Wednesday, May 9, 2012

No, sorry, I don't want to sell you a puppy

The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this, that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed, but a thing created is loved before it exists"
                                                                                                                                ~ Charles Dickens

Spring is upon us and with it comes the inevitable phone calls about puppies. Now I should make it clear that I do not mind people calling about our dogs in the least. Quite the opposite I am always very honoured when people call and want to have one of our puppies in their homes, or want to know more about our dogs or the breed. I love talking terriers, as any one who has ever had to listen to me will attest. What I want to do instead is prepaer you for what that conversation is going to look like and the attitude one should bring to the table when calling a breeder about their puppies.

So the desire to increase your family by one four legged and furry member has hit you and you start looking for a puppy. You may have narrowed down you breed choices and researched breeders and now you are making some phone calls. I say phone calls because I will not sell someone a dog without speaking to them first, not now, not ever. Email is great for first contact but if you are really serious call me. When you do please remember first and foremost that I do not want to sell you a puppy, not even a little bit. It is nothing personal I just don't want to sell my puppies to anyone. Simply put, I want to keep all my puppies. I have underlined this because it is the very most important thing for you to remember if you are going to call me or another breeder like me. I love my puppies, I love their parents, I often have loved their grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, and so on. There is generation upon generation of love built into these puppies from the moment they are conceived. Now the reality is that it is not very practice to keep all the puppies my kennel produces. Even if I was a wealthy person (and being afflicted with the desire to breed and raise dogs ensures I will never be) I can simply not provide the care, attention, and socialization that many dogs require. This then leaves me in the situation where I need to place the vast majority of the dogs I produce.

So what do I want from you in our conversation? I want to know first off that you REALLY do want a Jack Russell and know what they were bred to do and truly understand that you will never, ever, train this out of them. I don't care if you are Cesar Milan, Leslie McDevitt, or Ian Dunbar himself, Jack Russells are Jack Russells, plain and simple - you will never train them to be anything but the highly driven, independent, workaholics that they are. You can, if you are savvy, direct all that energy in an area of your choosing but you best have a sense of humour, miles of patience, and someone super knowledgeable to help you along. During this opening part of our conversation I am probably going to tell you about all the horrible stuff JRTs like to do, stuff they think is fun, stuff I find hilarious, and this same stuff generally horrifies the regular public. How you react to this information will determine how much longer this conversation is going to be.

Next I want to know what kind of dog owner you are. Are you dedicated to your pets? Do you stick things out even when they get a little rough? Are you willing to include your dog in your daily life (very important to a JRT!)?. Are you willing to fit your life to your new dog in some ways and not just expect them to fit seamlessly into yours? If you have answered yes to all these questions awesome! Now we can talk about what you are looking for in a dog. I want you to describe to me your perfect dog. Knowing of course that no dog is perfect I want to hear what you would "order" in a canine companion if you could? What attracts you to the JRT specifically and how does it fit into these ideals? So many questions already I know! Are you starting to get the feeling like I am trying to talk you out of getting a puppy? Well I kind of am. If I can scare you off this easily just think what that little white bundle of terror, sorry terrier, is going to do! I like people who are strong willed, a little tenacious, and willing to go that extra mile to get a dog, it says to me you may just be able to handle and even enjoy one of my little critters.

So now that we have established that the JRT is the right dog for you and you do in fact want one now we can talk about if I actually have any puppies available. Even if I don't I know lots of great breeders with super dogs so all that hassle I put you through won't be for not! Please understand that like most good breeders we have a waiting list. People who want a puppy and want it now scare me a little. Not to say that they could not potentially be great homes but remember that old saying that goes "the best things in life are worth waiting for", well we think that applies to our puppies and our owners. We have waited for the right homes to come along so please be patient while we find you the right puppy. Now the right puppy may not have a specific facial marking, be a specific color, or have that cute little spot at the base of it's tail but what it will have is the right temperament and demeanour to suit the purpose you are looking for. Coat type, color, markings don't matter in the bigger picture and we think all our dogs are pretty cute regardless. Now this is not to say that if you like color on your terrier and the next person likes minimal markings and we get two puppies with similar temperaments we won't place the one that you think is "prettiest" with you I just want you to understand that this is secondary (maybe even lower but I am not sure of the word for that). Just be prepared to wait, and the more selective you are on cosmetic specifics the longer you could be waiting.

Next be ready to fill out an application (so I can have your information on file and at my fingertips) and provide references. Even though you sound great to me on the phone I have known people who've been duped before so I want to talk to a few people that know you. Also keep in mind that I am not only interested in what these people have to say about you but the impression I get of them as well. It is often a common occurrence that we surround ourselves with like individuals so if I like you, and I like your friends chances are I good I will grudgingly part with one of my special little white dogs. Once you are on my waiting list I will do you the courtesy of keeping you updated on the progress of your new addition right up to the time it goes home with you, please in turn offer me this same courtesy through your terrier's life time and keep me updated on occasion. Remember how you loved those cute puppy pictures I sent you? I love pictures of my dogs, even if they are old and grey, enjoying their new homes and new lives. I don't need you to email me weekly but please once or twice a year send me a little note that says all is well. Like I said before a lot of love went into that puppy and it did not end when it left my home. They may grow up, move away, and find new families to love them but they will always be in my heart. So I apologize if I ever seem short, or come across as elitist, it is not my intent. I am simply trying to find the very best homes for my puppies because I love them and there is nothing I will not do to ensure that they lead the best possible lives, for this is the promise I make when I bring them into this world.

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