Cavalier Puppy


Her eyes still haunt me. For over twenty years in my mind and heart I have seen a sad, emaciated little Beagle; her belly huge with puppies, eyes desperate and afraid, stumbling along the winter street in the snow looking for a place to have her babies. Before I could park and call to her, she was gone. I'll never forget her and I think of her every time one of my own special girls, well nurtured and very loved, has babies. I think of that little Beagle's puppies being born into an unloving, cold world.

Nor will I forget the dog dropped along our road a few years ago. Coming home from church, my husband and I spotted a strange looking animal lying dead on our road. By its shape and color we thought it was a pig. My husband got a shovel to bury it and I walked over to look and wondered how a pig could be dead on our road. I was horrified as I saw it was, in fact, a white dog denuded from mange. Black-and-blue heelmarks were imprinted on its side, its toenails were long and curled into the pads of its feet, blood congealed in its ears; its face was a tortured grimace. I had nightmares for weeks thinking of the awful life that poor dog must have endured --- another puppy brought into a world of pain and sadness.

Please God, don' t let any of the Cavaliers I have brought into the world end up like that dog lying on the road. Don't let one of my Cavaliers, for whom I feel forever responsible wander pregnant, homeless, and desperate on the street. Please don't let them wind up on chains, unloved and mistreated. Please don't let any of them, their children, or grandchildren wind up in a horrible puppy mill being bred every season until they are worn out and disposable. Please don't let me walk past a pet store and see one of those dear little faces pleading at me through the window. Although I would like to save all the uncared for dogs in the world, I know I cannot. I cannot give them all the good homes they deserve. I can be very sure, however, that my own dogs do not end up in the same dire circumstances befalling so many dogs.

A few weeks ago at a large animal exposition a person evidently smuggled in a box of VERY young Cocker Spaniel puppies, not yet weaned and with no shots. Within minutes they were all sold for fifty dollars each. By the time several of the Breeders were aware of what was happening the seller had disappeared. I finally tracked down one of the buyers and found a defenseless puppy lying on the hood of a baby carriage; limp, hot, and panting heavily in a very cool building. The puppy didn't have a prayer. I tried to engage the new owner in a dialogue of how to try to save the puppy, but I'm afraid she didn't listen. I am haunted also by that limp little body that deserved a good life only to probably die so quickly because of lack of care.

All my dogs are sold on a restricted registration with a spay/neuter agreement. All my puppies go to carefully screened homes. I refuse to add to the over-population of dogs. I refuse to allow dogs that I have bred, raised, and loved to wind up like that poor little Beagle. If one breeds a litter one is responsible for those puppies and their welfare all their lives -- forever. Having a litter is not a responsibility to be taken lightly or a lark so children can experience a litter born or to make a fast dollar (responsible Breeders never make money - the deficit is Permanent!)

Anyone bringing a litter of puppies into the world has a lifetime of responsibility for the welfare of those puppies. I work very hard to convince nearly every pet owner I know to spay and neuter rather than bring another litter into the world. Females should be spayed; males should be neutered. Do not breed for the sake of breeding. Raising a litter is not fun if that litter is to receive proper care; it is hard work and quite expensive when it is done correctly. Reputable Breeders breed dogs out of a true love for a breed and a hope of improving that breed. Breeding good dogs is not for everyone. It takes time, money, effort, and usually a lot of disappointment and often heartbreak, especially when things go wrong and they often do.

Puppies are forever!

The responsibility is a life-long obligation to the the lives brought into the world. Before you breed your female or let her go wandering around the neighborhood in heat, THINK. Before you allow you unneutered male to roam, THINK. Before you bring one more puppy into this world, THINK. Are you prepared for the responsibility? The world is already filled with unwanted dogs. Please do not add to the numbers in the shelters and pounds, in cold dog houses, and on chains in horrible conditions. Do you wish to be responsible for the life of a dog like that little Beagle, those unfortunate Cocker Spaniels, that dead dog lying on the road? THINK!

Please do not bring a puppy into the world to have it face a life without love and care. Dogs give us so much love, loyalty, and joy. They deserve much better than some of them receive.

Puppies are forever.

Meredith Johnson-Snyder

Rattlebridge Cavaliers