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Coffee Talk

Posted on March 29th, 2011 by Kristin

This morning over coffee, I was talking to my friend, Kelli, about puppies. Kelli has two labs and one of them, Tess, is about to deliver any day. My lab, Sophie, had puppies five years ago; my other dog, Murphy, is her son. I know there is much controversy about breeding dogs when there are millions of homeless pups in the world. Dog breeding is a business but some people want the experience of having puppies born in their home. I am not saying either is good or bad. Puppy mills are bad and over-breeding is irresponsible. But I did allow Sophie to have puppies and now, six families have dogs they adore. I always recommend labs to responsible dog-ready families who are looking for a dog to be around small children. Of course, training is essential and having an alpha human male or female in the home is important. All that aside, I still like to talk about puppies and found the birth experience wonderful. In hindsight, I think I helped Sophie too much with her delivery. Also, we had too many kids and friends here to watch. Fortunately, everything turned out OK. Later, after taking care of six puppies with little help from their mother, I kind of wish I had not bred her and had her spayed earlier.

Caring for six puppies was a lot of work. I ended up with back problems from carrying heavy bowls of blended puppy food out to the yard to feed them five times a day for six weeks. The cleanup was constant. They tore up everything in their path and needed to go out to go potty at all hours of the night. I actually think it was more work than having my own baby. Even so, I still love puppies - that puppy smell, and watching Sophie take care of them the first two weeks was fascinating.

I wish there weren't so many dogs needing homes. Sometimes, I fantasize about being a "doggie mid-wife" - someone who comes to help with the delivery, but then gets to leave all the mess and hard work to the owner. In Real Life, though, I just want to be a responsible dog owner. Both of my labs have been fixed - especially because I did not want to pass on the eye condition inherited by one of Sophie's puppies which was very expensive to treat. Also, I do not want to add to the over-population of dogs. Since millions of dogs, including purebred labs, need homes, I will be promoting the animal shelters and foster care programs on this website. Maybe someday we will be in an environment where I can foster stray pregnant dogs, feed and care for them, then spay them and find good homes for their puppies. I think that would be the best of both worlds.

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