Cody and Sierra sitting on a Stone Wall [Picture]

Yesterday I posted a fun picture of Cody and Sierra when Sierra was a puppy.  The picture showed just how hard it is for older dogs when adding a puppy to the family.

Since that picture was bit high energy I thought I'd share this calm picture.

sierra cody lookoutSierra took cues from Cody and wanted to be with him when he was keeping a “lookout” over the yard and house.  I like how in the picture she is next time him and looking the other way.  She also liked to cuddle with Cody when he was napping outside.  Unsure if he was happy about that.  Of course we thought it was cute and funny that she was following around her big brother just like a little sister would.

Having a puppy is fun, but it's nice when a dog grows up and there are no more “messes” in the house.  Do you think everyone loves puppies?


Puppy Mill Auction

This is guest post from a passionate animal care advocate that wanted to have this story heard, but wished to remain anonymous.  We thought the story should be told on for people to be educated and aware about puppy mills. 

Bidding on puppy mill dogs at an auction is controversial.  On the one hand it is like buying a puppy from a pet store; you are putting money into the hands of the puppy millers and many rescues won’t buy dogs from auctions for this reason.  Other rescues feel that the dogs will be sold regardless, so the mill breeders will get their money regardless, and they focus on relieving the plight of the individual dogs being sold.

We arrived at 2:30 pm, about halfway through the auction.  The first shock was that the place was packed with at least 150 cars.  There were so many people in the arena where the auction was held that it was difficult to move, see, or hear one another without putting your ear next to the speaker's mouth.  Imagine the dogs trying to cope in such strange surroundings amidst that din! There were signs posted on the wall warning that anyone using cameras or video cameras, including cell phone versions, would have their equipment confiscated.

The dogs were brought out in lots by breed, up to 4 at a time.  Smaller dogs were placed in a sitting position on a table, larger breeds left on the floor.  Bidding was per dog, with the highest bidder getting to say which dog of the 4 they wanted, up to all 4 at the high bid price.

Some dogs went for as little as $50, but most were considerably more than that.   I was also shocked to find that some breeds sold for as much as one would pay for a puppy from a reputable breeder; Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers sold for $1200.  I was surprised to find Neapolitan Mastiffs being auctioned.  The most numerous breed was the English Bulldog.  I wondered aloud why puppy mills would raise a breed that had such small litters born by caesarian section, but someone explained to me that they would sell each puppy for as much as $2,500.

When bidders were ready to check out, they went to a line where they could pay by cash or credit card. Then they moved to a line where they signed a transfer of ownership form, and received vaccination records for the dog.

Then some guys brought the dogs out of a holding pen area to load them into the buyer’s vehicle.  We had intended to go into the holding pen area to look around until we noticed that at least 1 dog in the auction had failed its brucellosis test.  As my friend and I have litters planned, we decided to stay outside and wait for our dogs to be brought out to us.

As we got a better look at the dogs, the following issues came to light.  All of the dogs had severely overgrown toenails.  Most of the dogs were grossly overweight.  Puppy mill breeders free-feed cheap dog food in big buckets; they have too many dogs to monitor individual intake.  The dog’s coats were poor and greasy due to the cheap food and lack of brushing or baths.  Few of them knew how to walk on leash.  One dog had a puncture on her nose that was oozing pus.  Two of the females were full of milk; their puppies had obviously been pulled off of them so that the dams could go to auction.  The biggest dog we took had extensive pressure abrasions on her hocks and elbows from resting on hard surfaces.  The only vaccinations on record were rabies shots.  Most of the dogs had only had these within the past month so that they could go to auction.  One of the dogs had just received her rabies vaccination that day.

For these dogs, at least, and those purchased by a couple of other rescues in attendance, their life is about to take an abrupt turn for the better.  The majority of dogs went to other puppy mill breeders and a fate I wouldn’t wish for any dog.  I encourage all of us to screen our puppy buyers carefully, make sure that our spay/neuter contracts are honored, and to stay in touch with puppy buyers, doing all that we can to make sure that no dog bred by us ever ends up in these straits.

While waiting to collect our rescues, I picked up two magazines from a stack published by the “Professional Kennel Industry” and brought them home to study later.  The shocks just kept coming.  In what follows, everything in quotes comes verbatim from one of the two magazines.

There’s a memoir-like article by a guy who moved from California to Missouri with 13 dogs; he nonchalantly mentions that he now has 320 dogs.  Can you imagine?  Forget socialization; even if someone had 10 employees it would be impossible to provide adequate basic care for that many.

The advertisers in the magazines surprised me.  Pro Pac and Sportmix, the makers of those cute little biscuits we put out at shows, had an ad with a banner at the bottom saying “We are Proud Supporters of the Breeder Industry!”

And how about this ad from the Hunte Corporation?  “Get 5 pounds of puppy dog food free for every puppy you sell to The Hunte Corporation”  The logo is “Hunte (with a little Christian fish symbol under it) where puppies come first!”

Several registries advertised in these magazines.  America’s Pet Registry (APA), located in Arkansas, styles itself The People’s Registry.  They have what they call a hybrid registry for designer dogs.

Most of the dogs we rescued were registered with the American Canine Association, Inc. (ACA) “Receive credit and recognition for being one of the finest breeders in the nation”. ACA was advertizing its Champion of Champions Conformation Show in Poplar Bluff, MO.  If I remember what she told me correctly, my friend from Missouri said that you have to be licensed to have more than 10 intact bitches, unless you show them, so these organizations now put on shows.

And yes, AKC was among the advertisers.  “AKC for You!  Dedicated Support For Your Breeder Needs!” “AKC Registration of Breeding Stock  Our Administrative Research Registration service (ARR) allows AKC staff to research pedigrees of dogs not currently registered with AKC.  If the dogs come from AKC registered stock, the dog may be eligible for AKC registration.  The AKC is currently waiving all fees for this service.”

The AKC ad appeared facing an ad for The Cavalry Group.  While both magazines were full of diatribes about Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), this group appeared to be the most extreme in its fear-mongering.  “The Cavalry Group is here!  Protecting your farm, your animals, and your livelihood from illegal searches of your farm or business, illegal seizure of your animals or property…”

Back to other AKC ads: “Waived Late Fees  Have you postponed registering your litter or dog?  In many cases the Breeder Relations team can waive any late fees.”  “AKC Web Banners  Breeders in good standing may use an AKC web banner on their web site.  What better way to signify you are part of America’s premier purebred registry?  Contact Breeder Relations for details.”

In an article by Michael Ganey, AKC Marketing Director, titled “The AKC Offers New Breeder Support”, the following paragraphs appear: “One size does not fill all – You sell your puppies in many ways: to distributors, direct to pet stores, or directly to families.  No matter which approach you choose, it’s a decision that fits your personal style.  Some folks like dealing with families over the phone and in person.  Others enjoy working directly with pet store owners and managers.  A third group enjoys the convenience of having distributors handle all the sales and delivery of tasks on their behalf.  There is even a small group that employs all three strategies.  It’s all a matter of personal choice and preference.

We responded by streamlining our communications to fit the way you sell.  Distributor customers now receive monthly reminders highlighting the bonuses AKC puppies often command.  And new marketing tools and services are being developed for breeders who sell direct.”

Clear enough for you?  AKC feels it has to compete with these other registries and is willing to support puppy millers to do so.

Farm Collie Rescue Effort in North Carolina

farm colliesI recently heard about 14 Farm Collies or English Shepherd mixes that need help and rescue in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina.

I am not sure of the entire story but from what National English Shepherd Rescue (NESR) has said the owner of this farm in North Carolina purchased an English Shepherd years ago.  He mainly wanted cow dogs for the farm.  The dogs are most likely a mix of Teverun or Belgian Shepherd since the owner might might have had these breeds of dogs on the property at one paint. His main concern was producing cow dogs.  He seems to have lost control of the breeding as the dogs appear to have been running loose for some time.  It sounds like the owner did not have relatives or was estranged from his family.  A daughter might be coming to help sort out what to do with the dogs on the property.

Someone from the county's Humane Society down there has evaluated the dogs behavior and determined that they exhibit herding behavior and are probably part Farm Collie or English Shepherd.  This person is familiar with herding dogs and specifically English Shepherds to my understanding.

She felt the dogs, although under socialized, will come around with attention.  She did not seem any sign of aggression but they are a bit scared.  It sounds like they have not had much contact with humans from just running around the property.

The Old-Time Scotch Collie Association is now the main group aiding in the rescue efforts down there.  They believe the dogs reflect the behavior and are might be Scotch Collies.

Please click here to visit the page and donate through PayPal to help these dogs.  We donated a small sum to make sure these dogs are vet bills, transportation, and other needs are taken care of.  You can email – Tonya AT – if you are in the area and can help these dogs.

The dogs that are still there should be split up as they are relying on each other, like a pack would. The dogs that have been removed from the property are already are responding well to individual attention and care. Of the original 21 dogs that are on the property that are 14 left that are still on the property that need help.  The dogs appear to be in good shape and are healthy.  Most likely they will all adapt very well to a loving home environment.  Donations and fostering will be needed though.

If the dogs are seized by county animal control the outlook is not good for them. There are 2 possibly more pregnant dogs out of the 14 dogs still there.  There is an immediate need to get them into safe and secure surroundings.

The Humane Society had a routine was feeding the dogs in certain pens in the hopes of capturing the ones that are there.  I am not sure of the Scotch Collie Rescue group has taken over but these dogs will need foster homes so they can learn to be trust humans.  The pregnant dogs will need to be in a home where someone can whelp and help raise a litter of puppies.  Who wouldn't want to have a bunch of puppies around?  🙂

I will keep people updated with the progress of the rescue efforts of these Farm Collie, Scotch Collie, or English Shepherd dogs.  Hopefully all of them will find a great home with great families soon.

Puppy Bowl, The Best Super Bowl Alternative

puppy bowl

If you are not a football fan or care much for sports than you won't be excited to watch the Super Bowl today.  However don't fret because there is a good alternative for you, the Puppy Bowl!

The Puppy Bowl is an ‘Animal Planet' TV show that features adorable and cute puppies playing a game of football.  The puppies in  the Puppy Bowl play in a miniature Animal Planet Stadium that looks like a football field and do cute puppy things.

One cool thing is that all the puppies featured in the Puppy Bowl are from rescue and shelters.  This is to raise awareness for people about how they can adopt a shelter dog.

Here is the description from the Animal Planet website:

The biggest event on all fours is back!Puppy Bowl returns for its ninth consecutive year with an all-star, all-adorable cast that's ready to mix it up on the grand gridiron of Animal Planet Stadium. Puppy Bowl IXbrings viewers a loveable lineup that's itching to play in a winning combination of terrier tackles, touchdowns, puppy penalties, fumbles and Fido first downs. Featuring fan favorites like the Water Bowl Cam, tail-gating fans, and the hamster-steered blimp, this year's big game is sure to be a tail-wagger. For the first time ever, viewers can see slow motion replays with the new Cute Cam. And be on the lookout for the hedgehog cheerleaders. Also, don't miss the debut of the puppy hot tub, where puppy players can cool down after tearing up the field. From barking beagles and spunky spaniels to everything in between, we've got the cutest players taking the field on the most action-packed Sunday of the year. Plus, back for another year is the popular Bissel Kitten Halftime Show, guaranteed to bring the house down! And, sideline reporter “Meep the Bird” will return to tweet live updates throughout the game. Follow @MeepTheBird on game day for the latest news, puppy penalties and behind-the-scenes moments from inside the stadium.

The Puppy Bowl is an awesome alternative for animals lovers don't care about watching the Super Bowl or the commercials, which are mostly posted on Youtube nowadays anyway.   They have a Puppy Live Cam you can watch which is totally cute.

The Puppy Bowl will be airing on Animal Planet at 3pm EST on February 3rd, 2013.

Cody, Sierra, and I will definitely be watching the Super Bowl this year since the Baltimore Ravens are playing against the San Francisco 49ers.  Joe Flacco, the Raven quarterbacks  is the spokesperson for the Baltimore Humane Society.

English Shepherd Puppy in Eddie Bauer Catalog

We got the new Eddie Bauer catalog this morning and I noticed something interesting on the cover and first page, an English Shepherd puppy.  Take a look!

Not only I am fairly sure it is an English Shepherd but it looks lot like Cody did when he was a puppy.  Sable coloring with a splash of white here and there including the “white socks” as we like to call them.  While this Eddie Bauer catalog puppy is cute, we obviously think that Cody was a much cuter puppy.   I guess Cody should have done some dog modeling! 🙂

UPDATE: The puppy featured in the Eddie Bauer catalog is NOT an English Shepherd.  It is actually a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.  A lot of people actually think Cody is a duck toller so it's not surprising I think they look like English Shepherds.  Even Eddie Bauer got it wrong as this was in the catalog:

Darwin is a New Brunswick duck tolling retriever.  He's enjoying a break in his training to become an avalanche rescue dog at the Crystal Mountain ski area near Seattle.

I noticed the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever community is a little upset since there is no such thing as “New Brunswick duck tolling retrievers.”  I am sure there some duck tollers live in New Brunswick though.

Sierra Teaches a Puppy How To “Sing”

Currently Cody, Sierra, and our musical family are fostering a great English Shepherd Puppy named Scout.  This guy is smart, sweet, sensitive and… is also a singer!  That means we now have a Dog Singing Trio! 🙂

puppy singing lesson

Sierra, the dog diva, gave Scout a singing lesson.  If you watch the video below you can clearly see he is watching Sierra and trying to mimic her singing.  Of course Sierra thinks nobody can match her singing.  After all she is a “Dog Diva!”

Cody actually first gave Scout a singing lesson, but we didn't get that on video.  Scout seemed to react well to Cody's deeper singing voice.  Cody is also singing in this video too but we couldn't get him in the frame with the other singing dogs.  You will have to listen carefully.