The Dog Blog

10 Reasons NOT to Breed Your Dog

Hundreds of puppies are born every day, and hundreds of adorable puppies are put to sleep in shelters across North America. We have a serious pet overpopulation problem right now. In this post we’ll share the top 10 reasons not to breed your dog.

1. Don’t breed your dogs if your goal is for any reason other than advancing the breed. Financial gain as a reason is unacceptable. Responsible breeders stand behind every puppy in their litters, ensuring that each dog has a forever home with them should they need to be returned.

2. Don’t breed if you do not have the physical and financial resources to keep every puppy—whether the litter produces one puppy or 10 puppies—in case you are unable to place them in responsible and appropriate homes.

3. Don’t breed just because your neighbor likes your dog and wants a puppy from him/her. There is no guarantee that your dog will pass its looks, temperament, or personality along to its offspring.

4. Don’t breed if you have not done the appropriate health checks on the prospective parents. Diseases are rampant in the dog world. Without the due diligence up front, you increase the odds of breeding offspring with undesirable, inheritable conditions that could have been avoided.

5. Don’t breed if you are not informed. Know the ins and outs of the type of care that both the puppies and their mother will need. Puppy care can easily take many long hours each day!

6. Don’t breed if you don’t know a thing about socialization. Puppies need introduction and exposure to household noises, children, dogs, and a variety of experiences to build the strong confidence and character that will make them good members of society.

7. Don’t breed dogs with poor temperament just because they are structurally “a good example of the breed.” Conversely, dogs that are not structurally sound will pass their physical flaws to their offspring.

8. Don’t breed if you do not realize that you are putting the life of your dog at risk. Yes, my friend, some bitches die in the process of whelping puppies, to say nothing of the fact that the puppies often die too!

9. Don’t breed just because you think it would be good “sex education” for your children. If something goes wrong, it can traumatize a child. Children can get good education from watching Animal Planet. There’s no need to put their own beloved pet at risk.

10. Don’t breed if you are willing to let your pups go to just anyone who comes along. You need to consider the lifestyle and financial resources of any prospective family and then make the appropriate match, which may include no match at all! Don’t be afraid to reject prospective adopters if they’re not qualified to be puppy parents. Good breeders take responsibility for every pup in their litters.


Seven Myths About Dog Adoption

There are so many reasons to adopt your next dog. But many people have misconceptions about what they’ll experience in the process. In this post, we debunk seven myths about dog adoption.

Dogs in Shelters or Rescues Have Behavioral Issues.

Some dogs in shelters or rescues can have issues stemming from abuse or abandonment or lack of training from their previous family, but quite often this is the exception rather than the rule. Recent economic challenges have forced families to relinquish their companions due to a variety of issues. Which means there are plenty of fabulous animals waiting for a new forever home.

I Won’t Be Able to Get a Purebred.

Many shelters have dozens of purebreds to choose from, and if you do some homework, you’ll easily find breed-specific rescues that not only have purebreds but may also have animals with papered pedigrees.

It’s Expensive.

While shelters and rescues do require an adoption fee to cover some of the expense of spaying, neutering, microchipping, and tending to the medical needs, this fee is generally a fraction of what you’d pay to purchase a pedigreed dog from a breeder.

I Won’t Be Able to Get a Puppy.

Shelters and rescues have dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages, which means you can quite often be able to select a puppy if your home and living situation is deemed a good choice.

Shelters and Rescues Have Plenty of Room for New Dogs.

The sad fact is that about 4 million dogs are euthanized each year because shelters need to make room for incoming dogs each day. In high-kill shelters, a dog’s lifespan is about seven days. Rescues struggling to run on meager funds can only take in a finite number of dogs and can’t take on new dogs until they adopt out dogs they currently have. Both rescues and shelters can only save a finite number of dogs each month.

Rescue Dogs Have Physical Issues.

Dogs in shelters and rescues have usually been checked out by the vet, have been fixed, and are up to date on shots. This means that you’re adopting a dog you know is healthy. If there are any issues, the shelter or rescue will be upfront with you so there are no surprises. A breeder might not. Reputable breeders are diligent about the health of their dogs, but backyard breeders and—even worse—puppy mill breeders are less diligent.

Rescue Dogs Need Training.

All dogs need training in order to peacefully coexist with their human families. Dogs from rescues will generally receive some training in their foster homes, from volunteers, and in some cases from professional trainers. These dogs will also have been evaluated for temperament so that they can be placed with the appropriate family.

5 Compelling Reasons for Spaying or Neutering

  1. Health—Spayed and neutered pets live 30 percent longer than intact animals. Sterilization reduces, or can eliminate, a number of health problems that are difficult and/or expensive to treat, such as mammary, uterine, ovarian, prostate, and testicular cancers. Female dogs have a 700 percent increase in breast cancer rates after only five heats. Male dogs not neutered have a 25-30 percent chance of getting prostate or testicular cancer.
  2. Behavioral Issues—Spaying and neutering makes your dog a better, more affectionate companion who is less apt to stray, mark territory, and attempt to wander the neighborhood. Dogs that are unsterilized often have more behavior and temperament problems (such as aggression, territorialism, and predatory instincts) than dogs who have been spayed or neutered. Irresponsible breeding is often the source of dog aggression, attacking, and biting. Note that, contrary to some popular beliefs, altering does not make dogs lazy. Altered dogs are as playful and energetic as intact dogs. Continue reading

Our Animal Companions and Their Power to Help Us


Gilmore, a happy-go-lucky senior, was named after the lead character in Happy Gilmore, the fun-loving golfer trying to make it in the big time. Our Gilmore loves chasing balls and romping with other canines big and small. While old age might have forced him into a more sedentary lifestyle, Gilmore was far from slipping into retirement.

An eight-year-old classic black and tan, Gilmore was found as a stray. But his weight was good and he showed no signs of health problems. And he loved people. He seemed intent on pleasing volunteers and often showed his gratitude for being rescued by leaning into people and softly placing his head in a convenient lap.

The day Gilmore joined our rescue, we got a call from a woman who was adamant about adopting an older dog to join her current pack and get him or her out of the kennels. It seemed like a perfect fit; she worked from home and lived on a property that would be paradise for a bunch of shepherds to frolic. So a site visit was scheduled to check out the new home. A meet-and-greet was scheduled to assess the compatibility of the pack members. Every test passed with flying colors, and it was love at first sight for the dogs and the humans.

I used my intuition to check in with Gilmore in his new home, and Gilmore told me his new life is so much fun. There’s plenty of play time and plenty of hang time. He’s happier than he’s ever been. And he told me that it’s important to stick firm to your beliefs. His foster mom was adamant about finding the right senior. In fact, she waited weeks for a dog like Gilmore to come along. And her persistence paid off, allowing her to find the perfect new pack member. A comment Gilmore shared when I tuned into him was failure to communicate. I didn’t understand the meaning, so I pushed for more information. There’s the phantom of timing I was told. Now I was really confused. The phantom of timing? I had no idea what that meant and the message eluded me. Was the message referring to my failure to communicate? I was certainly failing to understand the purpose Gilmore was bringing to his new human. Hope. I bring hope. “In regard to what?” I asked. There were things there that needed fixin’. His voice  suddenly had a decidedly southern twang, and I wondered if he was joking. But I was reminded that our animal companions and their power to help us is one of the reasons we love them so much. They calm us with their presence. They allow us to surrender to the depth we find in their eyes and their souls. They mend our hearts with their unconditional love. So many of life’s most important lessons are solved for us and modeled for us every day in our animal companions and their power to help us. There are indeed so many amazing ways animals help us. Often without us even knowing. Gilmore was right. If there were things there that needed fixin’, he was the man for the job.


Timing is Everything, Another Happy Ending Dog Rescue Story

She was as sleek and fast as the high-end Porsche she was named for. And she got her name due to her previous guardian’s love of the brand’s premiere model, the Carerra.

Carerra was a graceful, agile bicolor with a shiny black coat that was blinged out by accents of tan on her chest and feet. And at the age of just seven months, she’d lived with her current family for most of her life. Carerra was an affectionate sweetie who loved people, dogs, and just about everything…especially long rides in the car. She slept peacefully in her crate at night in the master bedroom with her people and never whined or complained about not being on the bed. Playtime was a favorite activity, and she adored balls, especially tennis balls. She had a funny quirk of chasing balloons and biting at them as they bounced and bobbed along the hardwood floors in her home. Even better when she could sink her teeth into one and be rewarded by the loud pop as it exploded in her mouth.carrerra3

Life was good, and all was well in her world. But when a devastating illness struck one of the family members in her home, the family was overwhelmed with the stress and chaos of care-giving, and Carerra was sadly relinquished to rescue. Like her name implied, Carerra was a high-octane girl with energy to burn.

When she came to rescue, she was first greeted by two of the core volunteers who love, love, love, bi-colors…in fact, they already had three of their own. But they seriously considered expanding the trio to a quartet as they were smitten with Carerra at first sight. While they deliberated, Carerra went into foster with other long-time volunteers, a family who’d fostered dozens of dogs over the years. The happy ending? The family became first-time failed fosters and decided to give our girl a forever home. I guess they’d been holding out all along for Carerra, and we couldn’t think of a more perfect home for our beautiful girl.

When I tapped my intuition to check on her, she simply responded timing is everything. The time she had in her first home allowed her to understand and receive love and compassion, but when timing also meant she would lose her home, a window of opportunity connected her quickly with the right family. Timing is everything. It has the power to heal, to put us on our intended path, to allow us to manifest what we need when we need it. Each event leads us to the next step and the one after until we are exactly where we are meant to be.



How Carmen Found The One

Eighteen months ago, Carmen’s world was shattered. Her elderly owner, a woman she’d lived with her entire life, passed away. Unfortunately, the remaining family members did not want her, and Carmen was left at a kennel while the family paid for her monthly board. She languished there for more months, waiting for the only human who ever loved her to return to take her home. That woman never came. And as a result, Carmen began to give up.

As our rescue volunteers came each day to care for our dogs sheltered in the same kennel, it was hard to ignore Carmen. She was sad, fearful, and downcast. In her first and only home, Carmen was isolated with her elderly owner and so she was shy and afraid when she met new people. And as her time in the shelter grew, so did her fear.

Our volunteers made a promise to themselves and to Carmen. A promise to do everything they could to help find her a home. Volunteers began spending time with her. Trying to bond. Trying to connect. Trying to gain her trust.

At first, Carmen would approach them slowly and hesitantly. But at the first hint that one of them might touch her, she’d turn and run for the safety of her bed. Then she’d work up the courage to approach again, only to turn away and cower.

After a few days of cat and mouse, she crawled toward our volunteers on her stomach. As she came closer, a glimmer of life crept into her eyes and the emotional walls that had imprisoned her began to crumble. As days and weeks passed, she learned to trust her new friends, one at a time.

Finally, she allowed herself to be petted and even began to give kisses! And in the play yard, we found that she could run faster and jump higher than any of our dogs. She somersaulted over hay bales, flew around the play yard, and romped in the pool with her new toys. Her favorite game was thrusting her face into the water bucket, rolling in the dirt, and then diving back into the bucket once more to wash the dirt away!

Then we were leveled with bad news. Carmen’s remaining family had decided to relinquish Carmen to a sanctuary—a world of forgotten dogs that belonged to no one. And we knew we had to keep our promise to this little girl and help her find a home with a family who had the patience to work with her and build trust. If the eyes are the window to the soul, anyone who looked into Carmen’s eyes saw the sweet, intelligent soul that resided inside.

Fate finally intervened, and the family finally agreed to relinquish Carmen to our rescue. And she began to attend adoption events and meet prospective families. But she was still fearful of strangers. Especially men. Adoption applications began to stream in, but none of them were the best of fits. Some had small children; others had unfenced yards. So we continued to search for the perfect family.

One day, a new application came in. The family wanted to meet Carmen. They met us at the kennels, and as the husband and wife approached her, Carmen ran straight toward the husband. Even though she was afraid of men!

Within minutes of meeting them, she was offering him kisses and her paw. When the husband and wife returned to see her a second time, Carmen ran to the fence to greet them, wagging her tail with joy.

I think dogs know when they’ve found the right family. They know when they’ve met “the one.” Carmen had bonded with many of our volunteers, but when it came time to say goodbye, Carmen quietly acknowledged the volunteers who’d grown close to her, jumped in the back of her new family’s car, and never looked back. Little Carmen had waited so long for the right family and finally it happened. And that’s how Carmen found the one!


She’s a stunning, soft blond German Shepherd. A hint of black peppers her back, and a pale white, crescent moon–shaped choker frames her chest. When she found her way to rescue, she was battling a horrific ear infection so severe that one eardrum was ruptured. The poor girl was in severe pain. Terrified, alone, and unsure of her future, Blondie shied away from volunteers’ attempts to befriend her and win her trust. So we socialized her by using other dogs to win her trust and bolster her shattered confidence. In time, she warmed up to her rescue playmates and slowly, surely, our beautiful girl began to come out of her shell. Volunteers continued to rally around her. Her ears healed. Confidence and joy began to replace her fear and pain. She gained trust in bonding with other dogs during playtime. And she frolicked in the play yard, bounding over hay bales and racing side by side with our other rescues.

Blondiefullbody_1 (1)During her photo shoot, she posed politely, and with each lady-like image, seemed to know that she was being captured for posterity. It was as if she knew that each photo posted on the website was a beacon to bring the right family to her.

When the day came to meet the resident cat at the rescue kennels, Blondie slowly approached him as he lounged nonchalantly in the arms of one of our volunteers. She sniffed and then sweetly licked the cat through the chain-link fence. Our gentle gem was also good with small dogs. Both of these traits would make her easier to place. She grew to love and crave her time with humans, seeking their affection and loving touch. But still something was missing. Still she yearned for a place and a family to call her own.

One day, a gentleman came to one of our adoption events and talked to a counselor about his wants and needs in his next dog. He had lost his long-time companion dog just weeks earlier. He was still grieving, but Blondie was an imprint of his dog, and the resemblance between them activated the part of his heart he’d closed off after the loss of his beloved Shepherd. A few days later, he put in an application for Blondie.

A meet-and-greet was arranged in order to get a glimpse of the life this gentleman and his GSD companion had had. He is a retired military flier and took his dog everywhere, including Oregon, where he spent summers vacationing and volunteering at the state parks. He and his dog provided tours for the children that visited, and the pair taught visitors from all walks of life how to enjoy and get the most out of park life. A long-time Southern California resident, he’d lived in the same neighborhood for years, and everyone who had known him fell in love with his dog. He knew Blondie would have the same effect for she’d stolen his heart and begun to help him heal within minutes of meeting her. It was an excellent fit. Blondie’s new name is Cheyenne. The neighborhood has already all met her and announced her wonderful. Blondie is well and happy and has her forever home. And her human? He adores her. And he has a companion for his trips to Oregon. He has a companion for life.Blondiehappyanndrelaxedafterplaying_2

When I pondered the importance of their fated meeting, I think it is far more than Blondie finding her forever home and he a lifelong companion to fill the empty void in his heart. I tapped into my intuition and heard the following message.

They are pathfinders for one another. Showing each other the way and bringing each other back to center.

Their relationship is like a mathematic extrapolation of the old adage: Home is where the heart is. I think their union serves as a navigation system of sorts, a beacon to help each other find their way through the world’s energetic structure. Like sonar or radar or an internal homing device, together they will help each other navigate through life and return to center, to home base, and to heart.