A Breeder's Life
Breeder (with a capital B) is one who thirsts for knowledge and never really knows it all, one who wrestles with decisions of conscience, convenience, and commitment. One that shares this knowledge and guides those interested.
A Breeder is one who sacrifices personal interests, finances, time, friendships, fancy furniture, and deep pile carpeting! She gives up the dreams of a long luxurious cruise in favor of turning that all important show into this year's "vacation".
A Breeder goes without sleep in hours spent planning a breeding or watching anxiously over the birth process, and afterwards, over every little wiggle or cry.
A Breeder skips dinner parties because that litter is due or the babies have to be fed at eight. She disregards birth fluids and puts mouth to mouth, to save a gasping newborn, literally blowing life into a tiny helpless creature that may be the culmination of a lifetime of dreams.
A Breeder's lap is a marvelous place where dogs of proud and noble heritage often snooze.
A Breeder's hands are strong and firm and often soiled, but ever so gentle and sensitive to the thrusts of a puppy's wet nose.
A Breeder's back and knees are usually arthritic from bending and sitting in the whelping box, but are strong enough to guide that new little pup to maturity.
A Breeder's shoulders are often heaped with responsibility, but they're wide enough to support the weight of a thousand defeats and frustrations.
A Breeder's arms are always able to wield a mop, support an armful of puppies, or lend a helping hand to a newcomer.
A Breeder's ears are wondrous things, sometimes red (from being talked about), or strangely shaped (from being pressed against a phone receiver). Often deaf to criticism, yet always fine tuned to the whimper of an anxious puppy.
A Breeder's brain is foggy on faces, but can recall pedigrees faster than an IBM computer.
THE BREEDER’S HEART is often broken, but it beats strongly with hope everlasting.......and it's always in the right place!
Oh, yes, there are breeders, and then, there are BREEDER’S!!!
I am a Breeder
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 grand-kids 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 feeding.
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 niche.
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 criminal activity?
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, and marketer.
AND I am a breeder.