Tuesday, September 29, 2009

more on responsible breeders

To add my thoughts to the post below on breeders, breeding at all is a controversial subject within rescue. I personally would never buy a dog or puppy but I am not against RESPONSIBLE breeding. Like the post says, responsible breeders show their breed of choice and only breed those dogs that enhance the desired traits of that breed. They have all the recommended health clearances and would never breed a dog that passes on known health problems. Their dogs are sold with strict contracts which include spay/neuter for pets that will not be shown. They always take their dogs back if the original placement doesn't work out, oftentimes at a loss financially. In fact in many cases, responsible breeders make no money at all, not after the costs of shows and vet care and limiting the number of litters to those dogs that meet their requirements. Most of these people show and raise their dogs from a love of the breed, and their dogs rarely add to the problem.

While of course we prefer you get your new dog or puppy from rescue, and just about any breed you prefer has and will show up at a local dog pound, if you want to buy your puppy, then look for a responsible breeder. Yes you might pay a bit more or wait a while longer but you know what you're getting, and you are not contributing to the problem. For more information on finding a responsible breeder, click this pdf prepared by the Humane Society of the United States.
How to find a good breeder (pdf)

Another controversy within rescue is the purchase of puppy mill dogs and puppies, either from auctions or directly from the puppy miller. Yes, those purchased dogs are "rescued" and no longer have to endure the horrid life of a puppy mill dog. Still that puppy miller is making money, no different than buying a dog from a petstore. Not only do some rescues add to their available dogs in this manner, puppy mill brokers have realized that by calling themselves "rescue" they can increase their appeal to the general public and sell more dogs. Like one of the dog wardens I know said, when you look at a "rescue's" list of available dogs, where are the older dogs? The mixed breed dogs and puppies? A "rescue" that only has high demand purebred puppies is certainly lining the bank account of a puppy mill breeder, and accordingly that breeder will continue to breed dogs to sell. They don't care who buys them or why. For more information on finding a responsible rescue, click here:
What to look for in a reputable rescue

While we do have many puppy mill-type breeders in this area and Planned Pethood does get those dogs when they're dumped in local dog pounds, either because they've been replaced with different dogs or because they have health problems the breeder doesn't want to deal with, one of the bigger problems in this area are backyard breeders. These are people with a couple of purebred dogs (probably with AKC papers, which anyone with a purebred dog can acquire) who sell puppies for extra cash. These dogs are sold via newspaper ads or through the internet, with little or no screening, no follow-up or spay/neuter, and those dogs or the puppies they breed DO end up in local dog pounds all the time. I've heard people say only sick or aggressive dogs end up in dog pounds. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Over 6+ years of visiting local dog pounds on a regular basis, I have seen every breed you can find locally, most breeds many many times. Even rarer or harder to find dogs still end up on death row from time to time.

In summary, do your homework. Not only do you have to make sure the breed or dog you want is appropriate for your circumstances, you also need to make sure that who you get it from isn't a part of the problem. It's a lot to undertake but considering your dog will be a part of your life for 10-15 years, and especially considering the millions of dogs who are euthanized every year in this country, most for no other reason than they're "surplus," isn't that bit of extra effort worth it?

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Growing up in the Midwest I have always been an Ohio State Buckeye fan! Hang on Sloopy! The best dern band in the land...you get the picture. Now I am converted.

Kathryn Meurs, a veterinarian at Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine has identified the mutant gene responsible for Boxer Cardiomyopathy. This is an inherited electrical conduction defect that causes an irregular heartbeat. The heart is unable to pump blood efficiently causing side effects from fainting to sudden death. If a puppy receives the gene from just one parent, he or she can be affected. Even a boxer-mix can be effected (that is all me and my girl Stella). Anyway, a DNA test to screen for the gene is now available from WSU, costing approximately $60.00. So the long and short, hopefully breeders will responsibly acknowledge and use the test and most importantly, boxer pet owners can manage the disease.WSU College of Veterinary MedicineVeterinary Cardiac Genetics LabSee vetmed.wsu.edu/deptsVCGL/Boxer/test.aspx or call 509-335-6038.

--Jennifer Herbert

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What is a breeder?

The definitions below were written by Marjorie Simon, relative of a volunteer. Ms. Simon is well known B/F for Brussels Griffon. Some additional information was added to Ms. Simon's explanation as it pertains to our local community.

What is a Breeder?

Breeder Fanciers (B/F) breed for one reason and that is to better the breed and to exhibit dogs in AKC shows and trials [in the efforts to gain comfirmation points]. B/F carefully screen their buyers and agree to buy back their dogs for the sales price if the dog doesn’t fit into the new home. They stand behind every dog they breed for the life of the dog. They test their breeding dogs for inheritable problems by using appropriate screening protocols. They breed primarily for themselves. You may have to wait several years in order to get a dog from a good B/F.
B/F would never sell to a third party like a pet shop where they never get to meet or interview the person buying their dog. They spay and neuter their pet quality pups before they sell them.
Backyard Breeders (BB) breed with the sole intention of selling dogs to make extra money. They do not test their breeding stock for inheritable problems. They usually have breeding pairs and sell their puppies on the internet and classified ads in the newspapers. They do not stand behind their dogs should problems come up. They have no history of their breeding lines, knowledge of breed type, breed in ignorance thus creating health problems and do not hold back puppies not meeting breed standards. Buyer beware!! They tell rescues that they don't have their animal spay/neutered because it's a purebreed. Many purebreed dogs you can purchase through the paper, Craig's List, etc do not have confirmation points or a Champion award.

Puppy Mill Breeders (PMB) supply pet shops with puppies. Pups are picked up by distributors from different puppy mills and are taken from their mothers at a very early age. They are then brought to a warehouse where they are inventoried and packed on trucks for delivery to pet shops or auctions. This brings them to the pet shops by the time they are seven or eight weeks old. Their survival rate is poor and their heath is compromised.
Some PMB specialize in only small breeds. They sell their pups at swap meets to anyone who will buy them. They advertise champions and some do show their dogs at isolated shows that usually don’t have any other of that breed in the competition. These BB or PMB will enter enough of their own dogs so there will be points to make one of their dogs a Champion. We use to call these ‘cheap champions’ but with the price of an entry fee it is not cheap to make a dog a champion this way. A Ch. in front of a dog’s name does not mean it is a well bred dog either does an AKC registration. Pet shops buy from PMB or BB.

Within the NW Ohio area there are "rescues" that purchase puppies at auction from PMB. They claim they have rescued the dog, but really they are supporting an industry. The price they charge is surprising, the animals are often ill and they are not spay or neutered.

Planned Pethood gets lots of purebreed dogs and cats. All those animals come from legitimate pounds and humane societies where the animal would have otherwise been put to sleep. We have reason to suspect many of the dogs in pounds are a PM's breeding stock that have been cast aside for whatever reason.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Instructions for washing a dog

So tonight, after inhaling the aroma from Kiera for almost 2 weeks now I decided it was time for a BATH. To say Kiera doesn't like bathes is to say Angus is a trite skittish.

Step by step instructions follow:

1. Gather supplies, you will need at least 2 large clean towels, shampoo and something to dip water with.
2. Start running nice warm water in the tub
3. Get Kiera (Huske-German Shepherd mix foster dog) into bathroom.
4. Close bathroom door to keep others out (Are you kidding? They won't come near the room with water running unless its ME in the tub!) and to keep Kiera IN.
5. Try to lift the 50-60lb dog into tub. She promptly gets rubber back legs that gracefully collapse into a very good lay down.
6. Try again. Again, the front legs go up but don't quite go INTO the tub, back legs collapse down. Gosh my back is starting to hurt!
7. With herculean effort we manage to get (her paws are splayed out at this point) the front feet into the tub! HOORAH!
8. Now the back and hindquarters get lifted in to tub. Did you know Kiera can make her back end weigh more then her front end? Well, she can!
9. At this point I am telling her she had best be grateful we aren't outside using the COLD water hose, but in a fairly clean tub with warm water! I don't think she's buying it.
10. Wet down the dog. Yeah, she loves that... NOT
11. Squeeze out a generous amount of shampoo onto said dog's back.
12. Rub briskly, may have to add more water as you go along to get a good lather. Move onto the sides, underbelly, legs, neck, head and tail. Oh yeah, she LOVES getting her ears washed.
13. Use more shampoo as required. The conditioning shampoos work nicely and smells much better then what ever was all over her.
14. Once we are done soaping the dog, begin the rinse procedure. Remember to keep pushing dog back into tub. A body blocking move is required here, just remember to stay in front of the dogs head to prevent escape.
15. With your dipping device, (now why the hell didn't I get something bigger then this little thing?) scoop water up and onto the dog, rinsing away the soap suds. Since the dog may have a thick coat (hell I wish I had that much hair) you will have to scoop enough times to get the soap out down to the skin. So why the heck did I use so much shampoo?
16. Once the dog is rinsed properly, get your bath mat out onto the floor so you can assist her onto it from the tub. Instead, she jumps out and promptly shakes all over everything. By this point I could be a fill in for the wet t-shirt contest, except for the fact I have a bra on because otherwise. . .er-umm. . . hang to the...well you get the idea.
17. Once the darling dog has shaken her self, clean off your glasses and find the towels, sit down on the ceramic floor you so lovingly laid last summer-OH CRAP there is a ton of water on the floor and you are sitting in it! Well you are wet already what's a bit more? Begin to vigorously wipe down the dog. Hmmm remember all that hair? Yep, takes a while. She is being very helpful at laying down like a good girl. Geesh, the bathroom is steamy!
18. Once you have the dog basically, partially, sort of dried off you carefully open the door to the rest of the house. At this point, Kiera bursts out of the bathroom and hauls hinny down the hall.
19. Empty the water from the tub, mop up the floor.
20. Head to living room to observe newly cleaned dog rubbing herself all over your couch. Right where I am about to sit. Did I mention she was still a trite wet?
21. She's resting now from her ordeal, I'm pouring a beverage and in just a few minutes I will jump up and clean the bathroom, then still sipping my beverage I will take a long soaking bath in the gleaming clean tub. And NO Kiera cannot have any of my wine!

-- Debbie Gring

Who's on the phone?

“My husband just left me and the kids, we have this dog that I just cannot keep right now. . . I don’t make enough money to keep the roof over our heads, just don’t know what we are going to do…this dog is wonderful (her voice breaks) we love him a lot, but just cannot keep him but we want to find him a good home . . . can you help?”

These calls are real, the circumstances are real. When people in the public call us at 419.826.FIXX (3499) they are prompted to leave a message. These are examples of calls from the FIXX line as retrived by our volunteers. FIXX line volunteers are part of the group of heros making up Planned Pethood.

“I have a cat that needs to be spay, I live on $500 a month and can’t afford it…can you help?”

These volunteers retrieve messages from our various mail boxes once a week on their assigned day.

“My vet says that you have a program where we can get our cat neuter done at a discounted rate…can you help?”

The FIXX line coordinator ensures each day is covered to assist with these calls. Often she fills in for someone who is away or ill. We have 1 volunteer for each day but several of them answer more than one line

“I’m really interested in one of the dogs on the website, but would like to know a little more information about her…can you help?”

Some calls are fun, like the people looking for a new pet. What a rewarding job to help them connect with their possible new best friend.

“We found a dog on the expressway just now, he seems really nice but we can’t keep him . . . can you help?” "We found a mama cat nursing a litter of kittens under a bush on our walk tonight . . . can you help?"

Sometimes the animals are unloved and unwanted, sometimes they are “problem children”, sometimes they are truly part of the family who for no fault of their own find themselves homeless.

"We adopted Sassy from you last year. Our house is in foreclosure and we have to move in with my mom who will not allow us to bring Sassy with us. We have to return Sassy back to Planned Pethood . . . can you help?"

We always take our animals back. Always.

The FIXX line volunteers laugh with callers, cry with callers and try to help them all. We are always in need of volunteers, if you are interested please contact debgring@gmail.com.

It feels good to help people even when it hurts- just listening and offering condolences, a bit of empathy, a laugh at a happy time, a tear at a sad time. It's all part of volunteering for an animal rescue organization. Somehow even at the end of the worst days possible, we know we helped. Won’t you help too? If doing telephones isn’t your thing, there are many other jobs that need to be done that don’t require fostering or even much time!