Thursday, October 16, 2014

Because, Danes.

It's that time again. I've raised our fourth litter, and I'm so proud of them. They're eight weeks old now so that means I'm sending them off to their forever families. It's very bittersweet. On one hand I am excited to get my routine back- you know.... the one that keeps my house clean and dinner on the table when Jon comes home. On the other, I love these little guys and I miss them when they go. It is so rewarding to get to see them settle into their new families though. It's my hope they bring as much joy to their new homes as our pack has to our home. They're part of our family- a part I can't IMAGINE being without. Every couch needs a Dane.
I've been dong a lot of reflecting on what I want Velcro Danes to be. What do I want to DO with it? Where do I want it to go? I've always been so hesitant to network or deal much with other breeders because it's so political and can get so ugly. I don't have room for that in my life. I just don't. But at the same time- I believe in what we are putting out there. I BELIEVE that the color families are NOT in the best interest of the breed. I believe in utilizing the health testing tools available to me to do my part. Of course I can't guarantee that our PennHIP or OFA results will mean my puppies will never have any orthopedic issues, but I can at least say that I did my part, and that if our families DO encounter problems, I'll still be here for support.
I care about this breed- not just for the ones I share my home, bed, and life with- but for the integrity of the breed as a whole... I know there are plenty of nay sayers who point fingers and criticize breeding programs that include "off colors" and break down the walls between color families. While I respect this view, I can not agree with it, and the day I make my ethical decisions in breeding based on what someone else thinks EVEN if it goes against what I feel is the right thing to do is the day I swear to quit. It's my goal to never EVER lose sight of why I started doing this in the first place. Because I love the dogs. Because I want to be a part of their future. Because I look at what they've given my home and family and I want to share it with the world. The truth is, when I read half truths and lies about myself or my program on the internet- it bothers me. To read that I don't care about my animals, or that I am only concerned with making money, because why else would I possibly breed the colors I do? But I let it roll off my back because I know the truth. I know where my heart and intentions are at. Those who know me and know my dogs know how much they mean to me.
Since I was a little girl I've had a passion for animals- all animals- but particularly dogs. The moment I lose that passion is when I'm done with Velcro Danes. That much I know.
Raising litters, losing sleep, agonizing over every little decision, keeping in contact with their families, offering support... none of that would be worth the minuscule monetary gain we somethings bring in... a gain we know we are just one c-section, stepped-on puppy, or parvo outbreak away from losing... if not for the pure and genuine love of the dogs. It's exhausting. It's stressful. It's BUSY. But nothing worthwhile is easy, that much I know for sure.
So we wrap up litter #4. It will go down in our records as our "Breakfast cereal" litter. A success. And we look forward to litter #5 next year. We will go on this crazy adventure again, we will meet new people, find new homes, and fall in love with a dozen or so new little furry beings. I've known my entire life I wanted to "work" with animals. I ruled out veterinary care a long time ago- it hurt my heart too much. I ruled out working with exotic animals, the interest just wasn't there. I thought I had found "it" with doggy daycare, and I do enjoy that, but having a regular work schedule is not for me and luckily I have a husband very supportive of my staying home and being a full time Mom to my little man. Breeding is not a job, but it's a whole lot of work, and it gives me purpose. I have at last pinned down exactly where I belong and exactly how I want to be involved in dogs.
There's a lot of back stabbing, double-crossing, lying, and gossip involved in the Dane world. Moreso than any other breed I've ever cared to be involved with. (Boxer people can get pretty ugly, but not like THIS. Corgi people are awesome.) I refuse to take part in this, and I am immensely thankful for the people who have helped me along the way and been patient as I learn to navigate this whole world of Danes. For Jon and Natalie for showing me that I didn't need a massive house and massive yard to foster my massive love of Danes. For Whitney for not taking complete advantage of my inexperience and scatter-brained ways as of late. For Keri and Renee for trusting me to do right by our Danes, and giving me the opportunity to get started on this venture. For every single family we have ever placed a puppy with- for keeping in contact, providing amazing, loving homes, and becoming a part of our extended family. For Shannon for having extreme patience with me as we work out our first-ever co ownership, allowing us to expand our program. I've met so many wonderful people involved with this breed, and that makes all the rest worth it. We have exciting plans for next year, and we can't wait to share them. In time.

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