Every moment I had with Agatha, Christie, and Shadow was a blessing (even if I didn’t realize it when they were chewing my couch, eating my cookbooks, howling when I left the house, or lunging at every dog within 100 feet). So much so, that I wanted to spend more time with dogs and spend time with more dogs.
I started thinking about volunteering as a puppy raiser for a service dog group or providing foster care for shelter dogs. But to do that I’d need a great dog at home first–one that was comfortable with other dogs and confident in changing situations. How would I find that dog?
For the first time in my life, I began thinking about adopting a purebred dog from a breeder. I wasn’t only thinking of breed characteristics but of a breeder giving a pup the best start in life.
But what kind of dog (and breeder) would be a good fit? What dog would be friendly to dogs and people, easy to train, and tend toward confidence?
I considered the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, Standard Poodle, and Golden Retriever. Pretty quickly I decided the spaniel would be too small. If I had other large dogs in the house, a spaniel could get crushed. The grooming requirements of a poodle seemed a bit more than I could handle. That brought it down to the two retrievers.
Although I’ve known many nice labs I found myself being very drawn to the golden. And after devouring the content of the Golden Retriever Club of America website, I decided to move forward. The local chapter had a breeder referral service. The volunteer asked me lots of questions about my desire for a golden and my lifestyle to be sure I knew what I was getting into. She then referred me to a breeder who had just whelped a litter.
After visiting the breeder’s website and completing a puppy questionnaire, I prepared to be grilled interviewed.
On a recent discussion about responsible breeding at Patricia McConnell’s blog, several commenters expressed dismay at the stringent standards for adopting from a rescue. At the time, I commented to myself that the rescue organizations don’t exist to help people find nice dogs. They exist to find the best home for the dogs in their care.
I tried to remember this as I talked to the breeder. After all, I was looking for a breeder that cared enough to give their pups the very best start. And if they decided I wasn’t able to provide a good enough home for one of their pups, I should look deep, deep within to see if they were right.
To Be Continued….