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


b© Lawpdoodle K9 Manor 2014