LAWPDOODLE BLOG


Lawpdoodle Blog


GIARDIA, JMHO, July 9, 2016

Written this day as an email to a customer. My thoughts for sometime in words to help better understand our experience with this nagging and common milady:

If your puppy is non-symptomatic, do not continue treatment. It only compounds the issue, as we've seen on a few occasions. It has been noted that Giardia can still be seen on lab tests for as much as a month following treatment, but does not mean it has not been successfully treated.

There is a new protocol being practiced by veterinarians called the Elisa test which requires sending out the stool sample of the dog to confirm Giardiasis. In other words, it is seldom diagnosed successfully in-house unless there is a huge population. It is very difficult to detect by standard floating procedures. 

Due to the rise among breeders being told puppies are infected with Giardiasis, I'm beginning to believe most dogs carry it, and most adults are unaffected by it?. Giardia is everywhere in the environment. There is no way to avoid contact with it unless you live in a glass bubble. I always loved that Trifexis commercial (although not the product) with the dog playing from a glass tube. So true. Parasites can never be eliminated, only controlled. 

As a rule, unless our puppies stay with us for an extended period of time (seldom anymore), they never leave the nursery until they go home, so they are never exposed to the outdoors where Giardia exists along with other common parasites.  Mom is weaned off of them around 6 weeks or as soon as she seems disinterested in going into the puppy box to nurse. Once separated from mom, (all adults who are regularly treated with our pack to control parasites) we begin a proactive de-worming treatment that also addresses Giardia on the puppies with several consecutive days of Febendazole. If they actually show symptoms that are suspicious, we treat with metronidazole as well, all under the guidance of our veterinarians. 

Their area is scrubbed daily with bleach and all bedding and toys are changed daily. We have a separate washer/dryer in our nursery just for this purpose. This has always been our protocol. We also train them to a puppy litter box to minimize treading through their own waste on a day to day basis. It makes our daily cleaning routine a little easier as well, but it is all removed and dissinfected every day. Again, they have never been outside if they are going home around 8 weeks of age to minimize exposure. The only exposure they have to outdoors is through their mom. Although they've been de-wormed at least twice from the age of 2 weeks before mom leaves, our protocol with Fenbendazole is not begun until they are completely weaned. 

Since this seems to be a more recent diagnosed ailment on a more regular basis (we've been breeding for 8 1/2 years and I also follow breeding groups through social media), I'd be curious to see the veterinarian associations recommend random lab tests of various house dogs throughout the country that play outdoors, especially those that seldom if ever go to the vet in their lifetime and whether symptomatic or not, and see the results? 

In the meantime, we will continue our protocol of proactive treatment to minimize Giardia and its symptoms. I kind of see it as what I dealt with when my children were babies. They caught ever bug/virus that came their way, and ear infections were constant. It seemed as if we lived at the pediatric's office at times? Then, as their immune system developed as they grew, their frequencies of illness drastically dropped. Today they are healthy, my son a recent graduate with his MBA, married 3 years and expecting our first grandchild in October, and my sweet little pixie girl, a student at WVU, almost 22 years old, is getting married to her soulmate this September. Busy year head for us. 

Some vets will agonize and dramatize over Giardia and Coccidia among other ailments, and then we have our down to earth country farm vets that are more realistic. Nonetheless, unless they are employed by these fast growing corporate vet clinic enterprises that are putting our small practice vets out of business, I seldom doubt their expertise. 

“OUR SHEEPADOODLES”June 15, 2016

June 15, 2016

As I sit this morning with my first cup of coffee and skim through my notifications on Facebook, I reflect back to the year 2009 when I discovered my first “Sheepadoodle” online. No. I didn’t purchase the puppy…..I fell in love! I wanted to add them to my breeding program. It was a risk, since this was a breed virtually unknown to the pet buying public.

My point is, I have seen this breed’s popularity rise over the years since we first decided to make them part of our lives, and with good reason. Although they can be challenging during the puppy months, the rewards for meeting those challenges appropriately can result in one of the most fantastic dogs you may ever have as part of your family. 

As with any  commodity, if its popularity rises along with its strong potential of sale, others in the industry want to “buy in”….as well as those wanting to step into the industry for the benefits of sale. 

I have helped a few breeders along their way who have essentially now become my competition.  Some willingly….some not so willingly who essentially betrayed me in more ways than one. This is capitalism. This is America. Capitalism is the success of our country, but as Satan still rules the heart of many, it also breeds dishonesty and cruelty.

As a Bible believing Christian, I will always strive to do my business honestly. I’ve always made it a practice when contacting another breeder to purchase a puppy to tell them exactly who I am and why I am interested in purchasing their puppy for breeding, not as a breeder under the guise of a pet buyer. I am also clear about my goals for breeding Doodles…..a “curse word” to many purists. I respect their beliefs and goals. All I ask is that they honor me with the same respect. If for those reasons they choose not to sell their puppy to me….I’m okay with that. I move on. However, I have never, and will never, acquire a puppy from a breeder by lying about who I am and my goals for the future of that puppy!

I am a Christian who tries and falls short daily to live by God’s Standards, and for that reason….I made a point some time ago to no longer verbally “judge or criticize” any specific breeders outside of my own thoughts, even if I do not agree with their practices. Certainly not with the objective to have that “buyer” choose me over “them”. Even when I allowed this to occur, I did so reluctantly. The Holy Spirit was knocking me in the head! I have been hurt by a few, but my heart has forgiven. It is not I who will distribute the consequences for their actions.

My book is open as to who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Yes, I am in the business of breeding puppies with the goal of also making a living. However, unlike that paycheck that comes faithfully twice a month, nothing is guaranteed in any type of farming or animal husbandry. Things can and do go wrong. I’ve been down the road of hell and back with unforeseen circumstances out of my control. Through our faith, we have persevered and come back. We have made money. We have lost money, too. But I will never, ever say “No breeder should make money in this business!” as so many “purist” breeders love to tout to justify being an “ethical breeder”. I chose to breed loving pets for my customers. I respect the purpose of breeding for the “betterment of the breed”. Keeping in mind, that “betterment” is often man’s assessment, not God’s. Nuff said.

I work hard. I work every day in this business. I struggle through sleepless nights while helping my mom’s safely deliver puppies. I’ve saved lives….and I’ve lost lives. I’ve rejoiced in life, and I’ve grieved in the loss of life. I live and breathe my choice of profession everyday. Do I struggle during the down times? Absolutely! However, as I pray for God’s Guidance and Strength to get through our trials, I also reflect on my choice of business. I cannot imagine my life right now any other way. I Praise God He opened this door for me, provided the property and the faithful husband to help me, and has allowed my heart to be open to learn and grow stronger each day. I also Praise Him for the many wonderful people I have met through this business over the years.

My advice to you today, as you may be in the process of searching for your next puppy, is be wise while choosing a breeder. Ask questions of the breeder you are inquiring with for one of their puppies. Why did they choose this breed for their program? Was it because they are now so popular and a guaranteed “money maker”?  About the parents, did you raise them from a puppy or acquire them as “proven” adults, knowing you can turn a profit quickly without the agonizing almost 2 year wait before their first litter when raised from puppyhood. I have acquired adults in my past. To say I have not would be making me a hypocrite. Our first pair that started our business were adults when they joined our family and even expecting a litter at the time.  I would be lying if I said it didn’t help us at the time to “jump start” our business, as the overhead is high. We had not even built our kennel at the time, an over $40,000 investment. However, Fanny and Bear were offered to us…not advertised. We initially contacted that breeder for a puppy to begin our new venture into breeding because that’s how we thought it should be done.  Currently, we have no need to bring in adults without knowledge of their true background, which is difficult when you know little of their life before. Many of our parents are out of our own sound lines, raised here with us.  Still, on occasion, we must seek outside for new lines….yet we choose to do so from when they are puppies to mold them into our lifestyle and environment, as well as evaluate their health and soundness. Again, I’m not bashing the goal of making money. It is what we all do to survive, whether through employment with a company, governmental agency, or by building our own business in the field we choose and love. 

There are a number of breeds that have “saturated” the market, yet the true breeders that love their breed stick to them…even if at times they struggle to find homes in a timely manner. Why? Because they chose that breed and are dedicated to that breed……not because they thought they would get a quick sale.

With regard to testing, I have many opinions that do not line up with some with regard to the need to test for every little flaw.  No animal or human is “perfect”. My own brother was born with Spina Bifida.

Much of the testing that goes on today guarantees little to the future health of the puppies, but it helps to prove a “responsible breeder”……….or does it? As a consumer, it is up to you to decide. I have learned in my experience that I don’t need an x-ray to know when a young dog has genetic hip dysplasia. When following up with a vet, my suspicions have been proven each time.  The decision was made to pull those dogs from our program.

Let’s just say, I have an eye for imperfections. I do not need a “certificate” from a subjective observation of any organization to tell me my dog has hip dysplasia. My own veterinarians have the common sense to see when something is not right. It’s why they spent all that money and grueling years in vet school to become who they are in the industry. Since genetic HD, as with any genetic disorder, can exist in recessive genes, yet unknown by a dog that appears sound……there are no guarantees. Although the dog was never proven to have hip dysplasia, we had a pup sold to a breeder from a mom that is OFA Excellent and dad that is OFA Good, yet the pup could not pass PennHip or OFA Pre-lims. We did replace the pup, but it was just another experience that left me to wonder? To date, there is no DNA test for genetic Hip Dysplasia. Keep in mind, it has been proven time and time and again, a larger percentage of Hip Dysplasia is caused environmentally. We provide literature to help you understand proper exercise while your puppy is growing, as well as proper diet. We all know this makes a huge difference in humans as well. To date, we are unaware of any genetic Hip Dysplasia existing among our puppies over the last 8 ½ years. And no…..all of our dogs are NOT OFA or PennHip Certified.  At times, we do choose to have some of our parents tested for our own assurance they are sound, or if we are concerned about something in their development. DNA is expensive. However, it is a fairly simple process to rule out certain diseases certain breeds are predisposed to. We evaluate each situation and each dog individually, not as a blanket process.

Yes, there are other tests and diseases that dogs are subjected to, just as humans. If there is a particular disease, or test for that disease you wish to discuss, then by all means, contact me directly to do so. If you feel more comfortable passing  on us as your breeder and going with a breeder that tests for EVERYTHING as a strong “label” they are a good breeder…..by all means, please move on. However, if you place a deposit with us…..you have committed with us and indicated to us that you’ve trusted us as your breeder.  Please research all your options BEFORE you decide we are your breeder of choice. To change your mind “after” is unacceptable and you will forfeit your deposit under those circumstances. We stand on our experience and reputation, as well as backing the puppies we sell. All too often I’ve heard it argued to a buyer who’s dog has been diagnosed with some sort of disorder and the breeder’s response when confronted was, “But….that’s impossible. Both parents are cleared!” And by that, they justify washing themselves of any responsibility to the warranty of that pup. Proceed at your own risk.

One more note of advice. If a breeder touts themselves overly much over “other breeders”, or criticizes their competition to earn your business……DON’T WALK……RUN!!!!!!!! They should earn your trust by their own ethics in business, not putting others down to lift up themselves. There is no right way or wrong way……each breeder has the right to choose “their way”. It is up to the customer to choose which way fits their needs.

We want to thank each and every one of our puppy families for their support and trust over the past 8 ½ years. God Willing, we will be here for a number of years ahead as long as our health and finances allow.

May God Bless each and every one of you always. My prayer is if you do not know Him, seek Him. Your life and future will be changed forever. 

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”, Romans 5:1

 

MY THOUGHTS….JMHO

So often, as I’ve worked for hours doing puppy chores, or spent hours on the road for deliveries and other business related road trips, I’ve written my thoughts in my head about all I’ve learned and come to understand with regard to genetic testing, among other hot topics, of our dogs for breeding. Yes, it is the responsible thing to do from a breeder, and a potential puppies buyers perspective. Is it always the right thing to do? That depends on the perspective of the quality of the breeder’s program, often way out of line and criticised even by our own fellow breeders beyond reason. Unfortunately, if I am not in a position to write down my thoughts as I’m writing them in my head, by the time I reach a place I can do so, most of the words have escaped me. Ever heard of “writer’s block”? It happens to song writers and story tellers all the time. When the inspiration hits them, they must move right then and there to write their thoughts down….or it may be gone or never written in the same way again. So, although social media was not really where I had planned to put these thoughts, one day a discussion came up, and the inspiration to write my thoughts down were with me at that moment. I did respond on the post, but I also kept a copy of those thoughts to share here on my website. I will likely edit and add more as time allows.

PARENT TESTING:

May, 2015

With regard to genetic defects:

It can happen, even with all testing done. I sold a purebred puppy to a breeder a couple of years ago, who although tested within the first 6 months, could not get her puppy to pass hips with either OFA or PennHip. I replaced her puppy...more than I've received for potential parents I've bought more times than I care to admit, but have not panned out for our program and were pulled at a loss. In this case, however, the mom was OFA Excellent....the dad....OFA Good...so please tell me...what happened? In that same litter, we had a blind puppy. The only blind puppy in our breeding history. The mom was CERF cleared, and the dad has had no known history of eye issues. The breeding was never repeated.

Much of the testing available to breeders is subjective. Sometimes, common sense is more objective. The bottom line is how the breeder handles a situation with a puppy from a problem that is without a doubt, congenital or genetic. Hard to prove, but in some cases, again, common sense and customer service prevails.

I believe our studs should be tested at the very least within our program. Generally, they will sire many more puppies in their career than a female who might have 3 - 5 litters, sometimes less. Many purebred breeders who want to maintain a certain pedigree will intentionally use a cleared to an infected or carrier to reduce or eliminate the issue in future generations. In other words, if one parent is tested and cleared for known genetic defects in that breed, the likelihood of the problem in the offspring is reduced substantially. If we pulled every parent for every little defect, this can substantially and dangerously reduce the gene pool furthering issues instead of reducing them. However, likewise, in the case of both parents being tested and cleared, that is never a guarantee either. As stated above, I know this from first hand experience.

Keep in mind, seldom are our children born perfect. Having a brother born with spina bifida, yet overcoming most odds due to his determination and courage, as well as wonderful parents, he has a wonderful life, a wonderful wife and two wonderful children. Did anyone question my mom as to what she did to have caused this back in 1964? No. Do they now? I dare you. 

As "breeders" of animals, we find ourselves often being compared to "manufacturers" that have molds, and should produce "perfection" all the time. Yes. We must do what we do with responsibility and health in mind for our puppies with all reasonable resources available. And I admit, some may not, and "profit" is their main objective. "Profit" should never be criticized, however, as it is our choice of profession. Animal Right’s Activists ( AR Terrorists) and many Purebred breeders love to use this as a way to lable breeders as “questionable” (terminology somewhat conservative to reality) if they make any money at all in breeding, especially with the idea of creating wonderful, healthy and loving pets. Not everyone desires a puppy for the show ring, nor is the uncertainty of “rescues” the right match for every family. If there is a little left at the end of the day, it is good to know that our efforts (which is never certain and always guarantees heartbreak), often 24/7, are not in vain. 

However, nothing is sure proof, and nature can be cruel. When things don't go the way we hope, or the way we have worked so hard to ensure, then it is up to us to determine how the situation will be handled. In our history of breeding (and yes....we've had lots of puppies in 7 years....so take that ARA's), we have been asked for a full refund only 3 times to help with "medical" expenses for alleged genetic defects, 2 of which were "questionable", but all three of which we honored. I do hope that I have not opened myself up to those that would take advantage of us, as "respect" and "honesty" works both ways. 

When I was 15, I had a job at a privately owned pizza/sub shop. I remember my boss said to me, "The customer is always right". I know I looked at him like he had 4 eyes.....but years later, I understood exactly what he meant. A breeder should never be judged based on problems that may legitimately be a birth issue, but in how they handle the problem with the puppy family to whom they sold the puppy. Keeping in mind, the moment a puppy leaves the arms of a breeder into the arms of any puppy family....therein begins the "grey area" of time for which anything environmental can work against all involved.

God Bless, and thank you again for considering us as your breeder and trusting us to raise a wonderful addition to your family.

Tina Law, Owner & Operator
Lawpdoodle K9 Manor

PRICING OUR PUPPIES:

Written June 10. 2015

Here’s my philosophy, or opinion. Take it or leave it. 

When I first entered the Doodle world over 7 years ago in January of 2008, (Goldendoodles and Labradoodles), I did see prices range in the $2000 - $3000 range….maybe even higher. (Our current price for our Sheepadoodles is $1400).  I respect some of the reasoning and investment behind these prices from the breeders that charge them and their customers that trust them with these prices.

Sheepadoodles were not in the picture at the time….at least not for me.  That happened a year and a half later when we began our research in mid-2009. Pricing when a “rookie” breeder can be a challenge. You don’t want to “under price” your mentors, but you realize you are “new”, so that may play into your value or lack thereof? I decided to go with my heart. I wanted to price high enough to know that my customers were making a serious investment and decision about their puppy (a $100 - $200 puppy is easily disposable with little thought if it becomes inconvenient just a few short months later), yet within a price range of families like my own. That is, affordable if serious enough to make the sacrifices to make it work.

I have never been, never will be, nor to be perfectly honest, want to be “among the wealthy lifestyle”….no offense. It is just not a need or desire of mine. We have a simple lifestyle, with a few “rich” blessings (more than we deserve) and lots of unconditional love, the most valuable asset of all aside from our Faith. However, compared to many 3rd world countries we all tend to ignore….we are all wealthy! God Bless America!

I hold nothing against those that make good money for a living. I do not believe in making a villain out of those that have honestly earned their wealth and enjoy the benefits, nor do I believe (as often our government does) think they should be punished for making a good living. Charity should be a choice. This is America, after all!

Many of these families are my customers. I don’t believe any of them think less of me if my prices happen to be less than others. The old adage, “You get what you pay for” is true in many senses, but not always. Who I am, my reputation, testing, etc. does not justify ridiculous prices such as some of what they refer to as “elite” breeders…a term often given to themselves to justify those higher prices whether earned or not. I fell into that trap of thinking I had to meet certain criteria to receive certain “endorsements” for breeding….only to learn….most of these so-called “endorsements” were just taking my money for being part of “their club”.

My Club is my customers. My reputation is what I do and have done for my customers. Social media presents it’s own challenges, as too many believe the lies and slander against innocents that have done nothing wrong. Those that spread these lies are often trying to improve their own image, not by doing right by their customers and running an honest business, but by putting others down to make themselves look better.  Sometimes, I long for the days before “social media”, and yet I admit I benefit from it as well by word of mouth referrals and exposure to lead people to our business on the world wide web.

To wrap up my thoughts on this subject, something many don’t consider when pricing puppies, is our ongoing expenses for carring for our dogs and our breeding business. We put their health and welfare obove all else. The price we ask for puppies is NOT our profit. I know it may not be the way everyone does it, but it is the way we do it. Unlike that 2 times a month paycheck as an employee of a company, in this business (and others) things can and will go wrong. And those things can be very expensive. There are NO guarantees, except the monthly bills and expenses that do not care what problems or unexpected emergencies we endure. ARA’s say we do what we do for greed. I wonder….what do they do for a living? Do they operate their business 7 days a week? Do they cope with the heartache when nature gets the best of them? Do they live and breathe the breath of every animal within their care? I do. I dare them to take that away from me. I know God gave me my animals and guided me through my business. I plan to do everything within myt power He gave me to give them the best they deserve and be the best that I can for those that I serve.

Tina




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