Things Are Looking Up
The horrible mess being efficiently handled by Houston Collie Rescue didn’t happen over night. I came across a two page ad in the August 1988 CC of A Bulletin showing this lady’s bitch winning two all breed Best In Shows. How it deteriorated into what was found recently we may never completely understand. Since similar things have happened before in other places, it’s obvious it can happen and will again if steps aren’t taken to prevent it.
When we breed a litter, it carries with it some responsibilities for this breed of ours. Carefully selecting the sire and dam and being sure they deserve the right to reproduce is only the start. Proper care of the bitch and providing the right environment for her and her offspring as well as their diet follows suit. All the needs of the puppies such as shots, worming (if needed), and socialization including leash training should be followed as the age of the puppies dictate.
The other part of breeding dogs and selling them is the thing that can cause big problems. That is deciding who should be approved as a buyer. Do you screen prospective buyers, ask for their vet’s name, or some other references, or is just having the money to buy good enough? I know in our busy lives it may seem preposterous to suggest such steps, but there should be more to being a breeder than counting ribbons, points, and taking the money!
Since people can do things like have others buy dogs for them, it can be difficult to identify potential problems. The AKC used to have people that inspected kennels particularly ones who housed and sold large numbers. If that only happens after a legal action, then it’s probably too late. With all our computer programs there certainly should be one to highlight potential hoarding cases.
All this concern and gloom does have some silver linings, however. The people at Houston Collie Rescue are doing a tremendous job. They have removed these Collies from an unspeakable hell and have them headed to a decent existence through fostering and, as their condition allows, new forever homes. With the help of a group of volunteers, including vets, Houston Collie Rescue is showing us an example of what can be done to bring a terrible situation to a decent ending. Some of the most severe health and socialization cases will be difficult, but hopefully not insurmountable.
The other silver lining is the response of the dog community to this problem. Collie people and Collie clubs are donating to the effort, but it doesn’t stop there. A German Shepherd club has pitched in, too, and there may be others I’m not aware of as well.
Recently I found out two bits of news that made this old dinosaur brighten up considerably. First I heard that my ring steward for the Nebraska CC will be my old friend, Larry Willeford. It’s good to know you have someone first rate sharing your ring. Many thanks, Larry.
The second is that the Nebraska CC is holding an auction in conjunction with the show with the proceeds going toward Houston Collie Rescue. After that sank in it seemed appropriate for the old dinosaur to hop on the bandwagon of such a good cause.
Over the years I’ve accumulated a substantial library of Collie publications. Considering where the show is, I knew rather quickly which one would be most appropriate to donate for this auction. Years ago when visiting Steve Field in Omaha I mentioned that I’d always wanted a copy of Dr. O.P. Bennett’s classic old book “The Collie.” As I was preparing to leave he went to the bookshelf and took down his copy and gave it to me as a gift. I’m not sure where Steve got it, but I know he enjoyed it, as have I, and now it’s time for someone else to do so. Whoever gets this book should treat it carefully and with respect just as we might hope for the Collies we’re trying to help.
There can be silver linings in the darkest clouds.
Think about it!