I am a Breeder:
I carefully choose the dogs I will breed based on health, temperament, conformation and working ability. I put titles on them to prove they are worthy to produce the next generation I will go forward with. I take them to be tested for the diseases and disorders their breed might encounter, as many tests as are available and reasonable to do before I breed them. I pore over magazines, web sites, event results and the OFA listings to find the very best (IMO) mate for them. I oversee the breedings, monitor their pregnancies and personally assist them to bring each and every puppy into this big scary world. I cry over the ones who don’t arrive safely. I can do all of this because I have spent decades learning everything I can about their breed, their bloodlines, their health and the art and science of reproduction and whelping. I spare no expense providing them with the best I can give them in the way of food, environment and veterinary care for the eight weeks they will stay with me. I spend every minute that I can caring for them and socializing them. Cleaning up after them is a full time job, while I also hold down a full time job to be able to afford their expenses. I carefully screen the people who wish to take one of them from my home to live in theirs. I google, research and re-research each person who fills out one of my puppy applications. I require those final lucky people who will become a part of my dog family to sign a three page contract, and promise them my support for the life of their new puppy. I shed happy/sad tears as they drive away. And I shed them again when I see them later in life, and when they pass on.
I am an Owner:
I raise my dogs in a loving home. MY loving home. I care for them, I feed them, I clean up after them, I teach them what they need to know to be good at whatever we will do together. When they are not feeling well, I nurse them, I worry over them. I spend each day with them until their last day. Then I cry my eyes out when I hold them as they slip away, and again and again in the days, months and years after when I think of them.
I am a Handler:
After much deliberation, I choose the puppy that will not drive away, that will stay with me. I never stop trying to learn to be a better handler. I train them, I condition them, I love them. I handle them in whatever venue we will participate in, and there will be several. My dogs will not be one dimensional. I will be there for the first and every handling class, the first and every match show, the first and every actual competition. After each competition my dog will come home with me to OUR house, where we live together. Their successes will be my successes and mine will be theirs.
I am a Breeder, Owner, Handler. I am not just a name on the certificate. I do not claim anyone else’s accolades. I do it all personally. I am a dying breed. And I am vastly proud of what I am.
Written by Cathy Iacopelli, Claddagh Kennels, Reg.