a well-worded statement
by an unknown that says
it all for me.
|I Am A Breeder
My food receipts for a family of seven and my dog food bills match. My
water bill has doubled. My electric has tripled. It is I, a breeder, who when
my fridge quit, saved the dog meds and let the food go bad. My feet find
the way to the kennel before I have even grabbed a cup of coffee in the
morning and the kennel is my last stop before bed. While my friends are
on a cruise to the Bahamas and my family meets for Christmas, I am
home delivering puppies. I haven't had a real vacation in seven years, but
maybe soon. All plans are made around heat dates, whelp dates and vet
dates. I shower and 10 minutes later my grandkids say I smell like a dog.
My clothes are all stained with fecal matter, urine, afterbirth or bleach. I
have to remember to clean my shoes before church.
Most of my friends breed dogs. Who else can you call at 3 a.m. for
support? Who else has the experience I sometimes need, the med I
sometimes need, or just an uplifting word I sometimes need ? Who else
would understand how it feels to have invested hours and hours and hours
in a weak puppy to lose it? Or the joy in investing hours in one that lives?
I have slept on the floor beside a litter until the crucial two weeks have
passed. I have bottle fed a litter of 12, feeding every two hours and it
taking 90 minutes to do for weeks at a time. I have learned to be proficient
at micro-chipping, vaccinations, sub q fluids, bottle feeding and tube
My vet knows me by first name. The vet knows my children. The vet now
knows my grandchildren. My vet knows it was I who added on the wing to
the vet clinic.
I am a breeder.
It is to me that 63 days takes on new meaning still excited by every new
life. It is I who delivers all my pups, towels and heat lamps on ready,
happiness and sadness sometimes intermingled. Even though it increases
my work load, I look forward to the 10-day stage when eyes open, and
puppies begin to emerge from the helplessness of newborns. Puppy breath,
a first bark, and a heart for exploration. I am not uneducated,
unemployable, illiterate or lazy as some animal-rights folks would imply
of breeders. I am a conscientious lover of animals and I have found my
I am a breeder.
And although I feel no shame, there is a part of me that feels the need to
hide from powers that could come to invade my home and take my dogs
...maybe for finding a mild infraction, a leaf in the water dish? A kennel
not yet cleaned for the day? A rash I am home treating? I tell my children
and grandchildren to hush, do not tell others we are dog breeders, and I
wonder when did breeding puppies go into the same secret place as
I am a breeder and I am not cruel, dumb, uncaring or criminal. I am not
raking in money while sitting on my butt. Every penny I make I earn
through blood, sweat and tears. My greatest joy is a healthy puppy and a
wonderful home. The cards of thanks and the pictures of my puppy with
its new family is the fringe benefits of my efforts. I am an animal lover,
nurse, midwife, heavy laborer, customer service representative,
photographer, and marketer.
AND I am a breeder.