my assistants. Babbette assists me with standing, sitting and even helps me off the floor should I fall or seize. Tootsie would stay by my side and lay on the floor when I have seizures. These are small duties I feel that humans don’t have patience for.
Since I was very young I have always observed the relationship between dogs and their humans. Service and therapy dogs usually cause scrutiny not only from the non disabled but also from the disabled. I never understood why we as a society make it so difficult for us to be more accepting regardless of our opinions. I shake my head at tons of stories about dog discrimination knowing that only a couple hundred years ago we were all going into shops and markets with our canine companions pulling carts full our groceries home with us. I see paintings of dogs and cats laying by the family fireplace. I see dogs leading the blind and helping with opening doors and drawers. Those scenarios are why I breed my dogs.
I’ve done my share of rescuing dogs from shelters and from other owners and one thing ran true through each rescue story I have heard. They had behavioural problems, separation anxiety, among more. I will take examples of my own personal experiences. I rescued. a stunningly beautiful large Doberman Pinscher named Judge. The Doberman, to me, is the Cadillac of all dogs, my dream dog.. I called the owner and made a trip an hour and a half away to get him. They were a young family with 1 preschool son and another baby on the way. Before anything I wanted to take him for a walk. Now picture this, I am 5’2″ so this dog was basically like a miniature horse to me. He ran right up to me and his owner said “Wow he really likes you”. I walked him up the street and he looked at me with the softest sweetest eyes and we fell in love so to speak. The owner had his mother and he said Judge’s mother wasn’t getting along with him in her old age. For $500, I got this magnificent animal, his crate and bowls. One may read this and think what a beautiful story, but there are kinks to this story. We opened his cage up because in my experience dogs enjoy having a “den”. My heart sank when I saw parts of his cage had bent bars about the size of his muzzle. He had pressure points on his elbows and one on his rib. This is usually from laying on a hard surface for a long time and him trying to get out probably due to seperation anxiety. He was slightly underweight, I figured more because of crappy dog food.
I changed his diet and closed the cage and he would never be inside that thing again. He had bad habits like counter surfing and any plate unattended would be fair game to him. BUT he helped me balance myself, we would go for walks and I can’t express it in words, he just knew what to do without me asking nor extra training. As soon as I put his service vest on he was WORKING. He was focused and proud. He sat by me after seizures and he helped me to stand. He was 11 years old when he left us for Rainbow Bridge. He spent half his life in a cage and the other half with my family who loved, cherished and still miss him to this day.
You will hear conversations about ethical and unethical dog breeding and the pet population problem and so on, but my thought is that if temperament was focused on rather than the breed’s cosmetic value there wouldn’t be AS MANY surrendered dogs. Now, there are some not so good purebred dog breeders and I again have experience with them too. I was starting my own training with protection dogs and I decided on a Boxer. Not great for bite work but I wanted a dog who could protect as well as get along easier with children. I named her Jasmine and she was, as some say, full of piss and vinegar. At her first show, she lost her first place ribbon because she decided randomly to sit in front of me to get a reaction. The judge loved her but sitting is not part of the show game. If you have ever known a Boxer puppy you know they act like they have springs in their feet. At 6 months I had to get this lil girl in shape. I trained her basic manners like not door crashing and basically not being annoying getting up in people’s faces. I taught her to only accept treats from me and she knew commands to watch people and keep them at a distance. Everything was going well until she had a seizure. My poor dog was diagnosed with epilepsy and was prescribed phenol barbitol taking a pill twice a day. She was only 3 years old when she died. This prompted me to do a full out investigation on the breed and breeder. A friend of mine bought her sister and she died of cancer at the age of 4. These are extraordinarily young dogs with such disheartening health issues. My friend did her research and told me that their breeder would drown any white puppies that were born. Like whoa! We were both shocked and pretty disgusted. What I learned through that whole experience is priceless. I learned to not be so naive.
When anyone asks me if they should adopt or buy a purebred I ask them if they want a surprise or a predictable temperament. Research research research go to shelters, talk to breeders, go through kennel club standards. I was even pleasantly surprised that my dog breeder partner and friend gave me a temperament guarantee. She even accepted a 10 year old service dog back as the owner needed a younger dog for her needs. All pluses to me!
It all starts with day one of my dog’s cycle. I have high hopes that my puppies will bring joy, service and companionship to people who need them. Quality over quantity! My poodle gals are so smart my children say they are like humans in a dog suit…
…and they’re super cute too.