Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why I hate Breeders (And Bulldogs)

All names and identifying details have been changed, and any resemblance to actual persons or events is purely coincidental. 

Dog breeders are a special species of human. And not in a good way. (yes, yes there are lots (a few) good breeders out there, who actually care about their dogs and not money and do the right things for their animals, blah blah etc etc. This post is not about them).

English Bulldogs ..... oh, English Bulldogs.

Seriously, Brits? What were you thinking creating this monster? I mean any dog who's breed standard includes an underbite ... really? It can't breathe, it can't walk, it can't do anything in hot weather, it can't have babies the natural way, it can't swallow, it can't, in short, survive without serious human intervention. If left to its own devices, it would become extinct. As it should.

Most dog breeders are under the impression that they know much more than any vet about the care of their dogs because of their 'years of experience' breeding. They pass on all kinds of information to their unsuspecting buyers that is often wrong or even dangerous. Sometimes it is hilariously funny, case in point.

Yesterday my boss saw an emergency that came in in the afternoon. It was a new client with a bulldog puppy. The puppy was flat out on its side, had a high fever, and was barely responsive. It was wrapped in a wet towel. It turns out the owner was the breeder of the puppy, and had five more at home.

My boss did a physical exam on the dog and asked the owner some questions, all of which he answered with an attitude and while on the phone. The puppy had had zero vaccinations. When asked why the puppy was covered in a wet towel, he replied that it was the only towel in sight and he just grabbed it. My boss suspected heat stroke, although several other disorders were possible. The owner was insistent that the dog had been inside in the air conditioning. We recommended initial basic tests which included bloodwork, x-rays and a parvo test.

When the owner saw the estimate, he became irate, and asked why we wanted to run all these tests when we didn't even know what was wrong. {They're called diagnostics, dude. The point is to help us diagnose things}. He stormed out of the building with the puppy. My boss hurried out to stress that the puppy was in serious trouble, but he just blew off the warning, said something about money grubbing vets and left.

Okay. Veterinary care is not free. We have bills to pay, staff to take care of, and loans to pay back. Veterinary care is a service. But before I get into a crazy outburst about that, let me just say that we are not trying to gouge anybody. We are really just trying to find out what is wrong with the pet, so that we can fix it.

Bulldogs have lots of problems. Anybody that is breeding them is crazy and should be shot  needs to be aware of this fact, and willing and able to provide the care these dogs need, financially, physically, financially, financially etc. Bulldogs will cost their owners tens of thousands of dollars over the course of their lifetimes.

Breeders like that guy are the type that don't vaccinate or vaccinate their own dogs without the care of a veterinarian, don't care about the type of owners that get the dog, don't guarantee their dogs, don't fix congenital problems before selling them, don't care about the bloodlines they are adding to the population, and don't want to pay for services that are required to help their dog because they know better than the vet. We felt sad for the puppy, but good riddance to the owner. Take your 'tude elsewhere.

(The moral of the story is: Adopt don't shop!! And if you must go to a breeder, research them. Make sure they are doing what they do for the love of the breed, not love of money.)

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Once, when I was in Ohio (where there are no beaches anywhere near, unless you count Lake Erie, which I don't) I was pretending to be at the beach. I put beachy music on in the car, looked up only at the deep blue sky, and felt the breeze. I was telling someone about this, and I said, "If I close my eyes and listen hard enough, I can almost hear the ocean."

They said, "Um, you can't hear the ocean from here. It's too far away."


Yeah, I know, thanks for a) not understanding imagery and
                                                    b) ruining the fantasy.

Well, after over a year of living in California, I finally made it to the beach last weekend.  A friend and I drove to Malibu, plunked our stuff down on the white sand, and breathed deeply the ocean air.  The Pacific Ocean is of the bluest blue, beautiful, and it is, in a word, frigid.  I could waste away staring at the ocean, the ebb and flow. But from the warmth of the beach, not while in the ocean itself. I can't believe people actually swim in it. But I guess, if that's all you know, you just do it.

The Atlantic Ocean, however, is warm. It has a more greyish hue, more restless somehow. Especially off New England. I love to walk along the shore and pick up shells and feel the ocean tug and pull at my feet. Come to me, it says. Its what I grew up with. We didn't live close to the beach, but because my parents liked to go, we went fairly often during the summers. Although I never actually spent much time in the ocean itself, I love going to it. When your destination is 'the ocean' it makes traveling more like a pilgrimage. I will come to you, and lay on your shores, and stare at you with longing until my eyes can't stay open anymore. I feel like I am always trying to get there, some place in the depth of my being.

It was good to get to the beach, with a friend. But I will always and forever be an east coast girl, and I will always long for my grey, restless sea.