What is a “professional breeder” and why do I, Executive Director of an animal shelter, support them?

People are sometimes shocked to learn that I personally support and encourage professional, registered breeders.

The first thing to understand is the definition of a professional, registered breeder. This is not a “puppy or kitten mill,” nor is it someone who just couldn’t resist letting their wonderful, adorable dog or cat have just one litter before spaying, nor is it someone who makes their living by breeding random dogs and cats into cute combinations.

This is what I consider to be a professional, registered cat or dog breeder:

1. REGISTERED with a national breeder organization such as AKC or CFA

2. SPECIALIZING in a recognized purebreed (or two), and breeding for conformation and health

3. RAISING all the puppies and kittens in a safe and stimulating home environment, with healthy, vibrant, happy sire(s) and dam(s) on site, and available for potential buyers to meet

4. PLANNING for every single litter well in advance, with the primary goal of maintaining the breed’s standard, and usually having a waiting list for the puppies or kittens; the professional breeder never has more litters than they can properly socialize and care for at any one time

5. GUARANTEEING the health of their litters, by spaying/neutering any dogs or cats that carry any sort of genetic health or conformation problem, and beginning vaccination of every litter at the proper time. All adult dogs and cats receive regular examinations and veterinary care.

6. SCREENING all potential buyers to ensure they understand the mental, physical, and emotional needs of the breed they are considering, and that they have the commitment and means to care for their new pup or kitten

7. PROVIDING all paperwork and pedigree for several generations, along with a contract of sale

8. NURTURING every litter until at least 8 weeks of age, and preferably 12 weeks of age

9. MAINTAINING contact with the owners of each littermate

10. ACCEPTING back into the home any pup/dog/kitten/cat that originated with the breeder, at any time during that animal’s lifetime, for any reason

This level of commitment to a breed requires a lot of effort, and a lot of money. Ask any registered professional breeder, and they will be the first to tell you, they do NOT “get rich” by breeding; it, much like volunteering for an animal shelter, is primarily a labor of love.

How do you know you are NOT dealing with a professional, registered breeder?

- Are you getting a puppy or kitten from a box outside a big box store, or on a sidewalk somewhere? You are NOT dealing with a professional, registered breeder.

- Does the breeder refuse to allow you to meet the parents or come to the home where the pups or kittens are being raised? You are NOT dealing with a professional, registered breeder.

- Did you find your puppy or kitten from a handwritten flyer at the grocery store? You are NOT dealing with a professional, registered breeder.

- Does your breeder seem to specialize in several different breeds, including “designer” breeds like the “Yorkihuapoo” or “Dachspitterrier”? You are NOT dealing with a professional, registered breeder.

- Did you get your new pup or kitten without any sort of contract or without receiving any sort of written return guarantee? You are NOT dealing with a professional, registered breeder.

- Does the breeder not care at all whether you plan to spay/neuter, or whether the pup or kitten is genetically proven to be good breeding stock? You are NOT dealing with a professional, registered breeder.

I’m sure there are dozens of additional red flags, which I invite both professional breeders and those who may have been taken in by a puppy mill or backyard breeder to share in the comments.

Without dedicated breeders using their own time and resources to maintain (and better) breed standards, our world would eventually consist of primarily 40-50 pound black and brown short-haired dogs, and the basic Domestic Shorthaired Cat in various colors. I believe we need professional registered breeders to ensure that the chihuahua and the mastiff, the border collie and the Labrador retriever, the Persian and the Bombay, remain a part of our world.

Those who are deliberately breeding without providing proper care, without maintaining breed standards, and without screening and following up with every single home… those who are doing it to make $200 each on puppies you feed last night’s leftovers to, mixed with whatever the cheapest dog food you could find, without vaccinating or health-checking… you know how I feel. Shame on you.

What about those who are not deliberately breeding, but through ignorance or poor timing have an “oops” litter?

If you cannot raise your litter by the standards a professional breeder would have (see above), and cannot take the time and effort to find every pup or kitten the absolute best possible home, then please, please, ask a shelter or rescue to take in your litter and find them homes. At Forget Me Not, we take in “oops” litters from all around Ferry County; we will provide food during the time the litter is with your mother cat or dog; we can often take the litter *and* the mother in, returning the mother after the litter is weaned; we spay/neuter, vaccinate, deworm, and microchip every pup or kitten prior to placement; we search for homes far and wide, and will take back a pet if its placement doesn’t work out.

All we require is that you allow us to spay the mother animal after the litter is weaned.

There is a need for professional, registered breeders… and until there are no longer any UNprofessional breeders, no more backyard breeders or puppy/kitten mills, and no more “oops” litters… there will also be a need for shelters and rescues.

The above article reflects the views of the author, and may not reflect the views of the board, staff, or volunteers of Forget Me Not Animal Shelter.

 

New adoptable puppy: PEPPERONI

Pepperoni070713-8

Here is another pup in our “meaty pups” litter of Great Dane/Australian Cattle Dog/LeMutte pups!

Pepperoni (a girl whose nickname is “Gecko” because of the shape of the white on her chest) is one of the smaller pups. She is vocal, likes to be at the center of attention, and is playful with the other pups but also very human-oriented.

See her full listing, including video, on our DOGS page.

 

New adoptable pup: BRATWURST

Bratwurst070713-7

Bratwurst and siblings arrived as a Stop the Cycle litter; Forget Me Not has spayed the mother dog (a Great Dane/Australian Cattle Dog mix) and returned her to her owner, and we will now find great homes for the pups. They were born on March 22, 2013. Father is unknown (may be more than one for this litter). Some of the pups look like they may have some Labrador Retriever or Pitbull in the mix, along with a healthy dose of “who knows what” – they are true “LeMutte” pups!

The entire litter is very well socialized, and the pups are currently together in a foster home where they are encountering adult dogs, cats, and chickens. They are all curious, outgoing, and very happy, and should do well in every type of home and family.

Bratwurst (a girl) is one of the bigger pups, and she shows the . . . → Read More: New adoptable pup: BRATWURST

 

CAT-ch Spring Fever!

Shadow

Ah, at last, spring is starting to peek around the corner, and with it, we are starting to hear the pitter-patter of little kitten feet.

Since all those kitten feet will need someplace to land, we are hoping you will CAT-ch Spring Fever and welcome home one of our many WONDERFUL adult cats, on a DONATION OPTIONAL basis!

That’s right, once you have submitted an application from http://forgetmenotshelter.org/Application and have been approved, you can bring home any of the currently listed adult cats for… however much you wish to donate (even nothing at all)!

We have all different cats – big cats, little cats, fluffy cats, sleek cats, pushy cats, shy cats, and every one of them is the PERFECT cat – for someone.

Check out all the available kitties and apply now for your new best friend!

Shaggy

. . . → Read More: CAT-ch Spring Fever!

 

New adoptable dog: MEEKO

Meeko

Meeko

Meeko is a gorgeous boy who looks like a husky/shepherd mix; he arrived as a stray and has gone unclaimed. We are guesstimating his date of birth at about 4/26/2012 – he has those gangly “teenager” legs and the playfulness of a pup!

He has lots of boisterous energy and loves to chase just about anything, so we wouldn’t recommend him for a home with kitties that run away… but he has a soft, cuddly side too, and will sit for long periods just snuggling with the volunteers.

He doesn’t seem to be an overly dominant dog, though will stand up to a challenge, so would fit best with an easygoing dog companion (probably a female would be best), or as the only dog.

He’d love to have a family that will give him lots of time to play and run with . . . → Read More: New adoptable dog: MEEKO

 

New adoptable dog: SMOOTCH

Smootch 1/17/13

Smootch on 1/17/13 (top)Smootch on 2/5/13 (bottom)

How do you go from the top photo, on 1/17/13, to the bottom photo, on 2/5/13?

Simple:

Step one: Fill food bowl

Step two: Wait

Step three: Fill food bowl again

Step four: Wait

Repeat steps one through four until dog realizes he will never go hungry again. Ideal weight will follow, along with thousands of face-licks and tail wags.

Meet Smootch, who is now up for adoption. This was Smootch when he arrived:

Smootch on 1/17/13

He is one of the most emaciated dogs we have rescued, and besides his weight, he came in with broken teeth, infected gums, sores on his elbows and buttocks, the tip of his tail had fallen off leaving an open wound (probably frostbite), and his snout was all scraped up:

. . . → Read More: New adoptable dog: SMOOTCH

 

New adoptable cat: COQUETTE

Coquette

Coquette

Coquette is a beautiful torbie with white girl, about 2 years old, who arrived as a stray. She has a funny, kinked tail – it bends like it was caught in a door, but it may have been that way since she was born. She is a little bit timid in new situations and meeting new people and cats, but warms up quickly once she gets to know you. She is affectionate, but not pushy about it, and would make a good indoor or indoor/outdoor kitty. We think she would prefer a quiet, relaxed home, and she would be fine as an only cat or with another kitty or two, preferably kitties that won’t bully her but will accept her presence with a friendly attitude.

See her full listing here.

 

 

Formal Wear February – special on fancy dress kitties!

Formal Wear February cats

Formal Wear February Special!

Ah, February – a month to honor Love and Commitment!

Why not celebrate February by adopting a loving kitty that will always be Dressed to Impress?!

All black and black/white cats’ adoption fees through 2/28/13 are priced by the “pound of loving” they provide… from our $9, 9-pound petite beauties Calandra and CaraCara, all the way up to our $17, 17-pound stunning Bluebird, minimum adoption fees are LOW LOW LOW for these special cats.

Come collect your new lovebug kitty – before the month is over (or before they put on more weight, HA)

PS – OK, Bruno is still “No Fee” but he is special, too.

Thanks to Shelter Manager Tiffany for the February inspiration!

Photo shows only a handful of the eligible black and tuxedo kitties at the shelter right now – more will be added soon!

 

Today’s featured cat: ICICLE!

Icicle

Icicle

Icicle is one of the kitties that arrived in September 2012, when we took in 21 cats and kittens from one location. There are only 4 of those cats/kittens, like Icicle, still looking for forever homes!

Icicle was born about 9/7/12, is affectionate and playful, and should do well in pretty much any sort of home, from indoor-only with one human, to indoor-outdoor with a 15-member family. If you are hoping for a pair of kitties, her sister Irmagard is also still available – instant family!

See Icicle’s full listing here.

 

Our first 2013 adoptees!

01-19-13-adoptees

TOP ROW: Yogi, Mr Pickles, ChickadeeMIDDLE ROW: Jabberwocky (now Dusty), Cowgirl, SassyBOTTOM ROW: Fancy, Evangeline (now Cassidy), Rocket

It’s been a pretty good month at Forget Me Not; Yogi has already gone home with our wonderful volunteer Janiece, who started off fostering him and saw him blossom into a lovely new family member – so now he will be staying forever! We have one dog – Fancy – being picked up this coming Saturday by her new family from Spokane, and are sending a nice, big (for January) transport of 5 cats and 2 dogs (Mr Pickles and Chickadee going together, Jabberwocky, Sassy, Evangeline, Cowgirl and Rocket) heading west to meet their families in the Seattle area!

So far, Jabberwocky’s new name is Dusty and Evangeline will now be Cassidy… some of the others will get new names, too, after their new people . . . → Read More: Our first 2013 adoptees!

 

Today’s featured cat: CHACHALACA!

Chachalaca

Chachalaca

Chachalaca is a really pretty and unusual “dilute torbie” – a pastel tortoiseshell (cream, grey, white) with tabby pattern. She technically arrived as part of a feral colony on which we were doing trap-neuter-return, but she is just too darn friendly and affectionate to spend the rest of her life fending for herself in a colony, so she was promoted to the adoption program. We think Chachalaca is about 3 years old; she is pretty easy-going with the other cats in her room, and although she doesn’t like to be picked up, she LOVES to play and is a great combination of affection and independence. She’d be a great indoor-outdoor cat for just about any type of lifestyle.

You can see her full listing, with videos, here!

 

New adoptable cat: SHADOW

Shadow

Shadow

Shadow is a senior kitty who arrived at the shelter with his friend Sassy, when their owner died without a pet plan in place. It has taken us a while to list Shadow, because he came in weighing only 6 pounds, with severe hyperthyroidism that had apparently been undermedicated for at least a year. We got him on track with the right dosage and he is looking great after just 6 weeks! Hyperthyroidism is fairly common in senior cats (we know Shadow is at least 8, and could be more). The treatment that is working for Shadow is a small pill given morning and evening; the medication costs less than 70 cents per day, and we have no trouble getting him to eat his pill when tucked into a small ball of wet food, or into a pill pocket and then put . . . → Read More: New adoptable cat: SHADOW

 

Today’s featured cat: CACIQUE!

Cacique

Cacique

Cacique came in as a stray with 5 kittens in tow back in July 2012; as so often happens, the kittens are all happily growing up in their adoptive homes, and Cacique is still waiting for someone to invite her into their family. We’ve given her a guesstimated birth date of March 2011. Cacique is friendly, happy, and playful. She is a medium haired tabby with just a touch of “torbie” (tortoiseshell/tabby) coloring. Unfortunately, during her very long stay at the shelter, Cacique has become quite overweight; we have her on a diet and exercise program, but she really needs a forever home to give her the attention she needs to fill that emptiness inside her… kitty kibble is a poor substitute for cuddles and love.

Cacique gets along well with other cats once she gets to know them and they have . . . → Read More: Today’s featured cat: CACIQUE!

 

Long-Timer Dog – YOGI

Yogi

Yogi has been with us for a very long time now; he is a difficult dog to place, but for the right person, he will make a funny, goofy, interesting companion.  He will do best as an only pet, though does get along with some dogs – usually smallish female dogs. Honestly, his perfect home would be with a single person or childless couple, someone who is active (maybe a jogger) but something of a homebody. He will wait patiently for his person to come home from work – seems to be well housetrained and is not a destructive chewer – but would prefer that you come home and have some solid one-on-one (or two-on-one) time with him. He loves to chase a tennis ball;  a bag of tennis balls, a “chuck-it” to throw them as far as possible, and a cozy home to curl up in with his . . . → Read More: Long-Timer Dog – YOGI

 

Featured cat: SASSY!

Sassy

Sassy

Sassy is a lovely, but very shy and frightened, Siamese mix girl who arrived at the shelter when her owner died without a pet plan in place. Sassy is a little over 4 years old. She will be someone’s wonderfully rewarding “special project cat” – the kind that really NEED to be rescued, and when she gives you that first purr or head-butt, you’ll know you’ve done something magical for her.

Sassy’s ideal home will be a calm, quiet haven. She doesn’t seem to mind other cats, so could fit in well with an existing zen-like kitty, but will probably do best without a frenetic kitten pouncing on her. She will be expected to hide – she likes to hide inside boxes, tents, bags, anywhere “cave-like” – but will venture out when she knows it is safe and just . . . → Read More: Featured cat: SASSY!

 

Featured cats: our leftover kittens!

Engelbert

We have four kittens, born 9/3 (Engelbert) and 9/7 (the three “I” sisters), who have watched pretty much all the other kittens head out to their new homes… these four are still waiting, but we know there are great homes out there for each of them!

Engelbert is a medium-haired boy; Icicle, Iliana, and Irmagard are shorthaired girls.

You can see their full listings on our Cats page – just click on their photos to bring up the listings.

Kittens love to go home in pairs, but can also go alone. Adoption fee is $58 for one kitten, $98 for a pair; these kittens have been spayed/neutered, vaccinated with their 3 kitten vaccines, microchipped and wormed. They will need rabies vaccination between 4-6 months of age.

Featured cat: CASSOWARY

Cassowary

Cassowary

Cassowary is a beautiful medium-haired bob-tailed tortoiseshell girl who came in as a stray. We waited quite a while to list her because we were SURE someone must be looking for her, but that does not appear to be the case, so it’s time to find Cassowary (Cassie for short) a new family. She seems to be a young but full-grown adult, possibly around 2-3 years old. See her full listing HERE.

 

Featured adoptable cat: CARDINAL

Cardinal

Cardinal

Cardinal is a handsome and affectionate young tabby boy, born we think in October 2011. He came in with a big rat trap stuck on his right front paw; thanks to funding from the Cats of Microsoft Calendar, we were able to go the extra mile and treat Cardinal’s paw; for a while we thought he might lose it, but he has slowly been healing and has regained most use (even “kneading” while he purrs during cuddle sessions!)

See his full listing here – he’ll make a great new family member!

 

New adoptable dog: DINGO

Dingo

Dingo

Dingo is a BIG boy, probably over 100 pounds – we need to get him onto a big scale to find out for sure! He is an Irish Wolfhound mix, housetrained, somewhere between 4-7 years old, and a real sweetheart. See his full listing here – let’s help this big guy find a new home quickly, as he is a bit depressed in the shelter!

 

New adoptable dog: SUNNY

Sunny

Sunny

 

Sunny is an adorable housetrained neutered 3 year old male pom-chi, about 10 pounds of cuddle! See his full listing here.