View Full Version : What was Lady's life like before I knew her?

29th March 2009, 09:44 PM
As I've posted before, I got Lady as a retired show/breeding dog. I don't think she was shown for a long time (she's very pretty and she likes to show off - but I can't see her doing it on someone else's schedule, if you know what I mean). I was also told by the breeder that she had three litters. Thanks to everyone on this site, I did my homework before getting her - made sure she'd had her health checked by specialists, visited the breeder a few times, talked to other breeders to see what they knew about the breeder I was going with, etc. When visiting the breeder, I met all the girls at once (5 total - including a 12 yo family pet and Lady) and saw that the fenced backyard had separate sections for boys and girls - each having a doggy-door out of their kennel areas to their sections (I can only assume to prevent unplanned pregnancies). The girls all seemed to vary in their activity levels - depending mostly on age, I guess.

My question is: what is a dog's life like when living with a breeder? I know it varies, of course, but assuming a responsible breeder (who shows and breeds for health), what do the dogs do all day? How different is it to being a retired dog/family pet? I get the sense that Lady's happy being our only child, but I can't help but wonder how big an adjustment it was for her.....

Sorry for the insanely long post. If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them. Thanks!

30th March 2009, 09:50 PM
Hi - me again. Feeling a little foolish about my post and lack of responses. I hope I haven't said something wrong or offensive - or am wasting people's time with stupid questions. I just worry sometimes that my sweet girl liked her old home better than her new one and was hoping for some support....

30th March 2009, 10:17 PM
Im sure she is very happy as long as there is love it makes for a happy home !!!

30th March 2009, 10:51 PM
LOL. I was wondering the same thing. I got my new puppy from a family in Texas that breeds and shows. I know he had other littermates to play with and people visit them a lot and they socialize them. They were exposed to a lot of other dogs and people and I was wondering if the little lamb would be bored with just me, my husband and one other dog.

30th March 2009, 11:46 PM
Well, I'll take a shot at answering this without getting too philosophical!

Over the last 20 years, I've had 18 dogs - I worked with various rescue groups for years and have had multiple dogs. All of the dogs came to me as adults - the youngest was 1 and the oldest was 14 - with most dogs being middle-aged or seniors when they arrived. Some came from horrific puppy mill conditions; some were very well bred retired show dogs with majors; some came from loving homes where an elderly owner could no longer keep them; some came from the streets and their background was completely unknown. Their time with me has been varied - as short as three months and as long as 15 1/2 years.

What I've learned from them is that dogs are incredibly resilient and live in the present. They are happy and content when they receive love and good care. They want our company, a comfortable and safe home/place to rest, good food and some physical activity. I believe they also want and enjoy some animal companionship.

Life for breeders' dogs is as varied as life for companion dogs - some sleep in their owner's beds; some are housed outside of the home; some are abused and neglected; some are beloved family members -- there are probably as many different scenarios as there are breeders.

Of my current four, two came from a "not good" breeder type situation (caged all day, not trained), one came at age 12 from a loving home where the owner had cancer, and the last was a well-bred UK show dog who came to the US to be shown/bred and was retired to my home.

The two neglected dogs are now well trained; they don't sit around and remember sadly the days when they sat in their own urine soaked cages. The now almost 14 year old girl loves me as if she's been mine her entire life; she doesn't mourn her old owner or wonder why she was "given away." The show boy is my velcro dog, and he also does not contemplate his two former owners or the reasons he was rehomed twice. If any of them were to see their former owners, I'm sure they would remember them. I'm also certain that they live completely in the present with no contemplation of the past or worries about the future. They live happily together in my home and sleep in my bed (along with their one cat).

We should all be so fortunate to live fully in the present - that's a lesson that we humans can learn from our animal companions - let go of the past and don't worry too much about the future but be fully committed to the present day.


31st March 2009, 05:07 AM
Pat -- thank you so much for your words. What a wonderful tribute to all of the dogs lucky enough to find themselves in your home. And what a wonderful reminder to us all to live in the present and just be content with the here and now. This is something I struggle with -- I worry too much and try to control the future.

Now back to the original question. I agree with Pat that dogs have a wonderful ability to live in the present and appreciate their lives for what they are. I'm sure your baby is happy as a lark with you. I've had Holly since she was 12 weeks and she's almost a year old now. She recently spent a couple days at her breeder's when we went on a short vacation. Holly's breeder is one who treats her dogs as family members -- they sleep on the bed with her and her husband, etc. But there are still 6 adult, intact females and usually a litter of puppies once a year. So this is obviously a different situation than Holly is used to (we have no other dogs and Holly goes everywhere with us).

My breeder said Holly was very uncomfortable the first day -- despite my breeder's attempts to hold her on her lap for hours, Holly still exhibited some nervous behavior (drooling, loss of appetite). BUT, by the next afternoon my breeder reported that Holly was following the other dogs around and seemed to have settled into the new environment. Holly was thrilled to see us when we picked her up, and settled back into our own routine once home.

So I guess my point is that even the most spoiled and coddled dog (i.e. Holly) quickly adapted and even began to enjoy life in a totally new environment. That was the way it was when she came here as a puppy and I'm sure it's the case with your baby!

31st March 2009, 09:36 AM
What Pat said is on the button - dogs are, in my opinion, one of the best adaptors to a situation that I have ever encountered. I foster for a dog charity and some of my fosters have been in an awful state, coming into the pound from a ditch (where someone had found them), others have just been strays that don't seem to be very badly treated but are wandering about (and nobody reclaims them) and others have very obviously been cared for and the time (and effort) has been put intot their training, wellbeing etc. There is such a rainbow of dogs that come into care and the one thing tht always gets me is how well they adapt to the newness of my home. Thinking of it from their point of view - they have never encountered me, my home, my dogs or my OH before and yet once they are treated well they seem to just adapt to it all and have a great time playing, relaxing or doing whatever it is they want to (within reason, of course!) after they have been treated decently for a period of time.

It's great to know that your baby came from a good place, and not a shameful broker. She had a great start to life and will have many years of one to come. I think it is lovely that you are curious to know where she came from and that you care about her situation before you. Sometimes, esp. when the dogs have been in terrible conditions, it's easier to just not think about it.

Hope you two have a long and happy time together :)

31st March 2009, 01:39 PM
Hi - me again. Feeling a little foolish about my post and lack of responses. I hope I haven't said something wrong or offensive - or am wasting people's time with stupid questions. I just worry sometimes that my sweet girl liked her old home better than her new one and was hoping for some support....

Nothing wrong with the post, I didn't have experience so couldn't comment. You obviously love her LOTS and LOTS what more could she want. From experience the number 1 priority of every one of my cavaliers has been WALKIES :dogwlk: Give her varied walkies regularly and she'll be in heaven on earth :)

Enjoy :thmbsup:

Brenda in SC
31st March 2009, 08:38 PM
Well said Pat! I'm working hard on being fully present...which is hard in today's world!

31st March 2009, 08:40 PM
I definitely have to agree with Pat's post too. Dogs are good teacher to live in the moment. I read an article once that said, petting a dog lowers your blood pressure. I believe that is so true. I love my dogs. They are always happy to see me. They don't care what I am wearing. They don't care if I am having a bad hair day.

My cavaliers have away of reminding me when I need to slow down to spend time with them. Some days I am working from home and Libby will start barking. It is usually when we have had a busy week and she feels she hasn't had her snuggle time.

My new little boy is much the same way. He will be running around if I am out and hubby is home. When I get home, he finally stops long enough to snuggle in my arms for a quick nap. He seems to wait for that every night.

It sounds like your pup is very happy and that is one thing that I love about cavaliers. They seem to adapt very quickly to any situation.

31st March 2009, 09:44 PM
Thank you all so much for your feedback. You are so right about how much we can learn from our animal companions and how much they bring down our stress levels. I've never encountered such a loving and adaptable dog, and I feel so lucky to know her. Rather than worry about what she might be missing with me, I'm going to enjoy all the moments I have with her. Thanks for putting it back into perspective!

4th April 2009, 12:27 AM
Well said Pat! I'm working hard on being fully present...which is hard in today's world!

Yes, me, too-- with cell phones, texting, Internet, etc.. it is difficult!!

Pat-- I just read your post. How eloquent and beautiful.