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Who Cares ? ("just a pet")

guest article by Anne V. McGuire, © 1997

This gem about responsible dog breeding and why it's just as important for a litter intended to be "just pets" comes through the Bouvier e-mail list. The author's notice says "Copyright 1997 Anne V. McGuire. May be reprinted and distributed in its entirety only, whole and unedited, for educational purposes ONLY and free of charge." Please respect that. I present it uneditied and unabridged, save for the needed html mark-up.

Though the article speaks about Bouviers, the same considerations would apply to any breed, though the working heritage (if any) would be different. My only quibble is that strong working drives (herding or otherwise) are not necessarily what everyone wants in a companion dog. But I'd agree that it's important to keep these abilities in at least some "working lines" in our working purpose heritage breeds.

I have often said that "Pet is not a 4 letter word". This article expands on that theme.

(I do have to add that I've rescued quite a few Bouviers who were bred by the type of "breeder" Anne describes, indeed some from even worse sources, which were actually very nice dogs and who became cherished companions of their adopters. But still anyone choosing a puppy would be wise to get one from a highly responsible breeder who strives to produce the kind of dog they hope their puppy will become.)

Who Cares ? ("just a pet")

by Anne V. McGuire, Copyright 1997

from the Bouvier e-mail list


The litter was bred to be just pets.

The breeder made sure the sire and dam had their hip and eye clearances, but she really didn't know about their littermates, their sires, their dams, their grandparents, etc. She really didn't care; these pups were to be pets only. The breeder just knew her female was beautiful and the sire always got lots of compliments from his vet. But the breeder had never bothered to show the dogs to see if they really measured up to the breed standard or not. To see if anyone else in the world thought they were beautiful too. She didn't care; these pups were just to be pets. The breeder was sure the sire and dam were very smart and trainable and had good temperaments. But she didn't care enough to prove it to the rest of the world by earning a basic level obedience title, or even a Canine Good Citizen certificate on either. They were only pets. The breeder thought these pups would make terrific herding dogs; so she told the buyer who came looking for a herding companion. She just knew the sire and dam would have been good herding dogs. Of course, they had no herding experience, no herding titles, not even a Herding Certificate. She didn't care; their puppies were only to be pets. Her buyer walked away in disgust...HE wanted MORE than just a pet. HE wanted a good herding companion.

The breeder didn't care... Her puppies were JUST to be pets, no more....

The buyers came and bought their pets. They didn't care that the breeder didn't know the full health background behind their puppy...it was JUST a pet. They didn't care if the sire or dam met the breed standard or not. They didn't care that their puppy might NOT grow up to look like a breed standard Bouvier des Flandres....it was just a pet. They didn't care that the temperament and trainability of the sire and dam were unproven...their puppy was just a pet and they were SURE it would be sweet and good with kids because ALL Bouviers are, RIGHT?

They didn't CARE... It was JUST a pet...

Until it came up lame at 8 months of age and the vet said severe hip dysplasia, expensive surgery needed. Until they found they could NOT control the puppy and they couldn't seem to train it. Until the puppy BIT the baby and it took 20 stitches at the hospital to close the wound. Then they CARED...enough to promptly dump the puppy at the nearest animal shelter. Maybe someone else will care enough to fix the problems. Maybe someone else will care enough to give the puppy a hug before he is put to sleep FOREVER. The breeder didn't care, she had another litter just born that were just pets.


Don't people buying a puppy for a pet have a right to a puppy that is healthy and has the BEST possible chances of staying healthy for its entire life? Don't they have a right to a puppy that will grow up to LOOK like a bouvier? Don't they have a right to a puppy that WILL have a good temperament and be easily trained? Don't they have a right to a puppy that is a HERDER in addition to a BOUVIER? HOW can a breeder ensure that her dogs will have all these traits if she doesn't TEST them? Would you REALLY want a puppy from a breeder who doesn't CARE? What chances does that puppy really have if its breeder doesn't care that much and is willing to settle for ėjust pets?î Would you want someone BUYING a puppy when they DON'T CARE? What chance does that puppy have if the buyer right from the start doesn't really care about what they are buying?

The rescues, shelters and *landfills* in this country are FULL of "just pets."

Some of us CARE! Do you?

(Copyright 1997 Anne V. McGuire. May be reprinted and distributed in its entirety only, whole and unedited, for educational purposes ONLY and free of charge)


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