Food receipts for a family of 5 and my dog food bills match .
My water bill has doubled. My electric has tripled.
It is I, a breeder, who when my fridge quit, saved the dog meds and let the food go bad.
My feet find the way to the kennel before I have even grabbed a cup of coffee in the morning
and the kennel is my last stop before I go to bed.

While my friends are on a cruise to the Bahamas and my family meets for Christmas I am home delivering
puppies. I haven't had a real vacation in 6 years, but maybe soon. All plans are made around heat dates,
whelp dates and vet dates.

I shower and 10 minutes later my wife says I smell like a dog. My clothes are all stained with fecal matter,
urine, afterbirth or bleach. I have to remember to clean my shoes before church.

Most of my family breed dogs; who else can you call at 3 am for support?  Who else has the experience I
sometimes need, the meds I sometimes need, or just an uplifting word I sometimes need?

Who else would understand how it feels to have invested hours and hours in a weak puppy to lose it? Or
the joy in investing hours in one that lives?
I  have slept on the floor beside a litter until the crucial 2 weeks have passed.

I have bottle fed a litter of 4.  Feeding every 2 hours and it taking 60 minutes to do for weeks at a time.
I have learned to be proficient at tail dockings, vaccinations, sub-q fluids, bottle feeding and tube feeding.
My vet knows me by first name and knows my number on caller ID. My vet knows it was I who added on
the wing to the vet clinic .

I am a breeder
It is to me that 63 days takes on new meaning, still excited by every new life.
It is I who delivers all my pups, towels, scissors and heat lamps on ready happiness and sadness
sometimes intermingled.
It is I that must sacrifice so all of my babies get to a Vet in an emergency during deliveries, and pay over
$5000.00 a year.

Even though it increases my work load, I look forward to the 10 day stage when eyes open, and puppies
begin to emerge from the helplessness of newborns. Puppy breath, a first bark, and a heart of exploration.

I am not uneducated, unemployable, illiterate or lazy as some Animal Rights folks would imply of breeders.
I am a conscientious lover of animals and I have found my niche.

I am a breeder and I am not cruel, dumb, uncaring or criminal.
I am not raking in money while sitting on my butt.
Every penny I make I earn through blood, sweat and tears.
My greatest joy is a healthy puppy and a wonderful home.

The cards of thanks and the pictures of my puppy with its new family is the fringe benefits of my efforts.

I am an animal lover, nurse, midwife, heavy laborer, customer service representative, and marketer.