This originally started as a small post on a Facebook page. The page of a small, but serious breeder of working German Shepherd dogs. How small? Two litters per year would be a virtual tidal wave. One litter, with all pups firmly placed before conception, is more our speed. We’re good with that, because our focus is on training our dogs, titling them in various disciplines, and enjoying watching the breed stay faithful to the standards set by our forbears. More than a hobby, less than a career, but still a daily sacrament. We never really “marketed” ourselves, didn’t have a website, and Facebook was merely an afterthought. We didn’t feel the need.
But with the training work that we have built up, and the other aspects of the dog world that have enveloped us, we decided to open up to the world in a limited fashion. And thus was born, “Heart Land Working Dogs.” www.germanshepherds.websiteworks.com
This post is not meant as an advertisement for this endeavor, so I’ll not expand on our business. Feel free to explore the website above, or our Facebook page for more information. https://www.facebook.com/Heart-Land-Working-Dogs-552374448277059/
What needs to be said here, came about as a result of a half dozen phone calls, and several personal messages from Facebook users. Calls that began to get on my last good nerve…I tried posting a simple response to the subject on the facebook page, but it sounded awful as I read it to myself…and I realized that other, much larger and more professional breeders, must have the same situation as us, and yet they are reticent to say something lest they too appear, “selfish”, or “heartless”. But this needs to be said on behalf of all serious breeders out there today. If you can’t find the words, feel free to use mine…
WE ARE NOT A CHARITY THAT GIVES AWAY LIVING CREATURES TO EVERY SOB STORY THAT PRESENTS ITSELF TO OUR BUSINESS.
There, it’s been said. Let the chips fall where they may.
In the course of about 6 weeks, we have had many calls regarding puppies. (of our latest litter, we have only a male left, and he’s staying) Six pups have been placed with serious dog people wanting a new team mate. Schutzhund, Agility, Law Enforcement, whatever. People willing to fill out a 5 page application, commit to training, and follow thru. They are also eager to “stay in the family” so to speak, allowing us to watch and share in the accomplishments of each dog as it grows. Perfect.
But a whole subset of our communique’s have started this way: “Do you still have puppies? Our Uncle Bill recently lost his 23 year old dog, and he’s heart broken! We are looking for a well bred German Shepherd for him, but we can’t pay more than $50.00. We prefer to find a breeder willing to donate a “washout” for free. Do you have any “washouts”?
Or my new favorite:
“I have Cerebral Palsy, PTSD, cervical cancer, and severe gout, and I want a service dog. But I only want a German Shepherd, cuz’ I’m allergic to Labs and Retrievers. I intend to train the dog myself because I can’t afford to pay a trainer. They don’t know what I need anyway. Dogs love me, I should have been a trainer myself, everyone says so. What I need is a generous breeder to donate a dog to me. You can write it off on your taxes, can’t you? I want a female that I can breed as well, which will give me some income. My cousin is a K9 cop in Kentucky, and we can breed her to his dog…”
I wish that last one was a product of exaggeration.
I feel zero need to report anymore of the specific calls. They all carry on in the same tone and content. The same sob stories over and over again. And this is why I have never seen another breeder complain about this publicly. These people try to make you seem cruel, compassionless, without human feeling. They must figure that somewhere, a sucker is waiting to be absorbed into their Vortex of Pity. And it must have worked somewhere, because they persist in trying. Before I proceed, let me acknowledge that there certainly are cases of deserving need. I’m not blind to them, and when possible, I get involved. Mostly by referring such cases to organizations formed for just such purposes. Information that I keep close at hand for just such people. These deserving ones don’t quibble about the dogs breed, they just want normalcy. They don’t scheme to attempt making big cash by breeding their “service dog”. They just find themselves in a bad situation, and want help.
But individuals that call a professional breeder, begging for a “Training washout” for free, or a supposed “replacement” of a family members lost and cherished pet for huge discounts, or “I need a dog to breed so that I can make some money, (and I’m willing to lie to you for that reason) need not call our business anymore. We don’t operate that way. The begging for a “Service Dog” for Aunt Tilley is the latest rash of attempts to annoy us. As I tell every one of them, there are people and programs out there to help you. You will need to commit to their training programs, and to whatever dog, or breed of dog, that they make available. It’s that simple, yet it’s more work on you. I wish you much success on your quest.
So, if you can’t afford to pay the price that a certain breeder is asking, then please move on to another. Chances are, if you can’t afford the asking price, then you can’t afford to care for such a dog in the manner prescribed by the breeder in the first place. When people call us, we quickly weed out the ones that first ask, “How Much are your puppies?” They will never see our application. Even quicker to pound sand are the, “Do you give discounts on puppies for (fill in the blank).?”
Serious dog people know and understand that breeding is a financial wash. The needs of breeding cost a lot of money. If you are making a profit at it, unless you are a huge specialized service, you are skimping on something important. Breeders that get wealthy breeding and selling dogs are in a rarified atmosphere so far distant from the norm as to be invisible.
There. It’s been said. I suppose this whole atmosphere is as a result of the world in which we live today. People that want everything handed to them, without responsibility, without hard work and commitment to a years long effort. Internet services such as , “GoFundMe” have been lessened from their original intent into “Please give me your money, ‘cuz it’s not fair that I have none of my own.” Uber wealthy celebrities begging for bailouts become BIGGER celebrities by “humbly” asking for more money, and it works for some bizarre reason. We’ve created an atmosphere of “I want, I want, I want!!!! Waaahhhh!!”, and allowed it to proliferate. My final words on this are simple: Go find a way to make a living that can support your needs. You don’t need the latest Iphone with huge datapackages, you don’t need the latest this or that, you don’t need free education, or a political sugar-daddy to coddle you cradle to grave. And mostly, you don’t need to bother calling me, to give you, something for free that I earned in blood, sweat, and tears. Now get outta here and DO SOMETHING…
That is all…