To be… or not to be, a Breeder
Out there in life, there are work places you can’t enter unless you heed the signs like: “Hard Hat Area”. So you compliantly don the hard hat and proceed into the area with little thought that you’ll really need the hat after all.
Well, being a Breeder of Shih Tzu has got to come with that same warning: “Hard Hat Area. Enter at your own risk”. Only I’ll change the warning sign to: “Hard Heart Area…Enter at the risk of a Broken Heart”. Yet you begin the breeding process with little thought to that warning… after all, this is about sweet darling pups… what can go wrong?
The pride that comes with helping the Dam deliver her litter is immensely rewarding. Cuddling and coddling the little ones since birth to 8-12 weeks is an enormous Heart Burst of love. Now comes the other warning, as it is time to hand them over to new “owners”…. with a prominent label on your body reading: “Broken Heart Surgery”. I whisper to my departing pup “I’ll miss you, but you have a great life… know you were loved.”
Then the apprehension of wondering if the pup will be still coddled and cuddled… or left outdoors in a pen to cry it’s lungs out. As your intake of breath heightens with the mere thought of that, you hurry your mind back to good thoughts of playful happenings for the pups life. Broken Heart Surgery put on hold.
A Broken Heart comes in so many ways in the life of a breeder. The illness that’ll take a 6-week pup into daily hand feedings every other hour while begging the little one to be strong… most survive and the ones that don’t get cataloged into that Broken Heart you refuse to let overcome you. You trudge on with another litter of angels and all goes well and your heart “seems” healed. You suffer with the death of newborns as your vet tells you this is normal. Well, damn it,… normal hurts a lot! You suffer, when, for an only God knows why reason, a pup at one or two weeks suddenly passes away and yet the others are strong and thriving.
The Broken Heart when a family returns one of your angels 6 months or a year later and tells you there is no more room in their lives for this animal. You accept that pup back and let your mind wander to its life of mysterious happenings, questioning if the pup was hit or cornered in a crate every day. You park those thoughts as well and let yourself enjoy the small daily triumphs of bonding taking place with you and the pup…and you hope you’ll find another new home for this angel to bring love to. It feels as though God shines a smile on you and you feel so rewarded when another happy family says the pup is just what they were hoping for.
Then, the phone calls or the photos sent by people who have your angels and keep in touch with tidbits of the pups life. Hearing from these people and seeing those photos is like a fast intake of peppermint. It is so refreshing! Please keep them coming. I’m willing to hear the hardships as well as the “isn’t that adorable” moments. After all, I consider them as Grandchildren once they have been placed with you. Grannie Jannie is my other name.
Why do you do this? I am always asked this question. That old rule I believe is from our Creator… find something you love to do with passion and it will always weigh more on the rewarding side of the scale.
The other question, “How can you get rid of these puppies?” Oh My God! That one never fails to sting like lemon juice on an open wound. Get rid of? Is that what it is called, bringing one of my angels into your life? That “she got rid” of another one?
Honestly, that sentence is literally horrifying to me. No “rid”. I have poured my heart and soul into nurturing these pups to become well mannered, potty training them in the process, social skills being instilled and then for someone to label it “rid of them”… Whew!… Turn the thought around to either “re-homing them” or “placing them in your loving home”… but never “rid of”. Please go out there and correct someone whenever you hear that sentence again.
Is this venture of mine a money maker? I wonder if you can just “hear” the “humph” from that remark. Imagine the expense of feeding all these angels. Imagine the cost for Veterinarian services. Imagine the cost of toys, crates, bedding, stuffed bears to flop on, wipes to clean up after them, laundry supplies, and, oh, so very much more. This gal does it for the love and passion bestowed upon me by God.
I put a period after that. Period!
God has blessed me with endurance, that is for sure. I still enjoy every pup climbing up my legs to be picked up. Along with the “oops I stepped in “crap” during my daily “poop patrol”, and the barking in the morning telling me “Get up, MaMa”.
I frequently get asked don’t you miss being able to just “get away” and “go somewhere”. My instant response is away from what? Unconditional Love? Go where?? …where I’ll miss all the fun? I wouldn’t give up breeding these angels for anything.
They really do complete me. But thank you for wondering…now you know.