Thursday, 29 January 2015

Why my opinion changed

I wanted to address something many people looking to bring a new pet into their household has had to question: getting a new dog from a shelter vs. a breeder.

I used to feel strongly that since there were so many dogs & cats in shelters, that anyone buying a pet from a breeder was ignorant and pretty much a terrible person for supporting bringing more animals into this jam-packed world, where so many unwanted animals need love & someone to care for them. My childhood was filled with pets from the SPCA, and animals that somehow found their way into our warm home. Our family loved animals! We always took one in if we had room for another pet, and never cared what breed they were, as long as they were friendly to us. With three kids and a full-time working single mom, the downside is no one in my family took ownership or responsibility for our animals, and didn't spend the time to train them beyond basic outdoor potty training. Our pets ate kibble & tinned food, and did whatever they wanted most of the time. They were unruly and a bit on the wild side but seemed happy & content, although they battled sicknesses & health issues throughout their lives. 

Once I understood why Atlin & Ashley's family felt so strongly about English Staffys, natural diet, and why they had decided that small scale breeding was something they wanted to do together, my opinion changed. This is a lot more then bringing six puppies into the world once a year, and the blanket statement that it's wrong to get a dog from a breeder is untrue in this case.

Through providing information & guidance to educate people on their responsibilities as owners, we also have the opportunity to ensure that the homes our puppies are going to will treat them with the same level of respect & care as we begin their lives with. We take pride in setting a good example in all areas of natural diet, nutrition, training, physical activity, and care for our animals. The blanket statement should be 'It's wrong to get a dog unless you're prepared to be a good owner'.

We are breed advocates, that not only want people to know how wonderful English Staffys are, but also change people's attitudes towards all bully breed dogs, and educate them on the extensive benefits of proper training and raw diet. All of these things brings our family together, and we truly enjoy the process of placing these pups in good homes. The network we've created is one of new friends who've bonded over their love for their Staffys, and who understand & practice the same principles of care for their pets. Being able to see the wonderful lives our pups have gone on to lead makes us extremely happy and proud of what we do.

Making the decision to own a new dog is at least a 15-year commitment, so anyone considering it should look to their life currently, as well as where they plan to be in coming years. Owning a Staffy is definitely not for everyone, and only someone who educates themselves on the breed will have success with raising one. High energy, strong & muscular, with immense loyalty & companionship, Staffy's yearn for positive reward and knowing they are doing a good job keeping their owner happy & safe from outside trouble. Without proper training and consistency, they develop insecurities and act out in negative ways that can be unmanageable if left unchecked. Many would-be dog owners just don't have the commitment to dedicate to a Staffy, and it is our job to make sure new owners know what they're getting themselves into.

Once the decision to get a new dog has been made, we do recommend would-be owners look to animal shelters first with an open mind, as it gives the them a chance to see how many dogs need homes and maybe open their hearts to an animal they wouldn't have previously chosen. Many times Staffys and other bully breeds are also found in shelters, when previous owners may have realized they are more work then they anticipated. If you're able to provide a caring home to a shelter dog, please do!

By raising puppies on a once-a-year scale in our family home, we're simply practicing what we advocate, and giving them a great start to life with a small group of people who have decided that English Staffordshires are the pet for them. This is not 'backyard breeding' and shouldn't be roped in with the general perception that all dog breeders are bad. My attitude changed, and I hope this helps shed some light to people who may think otherwise.

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