New Champion*** and #3 for Carrie!

Today I got an email from Sharon Crawford, Sunburst Shelties. I have been anxiously awaiting this email message. The message was, "Sunni finished with a third major on Sunday".
Sunni is now **Ch** Sunburst Bright Sunny Day and the second from this litter to finish the AKC championship requirements. Acadia's Bright New Day, "Chip", is also a litter brother and he just needs 1 major to finish.

The parents of this successful litter are Ch. Acadia's Bright Idea, NA, NAJ, RA x Ch. Sunburst Acadia Here I Come. I am really looking forward to this show season because I am going to work hard to finish "Chip"- and then Merrylee has agreed to allow me to show Nicky- a 5th pointed Carrie offspring. If I can finish both Chip and Nicky, Carrie will have 5 champion offspring- enough to be designated Register of Merit (ROM).


Where's Emine?


Part 1 of “Responsible Breeders”: Contracts

Everyone who purchases a sheltie from me has to sign a contract. For me, the importance and places of emphasize in a contract has changed over the years from an emphasis on health, to an emphasis on taking the dog back should the new owner no longer be able to keep the dog. My contracts have always included both, it is just my understanding of which part is more important that has changed.

About a decade ago, when I spoke about “responsible breeding” and contracts, I would emphasize health. At that time, many breeders had blanket statements in their contracts stating, “this animal is guaranteed to be free of hereditary and congenital defects.” Over the years, this statement has changed because more and more Veterinarians were telling clients that some issue their dog was having was a “congenital defect” and breeders were realizing that guaranteeing a dog for everything under the sun was not within their control as a breeder. Dogs are living beings after all- they are not “genetically engineered”. If people understood how diseases were inherited, everyone (including people) would be healthy. Health issues ARE very important to breeders (yes, still), but as far as a Contract with the buyer went, guarantees became limited to only things that a breeder could have tested the parents for, and over all contracts now promise less.

Today I feel the strength of a contract is the part that states a breeder is willing to take a dog back. If you look at the Dog Laws At Large blog, you will see just how many states are proposing bills to limit the number of dogs a breeder can have, and the number of puppies a breeder can produce. The reason for these laws is that the HSUS has convinced the public that there is an “over population problem” and that dogs are being euthanized in shelters. PETA is attempting to convince the public that every time a purebred is bought, a shelter animal dies.

If you read my article, Where do pets come from, you know that dogs do not “come from” shelters. In my mind, what makes a breeder “responsible” is the fact that they care about each and every dog they produce and state in a CONTRACT that they will take the dog back, no questions asked, at any point in that dog’s life. I don’t think a breeder can get more “responsible” than that.

I have experienced the “irresponsible” buyer- the one who chooses not to follow the contract. I have had to track down a dog I bred and notify the new owner that I am the breeder of that dog and I DO care what happens to that dog. I have not seen any proposed laws for me- the breeder, to protect me if someone is "irresponsible" with my dog. I have been told by a lawyer that contracts, “aren’t worth the paper they are written on.”- but I don’t know what else a breeder can do other than have a signed contract. If more people (breeders as well as buyers) were responsible, HSUS would not have a leg to stand on.


ads on Shelties on Line

Thank you Jen Milani for designing these lovley ads, and thank you Jean Theilmann for including Jazz. You can view them this week on


Can. Ch.Grandgables Acadia Accolade wins a Major

This weekend Allie won her first points in the US and she did it by winning a Major! She is currently being shown by Jessica Starbuck and she was at some shows in Tenn. This past weekend I was at specialty shows in Maryland, but my luck was not as good.
Congratulations Allie and Jessica.


Where Do Pets Come From?

Where Do Pets Come From?
Cadie Pruss, Acadia shelties
(This article has been published in the Southern Sheltie Directory, October 2008 and is copyrighted to Cadie Pruss and the Southern Sheltie Directory)

It is the age old question parents dread, “where do babies come from?” This question is dreaded not because the answer is, “from loving homes where they are socialized, taught manners, educated, wanted and loved.” No, the question is dreaded because of the “other” answer- you know the one- about the birds and bees. Would the answer to the question be any different if we lived in a society where people were not allowed to have their own children until the “unwanted children” of the world were all adopted? No, babies do not “come from” an orphanage, foster care, or adoption centers.

Pets do not “come from shelters” because shelters are not producing pets, they are the orphanage of pet world- the middle place between birth and adoption. When someone exclaims, “get an animal from a shelter”- where did that animal come from? At the moment pets “come from” a few broad categories: *feral animals having litters; *pets that belong to an individual unintentionally having a litter; *pets that belong to an individual intentionally having a litter; *hobby breeders; and *high volume, for-profit breeding facilities.

“Animal Rights” special interest organizations such as the Human Society of the United States (HSUS) and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) first cropped up in the 1970’s and for the past three decades they have been working to change where pets in the United States come from- with considerable and increasing success. Their primary efforts and tactics are “Legislation--Education--Sterilization”. HUSU and PETA are well known national organizations who solicit money from private donors, but it is the local and private shelters that have become the front lines of their efforts. The local public and private shelters bear the expense of abandoned pets but the large national organizations received the most donation money. As a result, money is readily available for legislation and education, while the local shelters are taking care of the sterilization expenses.

By the 1980’s shelters were spaying and neutering animals prior to adopting them out and reporting decreases in the shelter’s euthanasia rates. Spaying and neutering was reported as responsible for reducing the category of *feral animals having litters - and by 2000 the “education” of the general public made spaying and neutering pets the socially moral thing to do. Low cost spay/neuter programs made it affordable for lower income households to also “do the responsible thing” and fewer pets came from the category *pets that belong to an individual unintentionally having a litter. In the last half of this decade, these special interest organizations seem to be working on the next three categories - *pets that belong to an individual intentionally having a litter; *hobby breeders; and *high volume, for-profit breeding facilities. Of the last three, the first two categories are the most vulnerable to the legislative tactics currently being deployed by these powerful special interest groups and since there is still a demand for pets, the business of high volume, for-profit breeding facilities will most likely be the final answer for American-bred pets.

We now understand that not all shelters are over-flowing with adoptable pets. Some shelters import puppies (which are more adoptable than adults) to stay full. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 300,000 dogs were imported into the US in 2006 by both commercial distributors AND animal shelters. It is true that many parts of rural America still has more animals in need of homes, than homes that can be provided for them. PetSmart®, a large corporate pet supply retail chain, has begun a charity called the Rescue Waggin’® which relocates dogs and puppies from areas of high pet population, to shelters where adoptable dogs are in demand. This valuable relocation service recognizes and addresses the issue that not all areas of the country are experiencing the same pet abandonment rates. Overall, the national dog population has decreased while the national human population has increased.

A significant number of people choose to share their life with another living creature other than a human, and pets are a multi-billion dollar industry; yet 2007 and 2008 has seen a record number of legislative efforts nationwide relating to pets. Recently proposed, and passed, pet legislation is taking the national conscious to a whole new level, a level where is no longer “un-ethical” to breed fluffy- it is now “illegal”. Everyone who wants to live with a pet in their life will be affected and unless we all understand where pets come from, we will just nod our heads in agreement at the political sound-bites these shelters and special interest organizations expound, and we will pay the price when we go to find our next “best friend” or want to experience the joys of raising a litter.

What is at stake? A lot. For the buyer what is at stake is finding well adjusted, properly socialized pets, raised in loving homes and exposed to normal home noises, that are good companions and good additions to a family; at stake is any pet that was raised with a purpose such as hunting dogs who were socialized from birth to sounds, scents, and mothers who themselves were hunting dogs or to livestock guard dogs who were raised with and bonded to livestock, or dogs bred to a written standard of excellence. For families what is at stake is the ability to make the decision to accept the responsibility of raising a litter. For millions of hobby breeders what is at stake is a way of life, a purposes and a passion, and for all Americans, what is at stake is special interest groups dictating what should be legal in this country.

No national event birthed this legislative boom, it has been building over decades beginning with the concept that there is a pet over-population problem and everyone should spay and neuter their pet and Adopt from a Shelter. Some shelters became successful businesses, recruiting volunteers, monetary donations, and people to champion the cause of “ending pet over-population”. Over the last 10 years this national campaign of “educate, legislate, sterilize” has been successful at reducing the number of families having litters. So if the demand for pets is steady at least, and on the rise at best, where will the pets of the future “come from”? Oddly, the resulting laws end up enhancing the high-volume for profit breeding facilities that often get labeled as “puppy mills”.

Shelters and special interest groups have discovered how to stay stocked by importing “unwanted dogs” from foreign countries while soliciting donations and lobbying for legal changes. “Puppy mills” makes good targets and thus are good for soliciting donations. Mandatory spay/neuter laws will not affect high-volume for-profit breeding facilities because these businesses will spend the money to buy breeding licenses or kennel licenses, bring the kennel buildings into compliance with the newly mandated housing requirements, hire a staff Veterinarian, hire staff to “socialize” the puppies.

Recently proposed and passed pet legislation may not eliminate the high volume for-profit breeding facilities, but they will have a big impact on the other sources of pets. Most *hobby breeders are not breeding dogs as a profit making business and therefore are less likely to be able to comply with the newly proposed and pass laws. These laws outline specific building requirements and charge costly fees to purchase “breeding permits”. Families that are interested in taking on the responsibility of a litter will have to plan a head and purchase many “breeding permits” before the female is actually old enough to produce a litter. While this will be an option, it will be expensive and time-consuming. The demand for pets in this country has not decreased. Under the newly proposed and passed laws, high volume for-profit breeding facilities will become to the pet industry what Wal-Mart® is to the retail industry- the place everyone loves to hate- but goes to shop anyway.

Where do pets of the future come from? Well, most mixed breeds will come from foreign countries, and most pure-breds will come from the “Wal-Mart” of the puppy world- The Hunte Corporation®. Look them up on line, this state of the art, contract-factory farm of the dog world just might be the biggest benefactor of these legislative efforts and just might be where your next pet “comes from.”

10 Years After: Ten Year Review of Urban Animal Management by Graeme Raine

Animal rights from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Britannica on line

Long campaign to spay, neuter making its mark Oakland Tribune, Oct. 14, 2006

Pet Overpopulation: The Simple Solution. Education, Legislation, Sterilization! By Laurie Goldstein, 2003

Model Statewide Spay/Neuter Programs: New Hampshire


New *HT*- Ch. Acadia Rock Solid, HT

Rocky is 10 1/2 years old and yesterday he got the second (of two) legs necessary for the Herding Tested (HT) title. He complete this title at the first herding trial and test that the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Greater Baltimore hosted. The weather was clear, cold, and a little windy. I am so proud of Rocky for completing this title.
Over the years, I have occasionally "instinct tested" Rocky- and he always passed. One time he was hit by the Shepard's crook (accidentally) and then for a while he wanted nothing to do with the sheep. It has taken me all of these years to get to the point where *I* knew enough to even attempt this title with him. I am SO HAPPY that he was willing to participate in this quest for a herding title.
Rocky's litter brother, Payson (Ch. Acadia's Bright Idea, NA,NAJ,RA) also was subjected to my early attempts at learning to herd, and also at finding a trainer. I had wanted him to achieve the HT title because that would have qualified him for the ASSA (American Shetland Sheepdog Association) Versatility Certificate (VC). I hold that certificate in high regard, so I had really wanted Payson to get his HT. Unfortunately, he decided that it was the sheep that were the source of the bad experiences we had in my early attempts, and he decided not to participate anymore in herding.
In order for Rocky to achieve the VC, he would need a title in agility, obedience, or tracking. Rocky lives with a co-worker of mine (a few miles away), but it is unlikely that he will get trained in any of those venues, so - I will just have to be excited that he now has 1 title at the "other end" of his name (the breed championship being the title at the beginning of his name).