Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I started leaving this response in the comments section, but then decided to make a new post so maybe more people would see it.

Anonymous wrote:
I just don't understand the human concept or mindset of butchering dogs ears, not necessary folks. And I will hope that these pups are from highly responsible breeders. As one that has rescued/fosterd many Great Danes, there are too many waiting for homes, they may not be the puppy stage, but they have paid their dues and deserve a real life. Go Rescue and Shelter folks and save a life.

Well Anonymous (from Huntington Beach, CA >:-)) I wish you had the guts to sign your post. I could remove your comment - and maybe I should since it just reflects the kind of unthinking knee-jerk rhetoric found with people who... well, with people who don't have the guts to sign their posts!

But I'm going to respond because this sort of rhetoric is catchy, and I do know people who are normally smart and thoughtful who get caught up in it anyway just because they don't take the time to do a little research or critical thinking.

First, as to the "butchery" - give me a huge break. We use a great vet to do our ear crops, very safe anesthetic protocols, and excellent pain management afterward. The pups recover almost instantly - and since puppies are not exactly known for being stoic, I can only assume that a puppy who is bouncing and playing and acting like a little devil within hours of waking up from the surgery is NOT suffering! Once the ears are healed, the process of taping to brace them erect is not uncomfortable (or should not be, I'm working on a post about ear taping) and is just another grooming activity that the pup learns is actually an OK thing. Like being brushed, having feet and mouth handled, etc, etc.

Maybe not everyone takes as much care to be sure their puppy doesn't suffer during the process but that doesn't mean the procedure itself is cruel. That would be like saying that just because some people use cruel training methods that no one should train a dog, or just because some owners are negligent or abusive then no one should own a pet.

But mostly I want to address your reference to the "don't breed or buy while shelter pets die" type hooey.

First, if you had read some of my other posts or looked at my web site, you would know that A) yes these pups DO come from a very ethical breeder who brought them into the world with great care and planning and who will be responsible for them forever.

And B) you would know that I have volunteered for Rescue for 25+ years, have fostered more than 70 Danes in my home during that time and donated thousands of hours on the phone, hundreds of transportation miles, and God only knows how many dollars toward the effort of finding homes for needy dogs. I don't do this because I feel "guilty" about having bred a litter or about buying puppies from responsible breeders - I do it for the same reasons that responsible breeders have been doing rescue all along (did you know that the modern concept of "rescue" was INVENTED by responsible breeders??) - I do it because I love this breed so much that I don't want to see any of them suffer, even those that I am in no way responsible for.

There are two reasons I say the "don't buy" mantra is hooey - one is partly because I DO believe there ARE enough homes for all the adoptable dogs in shelters, IF we just try a little bit harder to reach more people. Too many communities (including poor/rural ones) have reached very low kill status to deny this. I'm not going to provide links - Google "no kill" and you'll get all the proof you need IF you are willing to open up your mind. I ALWAYS suggest adopting from rescue when I talk to someone who is thinking about adding a new dog to their household - but that is just not the best option for everyone. There really are good reasons for wanting to buy a puppy from a responsible breeder.

The second reason is, whether or not there are enough homes for all the homeless dogs - who do you want to be producing the next generation of our pets? Fact is, the irresponsible breeders will always be with us as long as there are people buying their puppies. No amount of legislation or slogans or even peer pressure will stop that.

But the responsible breeders ARE sensitive to both peer/popular pressure and to legislation. If people like you convince them to stop breeding then the only pets available will have come from the other kind of breeder. I, for one, love this breed MUCH too much to leave its future in the hands of people who breed only for profit or out of carelessness. Our ONLY hope of improving the overall health and longevity of this beautiful breed - while keeping their sweet nature - is to let the responsible breeders work at it.


jan said...

Good post. I have had a lot of comments and emails on my experience with having Poodle tails docked and dewclaws removed. What a simple process. They are asleep before they get put back into the basket.

Get from shelters has become a totally mindless mantra. People have the right to choose where they get their dog and no one should dictate that.

Barb said...

Thanks Jan! It's amazing how people have opinions about things they have NO experience with or real knowledge of!! :-)

Marie said...

I agree that the person that left the comment is ignorant to how it all really works. I have 2 dogs from breeders and 1 from rescue because A) I prefer fewer vet bills and B) because I couldn't find a reputable breeder for the breed I got from rescue.

Yes there are great dogs in shelters/rescue but some of us like to have known healthy dogs that we can have a reasonable expectation of a long healthy life with. A rescue dog has no such known genetics to count on.

The ear cropping debate is stickier emotionally however if you don't want a dog with cropped ears, or don't want to crop then the answer is simple. Don't. No one is forceing you. Picking on someone who does isn't going to do much for your "side".

Just my two cents.

Barb said...

Thanks Marie!

Good points!

And I want to add that I am obviously not opposed to leaving a dog's ears natural... in fact when puppy owners ask me about it I always advise them to leave their dog natural because the aftercare can be a lot of work! I think that natural ears are lovely on a Dane. But I am grateful that I do have the choice whether to crop or not... as long as I can do it without causing undue discomfort or stress to the pup.