This is a post I have muddled through in my mind a few times.
If I was to describe my best owners, like other breeders we would say; the homes that invest in training, then maybe engage in additional pursuits like agility or scenting training. Or homes that are active walkers, or go motor-homing, but basically offer the dog a fulfilled and interesting life with good food, security, training and care.
Yet the owners that really put their dogs first are the ones who show love. By this I mean the homes that return the puppy or dog to me the breeder.
Lets take a couple of examples:
* A home that takes on a puppy but realises that actually they do not have the time or lifestyle to commit to the demands and needs that a young pup has.
* A home that suffers marriage or health difficulties that has a knock-on effect to the lifestyle a dog needs.
These two home examples contact the breeder and ask for the puppy to be returned so that a new home can be found to meet the dogs needs. To me that is not just a huge expression of love, but is a brave, selfless and exceptionally difficult emotional decision to make, that shows the love the home feels for the puppy through understanding that a dogs life needs more than they can offer.
Compare that to a home that also love their dog, but the home is busy with a new family, medical issues, mental health issues, work difficulties, separation, or a change in the home environment. The dog is loved but now is only walked every 2-3 days and for not more than 30mins. The dog is surrounded by negative emotions, shouting, physical abuse. Feeding is erratic, the quality of food and care is declined. But hey, its ok, because the family love the dog.
But is it love? Is it not that the dog is no longer seen as a living creature with needs, but instead a physical possession?
Is this love or selfishness?
As a breeder I have had puppies and dogs returned. I hold the families in high regard who do this, because I know the difficult decision has been made through tears and heartbreak.
I can honestly say that the puppies or dogs that have been returned to me have without fail been rehomed to existing Northbound dog owners who have given the dogs the very best homes.
For families that know they are not meeting the needs of the dogs. Really think. What are you putting first; your pride, your stubbornness or the needs of the dog.