We are a Family Breeder

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, marketer, AND I AM A BREEDER.