S'Dandi Shih Tzu
All Rights Reserved
2000 - 2008
Sally and Dick Watkeys
8235 Outer Drive South
Traverse City, MI 49684
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S'Dandi Shih Tzu
Just BePaws . . .
All across the country, there are green-eyed monsters. They breed in the best of places. Some are larger than others; some are not as obvious, some just slink around waiting for the best opportunity to raise a head, eyebrow or finger. Some make unpleasant sounds. Their specialties are gossip and backstabbing. These ugly creatures reproduce and develop with the help of some of the folks you may know.

We all know of these creatures. Hopefully, we’re not allowing one to live under the same roof with us. They are insidious. They feed upon emotion, jealously, greed, someone else’s success and happiness. Instead of offering support, encouragement, help and love, they deprive their owners of everything good. They encourage hatred and unkind remarks. They enjoy watching as one person puts another down because they have different views about showing, breeding, owning, and caring for our animals. They feed on hatred. They reproduce because those they live with don’t care enough to delve into the facts and find the truth. Maybe they don’t want to know the truth, as the truth would stop the monsters from multiplying.

Does a monster live with you? As we go about our doggie lives, have we fallen into its trap? Are we helping to keep it alive? Let’s look carefully at ourselves to see!

Are we careful about the words used when talking to a fellow exhibitor? Harsh comments can be hurtful. Once the words are out, they are hard to take back. Once we have turned our backs on someone, it may not be possible to make it right again. Everyone does not have the same view or attitude. That doesn’t make one right and the other wrong. Each of us has our own set of values and ethics with which we must live. Just because another doesn’t do it exactly as we do doesn’t make it bad. This is where we must be more compassionate in understanding the goals and choices of others. I’m not saying that we have to agree with everyone’s practices, but as long as the best interests of the dogs are the determining factor, as long as the animals are well-cared for, as long as the end result is for the betterment of the breed, who is to say which of us is right or wrong?

Cindy Vogels, in her article in the June 2001, AKC Gazette, pgs.20 and 21, “Your Type, My Type,” states that “each breeder develops an interpretation of correct type according to the applicable breed standard, and endeavors to breed toward that ideal.” The differences “would not necessarily indicate that either of them had an incorrect vision of the breed, but only that their individual perceptions caused them to follow different paths. Every breeding program is a work in progress. Every dog should be considered a stepping-stone to the next generation and not necessarily an ideal individual.” In order to establish the type most pleasing to each breeder’s eye, the breeder must be willing to take some chances, experiment with different combinations and place less than ideal puppies in pet homes on a spay/neuter contract. Is this an easy accomplishment? Of course not! Breeding isn’t easy EVER!!! It’s a huge responsibility that requires significant amounts of time, money, emotion, energy and commitment. It’s not something to be entered into lightly as the consequences can be devastating. However, if you are willing to take a chance, you might just produce that special “wonderdog” that you and the breed have been waiting for.

Julia Gasow once said “no one could call themselves a breeder until they knew, and had seen six generations on both sides of their dogs’ pedigrees. She said that was when she knew she was making intelligent breeding choices.” AKC Gazette, June 2001, pg. 39. However, if you are not willing to extend yourself to your dogs, you’ll never accomplish this feat. Just remember, don’t criticize those who are willing to accept the responsibility.

It is true that we learn from our mistakes and experiences. As we grow in this sport and become more in-tune with each other and our dogs, there is something that can be learned from even the newest person in the breed. I’ve always said that I learn something new each time I walk in the ring. Maybe it was just watching another exhibitor and his/her manner used in presenting the dog to its best. Maybe it was in casual conversation where something was said that could be put to use later. Keeping our eyes and ears open allows that knowledge and education to become part of our brainstore.

Let’s not let the “Green-eyed Monster” become part of our lives. Without each other, we will sink. Our gene pool will diminish. Our breed will falter. We will lose the knowledge that our long-time breeders can offer. If we make a concerted effort to work together, support each other, be constructive rather than destructive, we can defeat those “monsters” that lurk in all of our relationships. Let’s help each other achieve more champions, more wins, more friends, more sharing. Working together, we can make our breed the best it can be.

It is not necessary for anyone to be lonely as they strive to get to the top!!!