I just received a very important show photo in the mail recently. I realized I’d mentioned it on our kennel’s Facebook page, but not here. Shame on me! I know many of you have been following Sassy’s journey since she arrived with us, and I am thrilled to announce that she is now a Grand Champion! To some of the larger kennels with many dogs this may not be a huge deal, but it is to me. I don’t have the unlimited funds that some do, either, so when someone said that the sport of showing purebred dogs was built on the backs of the average person, they were right. Those of us who have kids at home, not-so-flexible schedules, drive our family vehicles–seats pulled out, the smell of dog permeating everything, crates stacked and packed in as tight as they can go–and have to budget for weekend dog show trips or handlers for when we cannot get there ourselves; we are the ones who are the lifeblood of this sport. Some might disagree, but even as jaded as I am about dog shows, there are those of us out there who still believe it is about (or should be about) having fun with your dog and having your dog honestly evaluated against other worthy examples of the breed.
Beyond the snotty ringside comments, the my-dog-is-better-than-your-dog looks being tossed about with great ferocity, the rude folks who look at newcomers to the sport as if they are idiots and not worthy to be there, there are those who still believe everyone has a shot, that the first-timer has a right to be evaluated just as much as the dog owned by a more well-known kennel that cranks out champions by the truckload. There are wonderfully encouraging folks who are eager to help. You just have to keep moving forward, don’t get caught up in the hype and just do what you need to do for yourself and your dog(s).
The sport of purebred dogs is one of great controversy. Many believe that those of us who are working to preserve our breed(s) are responsible for the deaths of all the shelter/rescue dogs who could have taken the place of the pups we are bringing into the world; that all breeders are the same.
I disagree with this.
As someone who rescued, fostered and rehabilitated many dogs and cats over the last 20+ years, it is my opinion that those responsible for indiscriminate breeding of animals for nothing but profit (backyard breeders, dog fighters and the like) are the ones responsible for the overflowing numbers of animals in shelters and rescues. I have yet to meet one single BYB’er that ever health tested an animal prior to breeding. Since health testing is rather expensive, I would wager to say this is why it is not done. Since to these folks breeding is all about the almighty dollar and not breeding sound animals, of course they don’t give two shits about hips, elbows, hearts, eyes, temperament or anything else about the animals they are breeding. The same goes for the “I just want a puppy from him/her,” crowd. In addition to perpetuating preventable conditions in these animals, weeding out disease and preserving proper temperament, these types of “breeders” are causing so much damage it is incalculable. From the 9 month old Labrador that had to be euthanized because his hip dysplasia was so severe to the Golden Retriever puppies who had to be euthanized before their first birthdays due to severe aggression to the countless Pit Bull type dogs euthanized every single day because someone saw an easy dollar–I’ve seen these cases firsthand and many, many more.
If you get into breeding dogs because you think it will make you rich, you are woefully mistaken. Between the genetic testing, the vet care, training, housing, feeding, handler fees, gas and hotel fees, stud fees, not to mention maintaining a decent show-worthy wardrobe, you are more likely to be in the hole financially. Sometimes emotionally as well. “So why do it?” you may ask. The answer is simple:
For the love of the breed.
To see something worth saving; worth preserving for future generations of dog fanciers. To preserve something as it should be, so it is not lost. It is for that reason that I scrimped and saved to buy my first show dog back in my 20’s, and it was for that reason that even after she had to be spayed following a leg injury that I kept dreaming (through failed marriage, through kids, through the ups and downs of life) of one day getting to dive again into the craziness that is the world of purebred dogs and somehow leave a mark.
I have been blessed to be able to have acquired such amazing examples of my breed, to have been mentored by knowledgeable people willing to teach, share and help. I have been blessed with a spouse who is very understanding. I have been blessed with a life that allows me to spend so much time with these amazing animals with whom I share my home and so much of my time.
So, without further ado, here are the photos of my very first Grand Champion:
We are pleased to be able to take part in these 3 hops! Please click on each badge individually to be taken to each of the hops. Lots of good pet-related stuff there. We love Trio-Hop Thursdays!