Kennel Club Documentary Strikes a Chord
“The Cost of Perfection” (Oct. ’09) was an excellent article and oh so timely. But let’s be clear that the fault is not only that of the breeders. When judges reward the dogs with exaggerations, then everyone jumps on the bandwagon. This leads to the ridiculous extremes that prevail in the show rings and then the whelping boxes. It takes a great judge with the courage of his or her convictions to select the proper specimens.
On the matter of health issues, the Swedish Kennel Club has it right! Why the AKC does not follow suit is a mystery to those of us who care about the future of purebred dogs. Education of the pet-buying public would seem to be the answer to this problem; unfortunately, people put more research into the brand of refrigerator they plan to buy than they do into selecting a living, breathing companion for their family.
Thank you for your article highlighting the problems with breeding dogs. I have abumper sticker that says “Save Lives: Spay and Neuter.” When asked about it and I explain that every time a litter of puppies is born, it means fewer homes for dogs in shelters who are waiting to be adopted. With millions of dogs being euthanized because of lack of homes, it doesn’t make sense to intentionally breed more.
Was it Beverley Cuddy or The Bark who was afraid to mention the AKC in this article? Pedigree Dogs Exposed could have easily been filmed here in the U.S.; the Westminster show is as much a “parade of mutants” as Crufts.
Of course, everyone claims to be a “responsible breeder,” but the truth is, our breeding practices are no different than those in England. Breeders here have already dug in their heels to prevent changes like those now taken by England’s KC. The AKC needs to step up and start protecting the dogs.
We wanted to let our readers know about this groundbreaking documentary as well as point out some “best practices.” A future article will take a look at similar problems in our own backyard. —The Editors
Many Ways to Help
Thank you for your story on Bali’s dogs (“Bali’s BAWA,” Oct. ’09). I was in Bali a year ago and haven’t been able to get those dogs out of my mind. They are everywhere. I saw pregnant dogs, injured dogs, mangey dogs. I saw dogs dodging insane traffic. I found this heartbreaking until I walked in to the BAWA offices in Ubud, where I briefly chatted with an office worker, picked up some brochures and learned more about BAWA.
According to the brochure, $20 spays one female dog and $10 neuters one male dog, $7 treats mange and other skin parasites. $45 pays for fuel/maintenance to keep the Animal Ambulance on the road for a month.
As Americans, we may ask, “We have enough needy animals in the U.S.; why should I help dogs on the other side of the world?” Here’s why: In the U.S., dogs have been our companions from the beginning but, as the article notes, in Bali, the religious culture doesn’t see them that way. In addition to helping dogs, BAWA is trying to change the culture through education. If you believe that we are all connected, then you’ll understand why this organization needs our help. bawabali.com
—Susan Polakoff Shaw
After reading the article about volunteer vacations (Aug. ’09), my 15-year-old daughter and I raised about 1,000 pounds of food and medical supplies for BAWA and am going to Bali in November to volunteer with the organization. I am a Podiatrist and asked our medical equipment suppliers for donations of expired goods, they have boxes of supplies with only a small dent that they cannot sell commercially. I will be there with my daughter for two weeks. Thanks for the inspiration!
Editor’s note: The Kroenckes are now busy fundraising now to be able to ship what they have collected. If you are interested in helping, email Claudia@thebark.com and I will make sure they get your message.