These words were spoken by the commentators several times over the two nights of The Westminster Dog Show. I so enjoy being in the company, if only on tv, of people who really, really love dogs. At Westminster each breed is celebrated for being exactly what it is supposed to be, what it is bred for. "Responsible breeders are the good guys." Over and over again those same commentators talked about "educating yourselves and doing your homework," reading a book, going online, visiting a breeder or going to a dog show before getting a dog. We should take our time because we will have this dog for ten or twelve or fifteen years.
No matter how we bring up our dogs, their "instinct is always going to be there." When people don't take the time to find out about a breed, they may end up with a breed with instincts that don't fit into their lifestyles. For example when a dog whose instinct it is to protect, ends up biting someone, the dog is often put down or given to a shelter. And as hard as it was for me to watch, Pedigree did great ads about dogs ending up in those shelters. For every dollar we give, they will match it, and the last I heard they had raised half a million dollars to help find homes for these abandoned dogs.
The pages between my fingers are the ones I filled with notes and quotes about dogs. The dogs I look for are the ones described as 'excellent family pets, gentle giants, gentle companions, trustworthy, sweet, affectionate, nothing more loving, and inherent good nature.' I don't want a guard dog; I want a dog that loves all people, not just me. Our Sadie loves four people: Tom and I and our kids. She is wary of anyone else, and has nipped a couple people in the past. So, when people come, she and Ben go into a little room for the duration of the visit. Sad, but safe. And though we love her tremendously, hers is not a trait we look for in a dog. We are at a stage of life now where grandchildren might be in our future, and we want a dog that is, as Tom says, "bomb proof." One that we can completely trust with little ones when they come to visit. As much as I adore Beagles, and the winner, Uno,
I don't think it is the dog for us. We had a dog once who was part Beagle, and that boy spent most of his life howling in our woods. And now that my daughter has her Pug, I get to enjoy a little dog. I do love a lot of breeds, but the following are the top contenders to be the next dog(s) at Windy Poplars Farm.
Because I love the drawings, I'm going to make my list with pictures as I did last year.
English Springer Spaniel