Thursday, November 8, 2012

From Pet Owner to Dog Show Junkie


Yes, another book review! At only 124 pages, Showing Kunga: From Pet Owner to Dog Show Junkie is short but very informative. I really enjoyed this book, probably because showing dogs has always been a dream of mine. The author, Alxe Noden, wanted a blue great Dane. Worried about puppy mills and backyard breeders, she started researching the Internet. Alxe figured that a breeder who also shows would be more concerned with a puppy's health and temperament. The author felt that by choosing one of these puppies perhaps she could avoid some of the health problems often associated with great Danes. Once she got her puppy, Alxe joined a local great Dane dog club to learn more about the breed and hang out with other dog people. Hey, that's why I joined my dog club!! Alxe starting showing her dog for fun and got hooked. The author does a nice job sharing the ups and downs of showing from a newbie's point of view. I really liked how she articulated her reasoning for using a breeder instead of a breed rescue. This reminded me of an article I read a couple months back called Responsible Dog Breeders Are Rare, But I Found One and So Can You. I really liked this article. I have noticed that in Society's push to promote the rescue and adoption of homeless animals (of which I am a BIG proponent) it seems that all deliberate dog breeders have been vilified -- regardless of their intentions. Responsible breeders have been lumped in with puppy mills. This is so sad . . . and so wrong! Another interesting article that discusses painting all breeders with the same broad brush is What I Learned at the Dog Show from Humane Watch. I stumbled upon this article when wrestling with my Puppy Pining last summer. I highly recommend both articles to everybody in the animal community.

I wish everyone could travel to the Northside and meet my breeder. They would immediately see the difference between her operation and that of a puppy mill or backyard breeder. Her puppies are not living in the small wires cage depicted in the HSUS commercials. Instead, the entire dining room has been transformed into a puppy nursery. The puppies are mentally stimulated with toys, simple mazes and various objects to climb in and on. At five weeks old they have already been introduced to the concepts of crate and potty training. Everything from daily weight gain to super dog training is monitored and recorded on color-coded charts. The puppies are loved on constantly and each one gets at least a half-hour of individual cuddle time daily. Breeder and her husband dote on the puppies like stereotypical grandparents. They have cute little puppy stories like "We've nicknamed that one Magellan because he is always the first to explore new things." No, this is not a woman callously breeding puppies to make an easy profit. This is a woman who is carefully breeding the best German shepherd puppies possible, for health and temperament as well as beauty. Breeder put more time and thought into finding the right sire for my puppy than I did into selecting a father for my children. (Sorry boys! I'm glad it worked out.)

So I guess what I'm trying to say is:

Spay, Neuter, Adopt -- Good.
Puppy mills and indiscriminate breeding -- Bad.
Not all breeders are the same; it's wrong to imply otherwise.
* My breeder is awesome!!! *
 
 Enough of my ranting. Let's look at more puppy pictures! -- K

Blue and Purple above, Yellow (I think) below. I love them all!