I was answering a Shiba inquiry the other day and a lot of things came up for me while I was typing the reply and I want to share some of my thoughts here. It was mostly about how dog overpopulation is misunderstood by the average pet owner. I started the reply and wrote this essay which is more a rant and I decided against sending it to it's original destination and thought it was more suitable for my blog so here she is.
The most important thing to consider is this: SOME private and public rescues, animal controls, shelters, pounds, etc. are actually importing dogs from other countries because there is a SHORTAGE of dogs to SELL! Yes, that's right, a shortage of small, colorful dogs. Large and black dogs are at a disadvantage so they die just because genetically black is a dominate color. Sucks to be a black cat or dog, huh? That's why we always find a black male cat to adopt when we need a new house cat.
HISTORY: In the 80's there was a media campaign about "dog breeders" overpopulating the world with purebred dogs. It has never been the case that show/hobby breeders contribute to over population. It was gossip started by PETA and it worked well. The general public knows little about what the REAL state of animal population is at any time. I could go on and on but if you google "PETA real agenda" you will find out the truth about what they do and it ain't good!
PETA is the one who started the BS about "You kill a shelter animal every time you buy from a breeder" which is so not true.
Now that we have purebred rescues in place there's rarely a purebred dog at an animal shelter as the rescues bail out the purebreds and even some high percentage mixes that look like purebreds.
Responsible breeders such as myself have contracts that state their dog should be returned to them in the event the buyer cannot keep it for any reason. So there are rarely any well bred Shibas in rescue. We take care of our own and sometimes the messes of other producers as well.
Shiba rescues have many Shibas in need of homes but be aware as you may STILL be supporting puppy mills. That's right. There are several rescuers who buy Shibas of all ages directly from puppy mill auctions. The puppy mills are like "ALL RIGHT! We makin sales!" So they breed more shitty Shibas! It's not really a rescue situation at all. In my opinion it is a sale and it fuels the PM! Cheri does NOT approve! I know there are several trains of thought on this but bottom line is it doesn't stop puppy mills in any way to buy their puppies! DUH!
I'm sure there are other misguided individuals and rescues buying directly from PM. I would ask any rescue where the dog originally came from and only take a dog that didn't come from a puppy mill. You may be thinking you are helping the breed but you would really be helping the puppy mill to bring in new fresh stock to breed.
There is also a stigma with being a "rescue pet." I hate calling them rescues as it alludes to something unwanted, mistreated and saved by the white knight! I prefer to call it helping and animal find his place in the world.
If you want to adopt a mix or purebred do so but it doesn't make you any kind of hero. Helping other beings is what most humans do naturally. You will love whatever dog you get pure or not. They do all the regular dog things, bark, wag and poop.
If you want to buy a purebred animal you should! I consider it a wonderful gift to one's self. Something really special you might only have one or two times in your life.
If you love pets you will have many of them in your 70 year lifespan. Don't be sad when they die. Be happy knowing you gave them the best life you could and they died content in your arms. Amen.
So that is my 2 cents on rescue. On to the new topic: The definition of the word breeder.
I don't like to use the word "breeder" for anything other than a true-blue, dedicated to the breed, person who shows their dogs in AKC, CKC(Canadian) or FCI competitions. The rest are millers, producers or pet owners breeding for all the wrong reasons. It breaks my heart that I am considered a bad person by the uninformed general public for enjoying breeding and showing my beautiful well bred dogs.
I have been involved in training and showing dogs since 1980. I had my first litter in 1985 and I too was swayed by PETA's media influence. Back then hobby show breeders used to say "I only breed a litter when I need another puppy to show and to carry on my bloodline." I said this same thing. As a result my breeding program took me no where. I couldn't make any progress improving my stock only having a litter every few years. As I learned about the media sensationalism, etc., and that I too had fallen for it, I changed thoughts and actions. Now it is my goal to teach other people about the truth about "adoption" and "rescue" and buying purebreds in our country.
Right now the only really serious overpopulation is in cats and horses. Cats, well I don't know what will ever happen with that situation. As long as crazy cat ladies feed the strays they will be healthy enough to breed! Outdoor pet cats and feral cats kill wildlife and dig up our gardens to poop in. In some parts of the world they have actually cause the extinction of other animals. It's not cool.
Well bred horses will always demand good money but I see no reason at all why people choose to breed their poorly bred grade mares. It's just stupid in our current situation. Then PETA manages to get multiple bills passed that stops horse slaughter in the US and now we have people abandoning horses on public lands to starve all over the country! These are not wild horses, they cannot revert to the wild, they don't even know how to find water for goodness sake!
In the last 2 years I purchased (yes, I paid so it's a sale NOT a rescue) 3 horses from the feed lot, also known as a "kill pen" which is where livestock go to fatten up before they are sold by the pound for meat. One horse went on to be a wonderful mount for a gal, the other I kept for over a year but had to put down because he was dangerous and would never make a good family horse, the last one is in our pasture. He is a Spanish Mustang which a whole 'nother issue. All of them were slaughter bound to Mexico where US companies can still slaughter horses for human consumption to sell around the world. That's a whole big long story there.
Last summer we took in 4 kittens. These are the 3 we have left.
I love my Shibas so much and only want the very best for them. They are my little friends and I just adore them. They are like precious treasure and everything we do revolves around them. I miss them when I am stuck in the house like right now. I will hobble to the barn and groom them and love on them and we will all feel so much better. I watch them run and play in the pasture and think it isn't a bad life for a dog. They eat homemade raw food which makes them lean, mean dog show winning machines! HA!
That's all folks. Whomever reads this. Here's a picture of some young hopefuls for the show/breeding program. Enjoy.