Stupid Phone Calls, Stupider People & Pedigree Dogs in Canada

I had just been gloating a few days ago that this Christmas season had been almost blessedly free of “We need a puppy for Christmas” calls. I should have know better – it doesn’t really get interesting until the last minute callers come out of the woodwork.

This morning’s phone call was an almost text book perfect of the impulse gift giving puppy buyer.

Caller: “Do you have any puppies that will be ready for Christmas?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry, we won’t – and we don’t sell Christmas puppies, or puppies for gifts”.

Caller, in distracted, ‘I’m not really listening to you’ tone of voice : “I want one that’s not too expensive, either. I have a limited budget. Because I looked at some pet store ones? And oh my God. They’re so expensive. Are yours that expensive?”

Me: “Um, yeah. Like I said, we don’t have any Christmas puppies. Also, we don’t sell puppies for Christmas gifts.”

Caller: “Well, that’s stupid. Why not?”

Me, frustrated and really wanting to get off the phone so I can get coffee: “Because all my dogs are Jewish dogs, so they don’t celebrate Christmas”.

Caller, in ‘well, that explains it all’ tone: “Oooooh!”

Seriously, it’s hard not to get snotty with some of these people. I am almost sorry for lying to her (my dogs are actually agnostic), but some callers just make it so tempting.

In less amusing news, a pair of fuckwits idiots calling themselves “veterinarians” harnessed their half starved horse to the (uninsured) car they got stuck in a ditch, then left the poor horse to strain in the harness until it literally gave out from exhaustion.

From the Langley Times Newspaper:

Starving horse in Langley, BC The seven-year-old emaciated gelding used by its owners to pull a sedan out of a muddy ditch on Wednesday has been put down and five other horses seized. The owners, a man and a woman claiming to be veterinarians, face animal cruelty charges, confirm the SPCA.

The Langley residents were arrested after SPCA investigators found out the couple had tethered the horse to the sedan, which had gone off road in front of their property in the 2000 block of 208 Street.

Langley RCMP confirm the car wasn’t insured and the SPCA estimates the horse was labouring in the mud for more than 45 minutes before emergency responders came on the scene.

They were trying to get him to pull the vehicle out of the ditch when the animal simply collapsed and couldn’t get up, said SPCA senior animal protection officer Eileen Drever.

The SPCA determined the young horse to be in critical distress and humanely euthanized it.

“It was terribly upsetting for all the investigators involved,” said Drever.

“We thought he might have a chance when he tried to stand a couple of times but he just couldn’t muster the strength.”

There’s video on the website, if you can bear to watch it. In an update on this story, five more starving horses were found at a barn belonging to the owners of the euthanized horse. Surrey SPCA inspectors are referring to this as “one of the worst cases of alleged horse neglect it has ever seen”.

Up here in Canada, the fur is flying after the CBC aired the BBC Documentary “Pedigree Dogs Exposed”. Canadian breeders are up in arms, decrying the sensational journalism, and issuing stern (but pointless) letters to the Television Standards Ombudsman’s office.

Personally, I just don’t get it. Cavaliers have an endemic breed health problem, one which they have the ability to test for. How much simpler does it get than “Don’t breed them unless they have tested clear?”. Where is the controversy in this? Where’s the debate? It’s as simple as my choice to not breed from or to French Bulldogs that have had a soft palate re section (aka palate clip – the same surgery that the Peke featured in the documentary had).

It’s not complex – if a dog can’t breathe without surgical intervention, remove it from the gene pool. Ditto hip dysplasia. Elbow dysplasia. Patellar luxation. Heart defects. Eye defects.

What is there in any of this that is controversial to us – and by ‘us’, I mean breeders. It’s not controversial to pet owners, that’s for sure. Ask you average pet owner if they’d rather have a shorter faced dog, or one who lives for an extra seven years, and which one do you think they’d pick?

I also think it’s fairly simple to say that we breeders are being faced with a choice – clean up our own mess, or the CKC and the government will clean it up for us.

Actually, I’m curious about just this subject – if a subtle change to your Brachycephalic dog could improve their health, would you be for it? If so, how far would you be willing to see breeders go to improve the health of your chosen breed?

This poll is intended mainly for pet owners of Brachy breeds (Pugs, Bulldogs, Frenchies), since none of the questions address the changes that would correct problems in other, non brachycephalic breeds. The one exception is the question about out crossing – opening, and then closing the stud book, to allow a controlled breeding to a dog of another breed, similar to what was done in the Dalmatian backcross project. Owners of non brachycephalic breeds can choose this option, or ‘select other’ and leave their suggestions in the comments (or they could always choose ‘none’).

(BTW, sorry about the issue with comments — apparently, when an unusually large number of people attempt to comment at the same time, the database assumes it’s a flooding attempt by spammers, and shuts down comments to everyone but registered users).

Lesson Learned – Don't answer the phone, ever

Last night was a rather stellar example of why I make it a habit to almost always let the phone go to voice mail.

First call:

Caller: Hi, you have puppies, right?

Me: We don’t have any puppies right now, sorry.

Caller: But your ad says you do.

Me: We don’t actually have an ad.

Caller: OK, well, on your website it says “Available puppies”. So I want to know which ones are available.

Me: But if you’d clicked the link, you would have seen that it says “We have no available puppies”.

Caller: Then maybe you shouldn’t put up ads that say you do!

Second call:

Caller: Hi, I’m calling about your French Bulldogs. I was wondering if you could tell me more about the breed, like how they are with kids, and their breeds standard, and their health issues and genetic concerns… stuff like that. (it sounded very much as if she was reading off of a list)

Me, noticing that it’s after 11 pm: Well, it’s sort of late, and I have a website that has pretty much all of that info on it already – I can give you the site address. (it’s, by the way)

Caller: I’ve seen most of the websites.

Me: Well, there are also some really good books I can recommend.

Caller: I have bought some books already.

Me: Umm, then what is it you still really need to know about Frenchies? (At eleven o’ clock at night?)

Caller: Well, nothing really – I just sort of would like to test out how much you know! I read someplace that that’s how you can tell if someone is a good breeder.

Me: Ummm, I’ve had Frenchies for almost twenty years, so…

Caller: But you might not have read those books like I did!

Me: Well, I wrote most of the on line suggested book lists.

Caller: But that doesn’t mean you read the books!

Me: Look, it’s really late, and we don’t have any puppies, and I designed those sites pretty much so I’d have one central place to send people to for breed info.

Caller: Ha, so you won’t tell me what you know, then?

Me: I’ll tell you that I don’t want you to own one of my puppies, because any dog that had to live in the same house with you would probably try to throw itself in front of a bus.

Then I hung up.

She called back three times, leaving increasingly irate messages, and this morning I found this email in my inbox:

You were SO RUDE TO ME last night, suggesting a dog of mine would do suicide. I could sue you for defamation of character for that, did you know? Instead I will start a website of my own telling people how HORRIBLE you are and that you don’t even know anything about French bulldogs.

I haven’t responded yet, but I did re-learn a valuable lesson – never, ever answer the phone. Oh, and it’s probably not a good idea to read email, either.