Podcast coming soon!!

Well we are back from Orlando and have decided to start our own podcast. Orlando was awesome, Rolo finished his CM2 and won a group first as well as a group 3rd. Rolo is now mostly retired from the AKC rings, he will probably come back out for Orlando 2019 and that’s it.

To those that know us, know that we love podcasts. We listened to My Favorite Murder on our drive to Orlando and back from Orlando. I am a member of their fan cult and listen to podcasts daily at work. So while listening to This Podcast Will Kill You, I came up with the idea for a podcast called “About a Dog”, it will be a weekly podcast that features every single dog breed. The breed features will be down to earth, share real stories on how each breed impacts people, why each breed should be preserved, where to go to get information about the particular breed, and a scale of our own making called “would you own one?” We want this podcast to be fun and informative, while highlighting breeds, that in many cases are critically endangered, and letting the general public learn.

This blog will be the official host for the podcast and so episodes will be popping up here on a weekly basis.

Rescue Issues

Generally with the blog I try and make the focus more geared toward the Hamiltonstovare. I am going to try my very best and relate it to the experiences that I have with Hamiltosntovare and other breeds. As I have mentioned previously, there is a rescue problem with Hamiltonstovare. The problem is complex and will not be solved overnight.

Generally I think that there are a select few of rescues that are in it to help animals. I am sure that most started in order to help animals. However, rescue by nature should be focused on one primary goal and that is someday to close because the rescue problem has been solved. Most rescues do not operate that way at all, I think most municipal shelters try and run that way but the independent rescues do not.

The nature of rescues and shelters especially with dogs, can easily get fixed because they are spaying and neutering nearly every animal that comes in within 48 hours. Most dogs that are pets have never been around an intact dog, period. Some totals and estimates show that an alarming 75%+ of all dogs are spayed/neutered in America. There will be a serious shortage of dogs regardless of breed and situation within the next ten years just because there are so little that actually are allowed to reproduce. Shelters and rescues are already seeing shortages in their area and are regularly importing dogs from other states and even countries to meet the demand of a rescue dog.

Hamiltosntovare rescue is no exception, Ruger, Brutus, Renegade, and Eve are just a few examples of dogs that were transferred from one shelter to another. Ruger, Brutus and Renegade were transferred hundreds of miles across state lines from Virginia to New Hampshire or Massachusetts. Some will say as long as those dogs get great homes then what’s the issue. The issue is that you run the risk of transporting hidden diseases and also run the risk of people doing horrible things to make sure that dogs are rescued. Currently, the purebred dog fancy knows that there are several rescues around the country that will break into homes, walk on people’s property with the sole intention of stealing dogs just to meet the demand for a rescue. I have seen rescues make up sob stories to get a dog adopted faster (Renegade is an example, he was found with a number dyed on his side, the rescue said it was chemically burned there but myself and the shelter know that it was done with a pet safe bleaching agent done for the purposes to identify the dog in a field trial.) I have also seen rescues lie about a breed and say that a breed is one thing instead of another to get it adopted faster, and I have also seen rescues intentionally lie about where a dog was found in order to make sure that the original owners never find it.

What most people do not know is that Animal Rights is not something that any dog person should ever support. Animal Rights is a movement supported by PETA, HSUS and ASPCA that want to end all pet ownership. Animal Rights tries to push for donation money in order to push legislation that will make sure that pet ownership is eliminated. Those main groups also make sure to give money to owners of privately owned rescue groups that are local lobbyists. So those rescue dogs could mainly just be a method to prove that the lobbyist isn’t the scum of the earth and has a heart. In my state, Virginia, that is going on very heavily. The Richmond SPCA is run by a person who is a lobbyist and is funded by the HSUS. The person that runs the Richmond SPCA left her own dog in a hot car and let it die but yet people adopt hundreds of animals from them every week.

One experience that I had with a rescue personally proved to me that every person who decides to adopt a dog needs to do their research, visit the facility, ask about prior care and even ask about financial returns versus profit returns. Most rescues should be a 501(c)3 non-profit organization so they should not show a profit, nor should they over-pay their associates to make sure that they don’t turn a profit. My fiancé worked at a big-name pet retailer for years and this retailer had an agreement with a rescue to allow adoptions to take place one day a week. So when a litter of 3 week old kittens was found, abandoned they contacted that rescue. That rescue made no effort to ensure that the kittens that weren’t weaned were picked up and given emergency treatment. So my fiancé brought one of the kittens home as no rescue group was willing to take them. Several associates took one kitten each home that night. Our male kitten was covered in fleas, eyes were still blue, could barely walk and barely had teeth. So we immediately crafted a natural flea treatment, started him on a milk replacer/wet food combination and took over the role of mother cat to him. He was too weak to be transported back to the store but others brought their kittens in. The rescue arrived and immediately started threatening my fiancé because they said that he stole their kitten and demanded a $100+ adoption fee and application for the kitten that was never in their possession. He refused and legally there was nothing that the rescue could do. The little kitten had a few set-backs at first but after a week he began to grow and grow. He has stayed with us ever since and he will be 2 years old in a few months. That same rescue is still in operation today but no longer has an agreement with that retail store because they were placing unvaccinated animals up for adoption, arriving late to the store, and kept the animals in a horrible condition.

The term retail rescue is going around the dog fancy right now and most people in the dog fancy agree that it happens, a lot. I see it with my involvement with Hamiltonstovare rescue. I sent an email to a rescue in Virginia Beach just requesting more information about a few dogs. I can almost guarantee that I will not hear from them and I am almost certain that these dogs will be adopted quickly because of the rare breed interest. To me what sends up red flags regarding a rescue is one that conducts adoptions in a retail store, has discounted adoptions around holidays, and boasts about numbers adopted. Most adoptions done at a retail store are impulse adoptions and are designed to prey on people who like the cute animal in a window, most of the time there is an application done but never a home visit and are more concerned about the check clearing than anything else. Rescues that boast about numbers, like a local rescue adopted out 200+ dogs in 2 days, etc., no way have the ability to make sure that every home is just right, let alone do home visits and follow-up checks.

However, these rescues are the first ones to vilify breeders and call us greeders. They also will spread around such catch phrases as “adopt don’t shop”. Most responsible breeders never turn a profit in the amount that these rescues are. Most responsible breeders perform follow ups for each puppy sold for the puppy’s entire life. I know that my puppy owners made their choice and decision based on research, communication and are willing to build a relationship with me. I pride myself on being their SME with their puppy. I do not know of a single rescue or shelter that is willing to put in that kind of dedication for each dog that they adopt out. I am in no way saying that all rescues and shelters are bad but what I am saying is that regardless of how a person decides to get their next pet, that research is required. 

Puppy Talk and Socialization: why I don’t breed a lot

Generally in this day in age when you tell people that you are a breeder, regardless of the breed, they think that you are surrounded by puppies every single day. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Most responsible breeders don’t have puppies around all the time, but for a few brief moments and then devote countless hours planning the next litter and following up with those produced.

My first litter of puppies was not something that I planned fully and just happened. My list of lessons learned is about a mile long. The next litter that I am even considering is 2016, I personally don’t see how a person working 40+ hours a week can breed a litter every year. I need some breathing room. This first litter was highly anticipated just because of the parents alone. So when Alice kept everybody on their toes then it was no surprise to me. Alice has always been a dog that kept everybody guessing. The emergency c-section was a two-fold situation. The first was that Alice’s temperature went from 100.6-98.7 between days 58-63. It is enough to drive any breeder crazy. Between days 60-63, I was having Alice go through an ultrasound to make sure everything was ok. After a solid 24 hours within 98F range and yet no puppy or any sign that she would ever push, I went nuts with my emergency vet who monitored her and then the final ultrasound at the reproductive vet showed signs of fetal distress. So the puppies arrived amid stress and freaking out on my part on May 21, 2014 around 11am. At that point, we realized the issue was a puppy had died around day 56/57 and was mummified.

As soon as Alice and her 4 puppies arrived home, the real work began. The puppies were monitored for weight, ability to nurse and other vital signs. Around day 3, I started the Super Dog program of early neurological stimulation. The Super Dog program lasted until they were 13 days old. It consisted of various movements, stimulation of the feet, and exposure to brief periods of cold. It may seem strange but it really worked, every puppy hit their milestones 2+ days ahead of schedule. All 4 puppies have no issues with any sort of anxiety and all are extremely friendly. After their Super Dog program ended, they were exposed to various people in a controlled environment. As such, these puppies seek out people for comfort and really enjoy the company of people. That is a huge change from their parents who have great temperaments but aren’t very affectionate nor to the truly seek out people for companionship (other than me, they adore me almost to a fault).

After the puppies started walking is when I started instinct testing them. They would be exposed to rabbit scent and pelts. Then they were exposed to fox scent and a fox tail. After they were old enough to run, I would take a rabbit pelt and tie it to a lunge line to see how their natural prey instincts were. During the instinct testing and exposure is when I started housebreaking and leash breaking.

All of these things take time and effort, and that is the main reason I do not breed that often. I am devoted to each and every puppy, not just the pick of the litter or the one I am planning on keeping. I make sure that each puppy is well rounded, healthy (both mentally and physically), and ready to leave before their new owners come and pick them up. Also, I have to think about every single time I breed that complications could happen. I want to have Alice with me as long as possible and to lose her while producing a litter of puppies seems very selfish. As such, Alice will only be bred one more time and then that’s it. Her daughters will never be breeding machines either, they will only be bred 1-2 times total. I don’t believe in repeat breedings (Rolo is a product of one, which I am glad but they aren’t for me). I believe in the Swedish model which is making sure that genes do not become too prevalent within a population and cause a bottleneck. 

Breeding is a joy in that I get to mold the next generation of Hamiltonstovare in America. It isn't for everybody because if you think of things in a financial speak, you will lose money almost every single time. However, when you breed you can honestly see the future of the breed right in front of you. I want what is best for them and care deeply about how they impact the breed as a whole.