It’s National Purebred Dog Day! Our assignment is to go somewhere with your dogs, to get them out where people can see them. The National Purebred Dog Day Facebook page is having several photo contests with fantastic prizes. Here are some suggestions for dealing with naysayers tomorrow, from Susi Szeremy, founder of National Purebred Dog Day.
Breeder bashing may be something many of us might encounter on May 1, if not in person, then most probably on social media. Hardliners will never be persuaded that breeders aren’t all rotten to the core. They will never believe that breeders haven’t singlehandedly caused or made worse a rampant “overpopulation” problem, or that a shelter dog doesn’t die every time a breeder sells a puppy. Remember this old expression: If you fight with a pig in the mud, you’ll both get dirty, but the pig will like it. Stay out of the mud. There are people you’ll never be able to reach because they don’t want to be reached. Don’t even try.
There are, however, still many people who are open to reasonable discourse. They haven’t formed an opinion about breeders or purebred dog ownership because they either don’t know, don’t care because it’s not an important part of their lives, or have simply been put off by the animal rights agenda or hard line adopt-don’t-shop proponents.
The meme you see here has been floating around for ages, often with a different breed image (and we’d dearly love to give the original creator credit).
If you find yourself having this discussion with a friend, relative or stranger, first, BE GLAD! Education is what NPDD is about. Starting the conversation is why we sell the tote bags, T-shirts and bandanas. This meme offers a few points to insert into the conversation. Here are a few more:
Today, start practicing these terms: Heritage breeder. Preservation breeder. Legacy breeder. Conservation breeder. Never again say the word “breeder” without a qualifying word in front of it. Why? Because when you control words, you shape thought.
There is a world of difference between substandard breeders, and people creating the next generation of their breed from health tested parents. Their sound puppies – nurtured and carefully socialized – will become a child’s best friend, a family companion, a service dog, or a help mate to law enforcement or the military.
Perhaps your conversation is with a person who seems never to have heard of a “good breeder.”Just ask them if they’ve ever had a lousy teacher, dentist, used car salesmen or neighbor. Of course they have. The dog world is no different from the larger population. There are “good” and “bad” breeders, and no one despises the “bad” ones more than the people doing it right. When there is a relentless drip drip drip of negativity surrounding anything, it paints everyone involved in a dim light, be they a teacher, IT person, or policeman.
You may be asked what the point is of having purebred dogs whose purpose ended long ago. We don’t hunt otters, anymore. Few of us have to hunt to eat, most of us don’t own flocks of sheep, and we certainly don’t hunt lions or take down wolves. In the event this comes up, simply ask your counterpart if they own or ever bought an antique. Most of us having something old in our homes. If the answer is in the affirmative, ask why they hang onto it. Plastic is cheaper, more durable, and can be hosed down. If they’re being honest, they will point to the historical importance of the piece, its uniqueness, the craftsmanship that went into the making of it, or that it belonged to someone that mattered. These are all points that can be said of purebred dogs. Each breed was created by a person or culture for a reason, each breed a living legacy of that person or culture. That they no longer are called upon to do the job for which they were bred doesn’t mean they can’t do other things; their breed attributes are applicable to other endeavors.
These are just a few additional thoughts to throw into the mix if you’re engaged in this kind of conversation.