When I was looking for Boo, I wanted a working dog and not just a poodle. Each time I contacted a breeder, I was met with the same mantra "Poodles can do anything." Yes, poodles "can" do anything, but they don't all "do" anything. These lovely people didn't know that I owned a Hershey. If they had met my girl, their opinions might be different. I didn't just want a dog that "could" do agility, I wanted a dog who had at least SOME history of working in their lines. I was truly shocked at what I found when looking.
I was lucky enough, finally, to find Anutta poodles. Because I had titles on my dogs already, Becky was willing to trust me with one of her lovely dogs. Enter Boo:
From then on, we had established ourselves in the poodle/agility/obedience world firmly enough that we began to not just make new poodle friends, but poodle contacts. And, I must say, I love them all DEARLY!
Unfortunately, my experience isn't even close to being normal. I have friends who went in search of a poodle, and were met with some of the most outrageous behavior I've ever seen. One such friend abandoned her attempts at getting a standard poodle and went back to her previous breed of choice. I was with her when she was pretty much beat down by a poodle breeder/handler. I felt horrible for her, and yet I was helpless. The poodle world lost the chance to have our beautiful breed handled in obedience and agility by an excellent trainer.
I have other friends who were met with similar "walls of silence". Breeders who would barely give them the time of day for one reason or another; either they didn't currently own poodles, had not done agility in several years, or didn't want to show in the breed ring. Despite this, I see other breeders who are advertising puppies that are "left over" and looking for a home.
While I completely understand that a breeder isn't just a broker who deals in the trade of live animals. I understand that, I do. However, if I had been met with the resistance some of my friends have received, I would be sitting down pouring over the want ads looking for my next poodle. And the questionable breeders involved would gladly sell me a puppy---any puppy--just to get their hands on my money. Score 1 for the puppy mills!
I have mentioned how lucky I was to have been blessed with Boo. Becky has not only been the breeder of my heart dog, but has become a friend and a mentor. She is everything I would want in a breeder, concerned with every stage of Boo's life. Okay shameless plug for Anutta poodles. I can't help it. Here's her website. In the interest of playing fair, through Becky, we found Tintlet poodles for Hemi, her website is Here. Gloria has also exceeded our expectations as far as being a FABULOUS breeder. And, to complete the circle, Mingo came from Sandstorm miniature poodles, and has become a mentor for us as well as providing the adorable little black fuzzy luvbug mentioned in previous posts.
All that brings me to my point. I think it is imperative that responsible breeders take the time to consider the people on the other end of the phone, or e-mail chain, or standing across from them at a breed show. If someone has gone through the pains of seeking you out, they are (hopefully) concerned enough about the breed that they want to do what is right. This is a golden opportunity for our reputable breeders to help educate and guide the general public down the right path to dog ownership. If that person is met with snarkiness and nastiness, the likelihood of them opting for the want-ads goes up. It's enough to make someone sit down and ask themselves "is it really worth all this?" For those of us who have made it through the three tiers of super secret puppy procurement testing, we give a resounding YES! Not everyone has the willpower or the desire to jump through such hoops to get a great dog. I don't think this makes them a bad pet owner, it just means maybe they are working with a different set of criteria.
Reputable breeders are not the only ones who have criteria for placing their dogs that I feel can be oppressive. I have a friend who is not allowed to adopt a dog through rescue because she lives in an apartment. She is an avid agility competitor and her dogs are treated famously. Why is it that someone who has a fence automatically makes a better pet owner? Many rescues won't adopt to anyone with an intact dog at home, so reputable breeders are off the list. If a reputable breeder doesn't have intact dogs, they aren't breeding. Once again, this is another golden opportunity for rescue organizations to find a new class of wonderful pet owners out there.
So next time you are faced with someone who might not seem to fit into your idea of the perfect pet owner, take a second look. Ask yourself a couple of questions. 1.) Why did this person contact me instead of going to the want-ads, or Craig's list, or the pet store. 2.) What does this dog owner have to offer? You might be surprised at what you find.