It probably doesn’t sound like much, “I made friends with a breeder,” but if you know me, you know that it is. Since attending my first dog auction 8 years ago, I have despised breeders. I am very outspoken on the subject, just ask anyone.
If I hear someone say, “We just bought a puppy,” my stomach turns and I feel an enormous sense of agony (and anger). I hear people say they went to Petland or found the cutest puppy on-line. It makes my heart sink. For years I have been asking, “Where are the good breeders?”
A few posts ago, when expressing my displeasure with the AKC, I asked that exact question. Well, just a few days ago, a breeder emailed me to let me know, “She breeds only for love of the breed.”
She wrote a long email explaining what she does and how she is part of an organization who educates the public on good breeding. I could tell by her words that they were true and heartfelt. She wasn’t antagonizing me or being defensive. She wanted to understand me, as I wanted to understand her.
We’ve emailed a few times back and forth now, always maintaining a very pleasant and respectful tone, something I didn’t think I could ever do with a breeder. She invited me to see her website and when I went, it almost brought tears to my eyes. There, in front of me, were all of the things I tell friends and family to look for:
* I will NOT ship my puppies to anyone
* You must come to my house, so I can meet you and you can meet me and see my dogs
* I only breed 1 -2 litters a year, so chances are I will not have a puppy when you want one. I don’t breed for Christmas or spring.
* I don’t take deposits because I think that puts people in a situation where they might have regrets.
* All of the puppies I sell are for families and will be altered. If you want a show dog, you can call and we can talk about that.
The list goes on…every single thing I preach to people. This breeder is serious. It was the first time in 8 years that I felt a sense of hope, that I truly believed there might be a place for breeding in this world, after all.
Her and I have exchanged stories and opinions about “our own kind.” She explains to me why “her people” won’t further initiate opposition to the AKC or why they won’t always support legislation. I explain how “my kind” doesn’t understand why they aren’t more furious with the AKC and why they don’t protest Petland.
We also talk about the weaknesses in our own kind. Truthfully, it has been one of the most enlightening conversations I have had in awhile. She is the breeder I always wanted to exist and the breeder I always wanted to be able to talk to.
This morning I was thinking about this new relationship, how unlikely it always seemed to me, and an analogy hit me. I feel like breeders and rescues have the same relationship as the major political parties in Washington. We are unable to reach an understanding and bridge our differences. We cannot act in any kind of bipartisan way which I think has hurt our chances of truly successful and effective legislation to protect breeding dogs.
I don’t have answers. I wish I did. But, my new friendship, with who I would have once only considered the devil, is giving me hope and inspiration. If more of my kind and more of her kind could come together and work as a team, I think there is great opportunity for immense change. Hopefully, our love for dogs will push us to work harder together than those in Washington and we will accomplish great things in a more timely manner. The dogs are counting on it.