Dog Breeding in Midland England

After about 10 minutes the deed was done – vaseline prevailed! – leaving a very happy dog, a terrified bitch, satisfied dog breeders, and me, standing in the corner, not sure if I was meant to pay for watching.

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I like to think that in recent years I have collected a fair few new experiences. One that cannot be missed is the time I watched people breed dogs (dachshunds) in a small shed in Middle England.

We arrive with the bitch. She is scared, it’s her first time, she’s been in the car for a few hours and she has no idea what is about to happen, yet her instincts give her some idea that she’s not going to love it.

The dog on the other hand, can smell she is in season a mile away and cannot contain his excitement. This is not his first time, he knows what’s going down, and he likes it.

We arrive; the to-be-lovers meet briefly. We all exchange a few words and we shuffle into a tiny shed with a small table – where the love-making is to be done, a smaller table – containing love making aids (vaseline), five adults here for the show and some junk in the corner.

This is a business transaction and that is all. Both parties being experienced dog breeders were totally at ease with the situation. Lay the bitch down, keep her still and let the dog do what he was born to do. There was a bit of a struggle to get the “transaction” going – they tried a few things, pillow, vaseline, massage, the usual.

After about 10 minutes the deed was done – vaseline prevailed! – leaving a very happy dog, a terrified bitch, satisfied dog breeders, and me, standing in the corner not sure if I was meant to pay for watching. As I concentrated on containing my :O type expression, I felt like a stunned deer, I was taking it all in, trying to work it out. I felt sorry for the bitch – but then, isn’t this just nature?

We went into the house for a cup of English tea and an English biscuit. And oh was this the best little English house. We were greeted by nearly 20 super miniature long hair dachshunds yelping at our feet, possibly the cutest thing I have seen.

An older man sat in his chair watching the midday programming on the television, not saying a word. The tiny house was filled to the brim with objects and ornaments, a life time or two of collecting. The breeders were so nice and welcoming; we had a great chat – dachshund related of course.

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The world of ‘dog people’ is a different world, a different way of seeing a dog when compared to how I was raised – as a ‘pet person’.  Historically dogs were kept and trained to work – sheep dogs, guard dogs, hunting dogs. Then we mostly lost the need for this and they became a bonafied member of the family; eating human food, sleeping in human beds, having more toys than an average toddler, we’ve all seen it.

In the beginning it seemed cruel, unfair that the dogs are seen as objects/hobbies/collectables, they deserve love and affection! I think it is highly dependent on the owner as to how the dogs are treated. And isn’t that true of pet people? The RSPCA are not short of work when it comes to rescuing inhumanely treated animals and abandoned pets – mainly Christmas puppies.

Dog breeders feed their dogs the high quality stuff – to keep them in top shape with a shining coat. The dogs I witnessed were loved, in some form and seemed happy, seemed to love their owner, wanting to impress them, to get that reward. And, it’s how they were raised, they don’t know any alternative. If a dog was raised with a pet person and then sent to a dog breeder it might not receive the same amount of love and attention, but on the other hand it will probably have 10 new dog friends to play with.

As pet people we kid ourselves that our pets love us equally if not more than we love them. Yes I’m sure they feel some affection towards us and I’m not sure what the research suggests, but I would bet that if you stop feeding your pet and someone else does, your pet wouldn’t hesitate to follow the new feeder home.

We love their unconditional love, their excellent listening skills and their inability to speak; we enjoy having them around for companionship, and is that so different to a dog person? When we go to work all day and leave a dog, a social and instinctual pack animal, alone for 8-10 hours is that not cruel?

I have mixed feelings on both topics. It still feels uncomfortable for me to experience the dog breeding world, as a lover of all animals, but I have only been exposed to this world for a brief moment and it challenged my core beliefs, which were obtained from the age of 5 when bought our first dachshund, so naturally I am going to respond defensively. After some time, conversations and consideration I accept that it is indeed a different world, one that I can never fully understand, just as I cannot understand why one might devote their life to say, fishing.

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