Thank You

Thank you all for being so kind.

Practicality tells a breeder to never get too attached to a newborn puppy, since there are so many things that can go wrong. Reality is another matter altogether.

Staying up nights and bottle feeding a puppy creates a bond you can’t ignore. The first time he eagerly crawls over and starts sucking on your finger as soon as you touch him is the day you commit to allowing your heart to be broken. The first time you hold his tiny head up, smaller than an egg and just as fragile, so that you can help him try to breath instead of gasping for air, is the day you start to grieve. Starting to realize that things might not turn out alright does nothing, absolutely nothing, to help you prepare for the reality.

I will not go into what it was like to lose him, both because I don’t have the words, or the heart. I will say that he fought, and I fought with him, but we couldn’t win that battle.

In 17 years of French Bulldog breeding, I have lost a few puppies. A few were still born at birth, and I lost one litter to a negligent vet. I have lost one other puppy, before our boy. I remember them both, and I remember every other puppy as well. I miss them all, and mourn that I couldn’t help them.

I know it’s not right to get this attached to a puppy that logic tells you you might lose. My vet said to me that she tells breeders with puppies like this that they should put them down as soon as possible, to spare themselves the grief. I asked her, as a breeder, if that’s what she does. Her reply was “No, I fight to keep them alive, just like you did. I don’t know how to do anything else”.

Our boy is buried beneath our cedar trees, with a cairn of stones over top. I dug the hole, and it wasn’t easy, because we sit on good, solid Grey County bedrock. I dug it in the rain, and I did it because he deserved it. Sean wrapped him in my t-shirt, and put a very small teddy bear under his arm. He said “He’s never been alone since he was born, and I don’t want him to be now”.

He is missed.

“Sorrow makes us all children again – destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Our Boy

August 14th – August 29th 2007

Baby Boy

Vick's Dogs (Victims?) Get Chance at Re-Homing

In a move that thwarts the repeated outcries of both PETA and the HSUS for the immediate euthanization of the Vick case Pit Bulls, the USDA has agreed to let the ASPCA and BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls) evaluate Vick’s dogs to see if any are able to be placed or fostered.

From the press release:

“With overwhelming public concern in the fate of the dogs seized from Michael Vick’s Surry County, Va., property, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today provided the following information on the upcoming evaluations of the dogs, as well as the nature of assistance it is providing to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, CAAB, executive vice president, National Programs, and science advisor for the ASPCA, will be leading a team of several other certified applied animal behaviorists (trained animal behavior experts who have been certified by the Animal Behavior Society) in conducting behavior evaluations of the pit bulls seized during the course of the investigation.

As part of this process, BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls), a San Francisco-based non profit organization that is an educational resource for pit bull owners and the shelters that house them, will be working with the ASPCA-led team to help identify dogs that can be absorbed into experienced foster programs for further observation and possible re-homing into appropriate homes—one of several possible outcomes for these dogs.”

More after the cut, including some photos. Read more

Puppy Updates, and More News on the Maine Puppy Mill

PuppiesFirst off, let me get this out of the way, because writing it does not make me happy – the little boy is not doing very well. He hasn’t gained any weight in 48 hours, and he is having a hard time nursing from a bottle. I am now tube feeding him, every two hours, and supplementing with drops of Nutri-Cal on his tongue every hour or so. So far, all that this has done is allow him to maintain his weight, with no gaining. The Veterinarian has examined him, checking again for a cleft palate, and listening for a heart murmur. Nothing. He is just one of those mystery puppies, that ones that add grey to your hair, fear to your heart, and tears to your eyes. In 17+ years of breeding, I have never struggled so hard with a puppy. I will say this, though – he’s a fighter, and I’m one as well, and I’m not letting him go that easily. I will stick it out with him as long as he can. I challenge anyone to stare at his tiny face and do otherwise.

His black brindle sister remains as fat, shiny and contented as a seal, luxuriating in free flowing, all you can drink breast milk. She naps, squawks, climbs the sides of the pen, and yawns puppy breath into your face when you pick her up. She’s starting to make eye contact, and takes a few tentative, mostly backwards, steps. She seems huge, but mostly that’s just in comparison to her tiny little brother. He seems to prefer sleeping on top of her now, and she occasionally wakes up to a face full of her brother’s belly.

Below the cut, you can see some photos of both pups, a few of which clearly and painfully illustrate just how much difference there is between the two of them in size. They are two weeks old as of today.

Maine Puppy Mill Bust Update

I have some additional information regarding the Maine puppy mill bust that I reported on yesterday. If you are in Maine and interested in possibly fostering one of the Frenchies rescued, or know someone in Maine who might be willing to do so, please pass along this information I received from Charlotte Creeley of FrenchBulldogVillage.Com

Someone else in the Frenchie community very kindly passed this on to me last week:

>This is very close to where I work and one of the two shelters that will
>be taking the dogs is my local shelter which I’ve both volunteered with
>and worked with as a rescue group for many years. They are being
>bombarded with emails and phone calls and asked me to pass on the
>following information regarding the seizure of Heidi Frasca’s dogs, as
>there are too many emails/phone calls to be able to answer all
>individually at this time.
>There is confirmed Giardia, ringworm and Sarcoptic mange on site. The
>shelters know all the risks with Ivermectin with the Shelties and other
>breeds in concern and are treating them with caution. Though offers to
>groom and socialize the dogs are greatly appreciated, no one will is
>allowed on site since it is private property.
>No dogs can be moved for another 2 weeks until the most infectious
>diseases are under control and then the shelters will be calling on
>rescue groups to foster most of the purebred dogs as there are so many
>mixes the shelters will have to absorb. They can’t possibly handle all
>these dogs on their own. These dogs cannot to be evaluated prior to
>going to rescues as getting an accurate reading is impossible in the
>conditions the dogs are in.
>This case is likely to go for a year, so long term fosters will be needed.
>Very sad situation…but fortunately the dogs will be out of there and
>being cared for with fosters. We’re needed now for the dogs and will be
>needed later for support in court, I’m sure!
>Chris Harriman
>Maine K9 Rescue and
>German Shepherd Rescue of New England, Inc.
>Sandy Cody wrote:
>> Please crosspost to get the word out. Thanks.
>> video link
>> newspaper article

Unfortunately, we cannot foster in MA, even if they did consider letting the dogs out of state, since NONE of the four French Bulldog rescues are on the approved list for out of state rescues, and – like most of the purebred rescues – operate under the radar for instate rescues, with the tacit permission of the DOA. We can, however, donate money, and local people from Maine can foster – to help, contact the Animal Welfare Society of Kennebunk at 207-985-3244. Any persons in Maine wishing to foster, and looking for an instate French Bulldog rescue group sponsor, we will be happy to provide the funding through the FBVillage, if you qualify as a volunteer – our volunteer application is on our website at

Charlotte Creeley, Esq.

Again, please – if you are in Maine, or know someone in Maine, and interested in fostering one of the Frenchies taken in this raid, please contact the Animal Welfare Society of Kennebunk at 207-985-3244. French Bulldog Village has kindly and generously offered to help cover and medical bills fostered Frenchies might accrue.

If you know of anyone in Maine that might be able to help, please pass this along, or cross post to your own blog or mailing list.

Don’t forget – photos after the cut, or see the whole set on Flickr. Read more

200 Dogs, Including French Bulldogs, Seized from Puppy Mill in Maine

From Itchmo:

Police authorities, the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland and the Animal Welfare Society, seized more than 200 dogs from a dog kennel in Buxton, Maine.”This is the largest seizure ever in Maine,” said Susan Britt, director of operations at the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook.

The owners of the J’aime kennel, John and Heidi Frasca, have been served 14 summonses for having an unlicensed kennel, two summonses for animal cruelty and one for failure to provide necessary medical treatment to animals. They could face more charges after the district attorney’s office reviews the case.

“They are facilities that place the profit over the welfare of the animals,” said Carol Ann MacKinnon with the Animal Welfare Society. “The animals, the puppies that come from these mills often have defects as well as behavior problems.”

About 200 dogs and puppies were tested for giardia, an one-cell parasite that lives in the intestines, and sarcoptic mange, a skin disease. Several animals have tested positive for the diseases and are being treated.

Over the years, police said they responded to complaints about the J’Aime Kennel, but they were turned away by the owners every time they asked to inspect the facility. Last Tuesday, police returned with a search warrant and discovered what they describe as a large-scale puppy mill.

Authorities said a puppy recently sold by the kennel was diagnosed with giardia. Anyone who has purchased an animal from J’aime Kennel within the last couple of months is urged to have it tested for giardia and mange.

J’Aime Kennel is one of the many names by which the Frascas advertised their business on the Internet. The couple sold various breeds including French bulldogs, German shepherds, Brussels Griffons, mini Australian shepherds, American bulldogs and Pugs on seven different websites.

I found one of their websites:

To me, it has all of the tell tale signs of a mill website. Their ‘sires and dams’ section lists first-name only dogs. If a pedigree is mentioned, it’s to boast there are ‘champions in it’ – Champions that are never named, of course, because they’re two generations back. The photos show dogs with grievous breed faults – bad bites, tongues that can’t fit into their mouths, wall eyes. Their health ‘guarantee’ insists you return the dog to them – “J’aime Kennels does not give money refunds…..replacement only…..same breed and sex…..contingent on availability….” – something that I don’t think any caring new owner is ever going to be willing to do. Sticking that line into your contract is a nice way to be able to promise the world, and yet never have to deliver.

All of this makes me unbelievably sad and frustrated. I am old enough, and have owned Frenchies long enough, to remember a time when a single French Bulldog in need of rescue was news, meriting an article in one of the breed magazines. A puppy mill mass rescue was huge news, scrambling people from states away into action, galvanizing the community, shocking all of us with the images we were shown. Now, we have videos from the HSUS showing Frenchies stacked in crates, awaiting sale to the highest bidder at Amish Puppy Mill auctions. We routinely have footage of groups of Frenchies being hauled out of squalid kennels, filth matted, frightened and alone. We see it so often, and hear it so often, that it’s almost stopped being shocking, even if it can never stop being sad.

You can’t turn back time – I know that. You can’t tell all of those ‘new people’ who now suddenly need to own a Frenchie to pick another breed. What you can do, however, is be a breed ambassador every single day.

Talk to people – if they ask about your Frenchie, encourage them to seek out a good, ethical breeder. Suggest your own, if you were happy with them. Attend your local meet up, and help inform prospective owners on how they can find a good breeder.

For those people seeking a puppy, learn to know where to look, what to ask, and when to walk away. If that voice in your head tells you something isn’t right, listen to it. Don’t let greed or impatience push you into making a bad decision. Avoid pet shops, at all costs, and make sure you’re buying direct from a breeder and not a broker. Your Frenchie is a life time investment in friendship and love – do some research, to make sure that not only are you getting a great puppy, but that your puppy’s mother isn’t suffering quietly in some filthy pen, pumping out her tenth litter to feed the market for the newest fad dog breed.

Film clip on puppy mill bust after the cut, and a clip from the HSUS showing Frenchies at an Amish puppy mill auction.

Read more