Sunday, September 19, 2010

Children of Men

Back from a long day of driving down to Halifax to get Leeloo's eyes tested by a veterinary opthamologist, she checked out all clear and her beautiful peepers are peeping just fine. That is test number 2 of 6, only 4 left to go! I will be waiting a bit until she is well clear of being in heat as that can affect some of the test results but everything should be completed by Christmas.

Raimi also needs three more tests to be done; hips, elbows and thyroid. He can be done sooner since being a boy, he pretty well stays on an even keel hormone-wise.

It's funny how we are so diligent with testing our dogs to ensure that the offspring we produce do not have health issues that can affect their quality of life and the pocketbook of their owners. Funny because we are not so diligent with ourselves. I would wager that if such rigorous health testing was required of humanity, the entire race would be extinct within a generation or two. The general public, and the media in particular, is so critical of purebred dog breeders; often misunderstanding or deliberating skewing the statistics and information they are 'researching'.  These same people, however, think nothing of having children knowing there is a cocktail of mental and health issues polluting their own 'pedigree'.  Their basic right to reproduce cannot be rescinded, regardless of the potential for future generations of health problems their own off spring may perpetuate and suffer. Sure there are billions be spent on research but woebetide the person who suggests we eliminate people from the gene pool should they be a sufferer of a genetic defect. And yet, that is exactly what responsible breeders do.

Over the course of the last 50 years responsible purebred dog breeders have spent hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars of their own money to support veterinary research. This research tries to identify problem DNA, genetic anomalies, debilitating health problems and to attempts to, if not completely rid a breed of a health concern, at least be able to minimize its affect on the breed as a whole.

How many of the shelter dog 'breeders' spent a red cent doing anything more than throwing a bitch in heat into the same room as an intact male and making a quick buck off the result? Those puppies are the product of thoughtless greed - no more no less. Ever hear of a backyard breeder not breeding because the sire of their puppies has serious allergies?  Certainly I encourage people to go to a humane society or shelter and get a dog from there if what they want is a family pet who deserves a better life than from whence it came - but do not expect it to be free of health problems - likely no health testing in any generation of that dog's pedigree has ever been done.

So, do not condemn the responsible breeder for pin-pointing genetic problems in their own breed - they do not do so to make themselves targets of criticism, they do so to ensure that future generations do not suffer as past have done. Breeders did not create the health issues, they were always there, it's unfortunate that selective breeding brought some of those issues to the fore, but life is a series of checks and balances, the trick is to find the middle.  As a responsible breeder I attempt to eliminate the bad, keep the good and produce healthy, balanced, sound and stable dogs ... take a walk through your local shelter and find me just one, I'll be very impressed if you do.

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