Saturday, January 31, 2015

You Might be an Animal Rights Radical...

This afternoon while cruising Facebook I came across the following post from a very wise man named Jay Kitchener. I asked him if I may share it here, because it describes what we breeders have witnessed for years. A laughable (if the situation were not so tragic) double standard between puppies and dogs from dedicated dog fanciers and dogs available at shelters.

Just as you have in breeders, there are good and bad rescues and/or shelters. Google "retail rescue" for some eye openers. Read reports of raids and seizures where the acting party was insistent that the dogs needed to be removed (read, stolen) from their owner(s) because surely the animals were at death's door...yet they are available for adoption (SALE) within a week's time, before the owner has their day in court. Evidence anyone??

So Mr. Kitchener's post really struck a nerve with me - he sums it up so well.

You might be an animal rights radical if you believe that:
  • It's wrong to sell a dog for profit, but you should never give one away for free.
  • It's all how a dog is raised. The dog's breed doesn't matter.
  • It's all how they are raised, but getting an adult dog from the street will make a great pet for your family.
  • All dogs are the same, no matter the breed, so if you want a lap dog a 50-pound stray will be perfect.
  • Intentionally breeding is bad, but accidental litters are great, and those are the puppies you should desire.
  • Christmas puppies are bad unless you get them from a shelter.*
  • Pet store animals from licensed and inspected sources are bad, but shelter and rescue dogs from completely unknown sources are good.
  • Tail docking and ear cropping are "mutilation" of dogs, but ripping out a dog's testicles or uterus is an act of "kindness."
  • Ear cropping is "cruel" if done on a dog, but perfectly acceptable if done on a feral cat. (Feral cats are ear notched after spay/neuter).
  • Kennel crates are bad unless they are being used by a shelter or rescue.
  • Keeping a dog penned or tethered outside is "cruel," but keeping a dog crated 23 hours a day is not.
What's the phrase I'm thinking of? Oh yeah - NAILED IT!!

Relevant items brought up in the comments area at the time of this writing include:
  • Mixed breeds, with unknown history of health issues for parents and themselves, are healthier than purebreds with parents that have clear genetic and other health tests.
  • Selling well bred animals for profit is a no-no, but stealing someone else's well bred animals and selling them for profit is ok!
A link making the rounds (also on Facebook) is to an article from NAIA about the ultimate hypocrisy being suggested as a solution to a shortage of dogs in some shelters (is that not the goal??). Having the shelters...breed their own by having volunteer breeders hand over their litters to them!!!


Recent cases (such as the Waukegan Bulldog breeder) are having a more positive outcome (his dogs were returned to him through the actions of those in power who showed some intelligence at interpreting the law) - and hopefully that trend will continue.

Thanks to Mr. Kitchener for his permission to share his thoughts as posted on Facebook!

* For Christmas 2014, there was a shelter offering Christmas morning delivery for those animals adopted (sold!) there. Didn't shelters use to preach against getting animals as presents during the holiday season??

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Made in the Shade

Wow. Lately I have been sharing articles regarding the horrendous actions taken against a dog breeder in IL. It can be so disheartening to hear all the awful tales about the travesties perpetrated upon hobbyists by animal rights terrorists. One has to sit back and wonder...why?

Why do we do it?

Why not just lie down and give up? I was reminded of that answer again today. There are the obvious selfish reasons, that I love my dogs (and other critters), and enjoy raising puppies and watching them grow and develop, and then working with them in the ring or other activities. But how much can one take from adversaries, whether closely personal...or just the perception of the general public who are being brainwashed.

I received an email tonight which has me tearing up with happiness. Not only does it bring back memories of a friend lost to us, but it reminds me of another reason that I do what I do!!

Six years ago last month we welcomed a litter from our Remy/Nikki daughter Duri. One of those puppies was a precocious (read, very happy and very busy) little girl named Shayde. Our friend Tim was smitten with her and took her home. She was always a hoot to see when he brought her to shows or performance events -jumping into the air, then into a play bow, over and over again until she would belly crawl to us with her wagging tail high in the air. She was such a silly and expressive girl. Poor Jill Bell had to try and harness that energy in the ring and she did pick up some points, including a major.

Tim and Shayde - on course

Then Tim became ill and after a while was diagnosed with brain cancer. Friends that knew him and the breeders of the dogs he had came forward and took their charges to help him while he dealt with the worst of the treatment. And we thought he had it beat. He came by one day in his fancy new "EOL (End of Life) Car" - a bright red Challenger with racing stripes and push button start and roaring engine. He was enjoying it because he figured he would never see it paid off, and he relished the ride. He took his "kids" home that were at our home - Radar (Silken Windhound), Munch and Shayde (the Borzoi) and a black whippet named Chester that had hung out at our place. We thought we had a while. But we didn't.

So Shayde, Munch, Radar and Chester returned to us. We got Chester back to his breeder in LA without much trouble. Handed him off to his transport at a Dallas show. Sadly, about a month later, Munch became ill. At first we thought it was vestibular disease - but it became worse, and he began to seize. We slipped Munch back to his master, with many tears shed in the process for that big goofy, loving dog. Oddly enough - the suspected culprit? Brain cancer.

So Shayde and Radar both remained her for years. Both looking for a good re-homing situation, yet never finding that match. We were beginning to give up. Thought about bringing Shayde back out into the ring. And then the application came in for a prospective owner. Communications back and forth were great, and full of detail. A young vet student, some sighthound experience with a retired racer and a young ridgeback rescue (LOTS of playing available for the Borzoi with boundless energy). She lived about an hour from a friend of ours, and I was getting ready to go on a trip with her. Perfect. We could meet, at my friend's, and she could see how Shayde did while we were in NJ, and then I could pick her back up on my way home if it didn't work out.

I have received updates from her since then, accompanied with pictures of the silly brindle beast in her new digs and with her new friends. They had bonded - it was so good to hear. And then tonight I received further correspondence from her which just filled me to the brim with joy, and thanks, and some tears.

Here is a portion of her email, that lifted me from the desolate place I had gone to in my head after hearing so much bad news:

"I opted for Willow as her new call name - she's adapted to it beautifully, but I still have Shayde on her tag, as a 'middle name' - I couldn't let it just get dropped when it's been with her her whole life. I chose Willow because like a willow tree, she has only bent and not broken - I know her life has changed multiple times, none of which can have been easy on her, so seeing her so happy and lovey now is a testament to how wonderful her life has been and how much she's been loved all along. And also because I'm a Buffy the vampire slayer fan, and 'Waiting for Darkness' reminded me a little of my favorite character, Willow, since she has a dark side.

So Willow has been amazing, I can't thank you enough for letting me bring her home with me - she's such a special dog, and I really can't imagine life without her now that she's here. I've always had a love affair with borzoi from afar, but I don't think I'll be without one again. Thank you again, so so much, for my baby girl."
No Amanda, thank YOU.
Shayde and some of her new friends, Christmas 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

First Quarter 2014 – UKC Rankings

Deuce showing at the 2012 Silken Windhound national specialty showThe UKC Rankings for Events through March 30, 2014 have Deuce ranked as the Top Silken Windhound as of the end of the first quarter of 2014. He had gone with Victor to shows in Hutto, taking Best of Breed all 4 shows that weekend, and then he won a couple more at the Denton shows in early March. Needless to say, I am quite proud of the “White Tornado”!

Of course he is likely to move down from there for a while as we likely will not make it to any more UKC shows until after showing at the Premier in June (where Pasha will be competing in the Top Ten Invitational, defending his #1 spot from 2013). Hopefully Deuce the Doof will pick up steam again in the late summer!
Deuce is pictured showing at SilkenFest 2012 in the 12-18 Month class.

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Arrival – Talisman Gryffyn’s Dulcimer, “Dulci” (Silken Windhound)

Meet our newest Silken Windhound!



This past Saturday we had a “special delivery” via American Airlines from Walnut Creek, CA courtesy of Joyce Chin (Talisman Hounds). A cute little gold brindle spotted girlie-pup named Dulcimer (or “Dulci”). She is a daughter of our Pryss (Gryffyn’s Aeyrie Centerfold) who was Best Puppy in Sweepstakes at the 2009 SilkenFest (the Silken Windhound national specialty show). Pryss had been leased for a breeding a couple years ago in the PNW area and had come to be at Joyce’s as we worked to get her back to Texas. After she had been at Joyce’s for a bit, I got an email asking if I would be interested in letting her become a California girl. It took a bit of persuading, but we eventually agreed on doing a co-breeding with a puppy to come to us. We really liked what Pryss had given us in her first litter (the Q-pups, including Deuce and Velvet) and had wanted to do another breeding with her.

Dulci is the culmination of that agreement – and we are thrilled with her.


She has settled in well to life at the Aeyrie and has lived up to Joyce’s description of her on the Talisman Hounds web site:
“Dulcimer is the first to do everything in her litter. First to open her eyes, first to wag her tail, first to make it out of the whelping pool, first to figure out stairs, first to lead the litter into adventure. Interested, active, fearless, sassy, and proud, she’s a tiny force to be reckoned with!”
Yes she is!! But being a tiny force takes a lot of energy and then time to refuel. She really excels at refueling too – she is an expert-level napper!

Dulci naps as Pasha and Victor look on

After her long day of travel filled with an overload of sights, sounds and smells then meeting and playing with her new family, we had one pooped pup. So then we got to rest for a bit ourselves!

G’nite everyone!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pasha is 2013′s Top Silken Windhound

Happy dance happy dance! It’s official – Pasha (ISWS CH UKC Grand CH Gryffyn’s Aeyrie Stop and Stare) is 2013′s #1 Silken Windhound in the UKC (United Kennel Club)!! I believe he is also within the Top Ten All-Breeds!! So proud of our beautiful, deserving boy!

#1 UKC Silken Windhound
One of Pasha’s BOB wins at the 2013 Gateway shows
It took some traveling for this accomplishment – in addition to the “local” shows in Texas, we had traveled to Kalamazoo, Michigan (UKC Premiere and SilkenFest), Grey Summit, Missouri, and Longmont, Colorado. Along the way had good company to visit, as well as getting to see some nice dogs from around the country. He also was awarded Best of Breed at the 2013 Top Ten Invitational competition at the UKC Premiere shows in June of this year.
Pasha was also breeder/owner handled all the way!

See Pasha’s page on the Gryffyn’s Aeyrie Silken Windhounds site.

Monday, January 6, 2014

It's Party Time!!

Our first show of the year in Texas is the Nolan River Kennel Club cluster held in the little town of Glen Rose, known for its dinosaur tracks. We have had some nice success here in the past, and it is a show site that we enjoy. There used to be lure coursing trials held in conjunction with the shows, which made for some long days – but those times are now gone. I fondly remember when we had Solo out as a special and he went from winning Best of Breed, over to the field to run prelims, then back to the building for Hound Group where he received a Group 4 and we had to rush to get his picture and then drive him back over to the field. The judge was astonished that the dog had shown in the group just after a gallop in the field instead of a stint on the grooming table, like some of these specials being treated more like Poodles than proper hounds. Of course, it helps that Solo possesses ring-ready coat at all times and only required a brush-out before strutting into the ring!

We had a great start to the year, with Beast winning his 3rd major from the Bred-by Exhibitor class, going Best of Winners on Saturday under judge Dana Cline.

Borzoi Beast is Best of Winners

On Sunday our judge was Charles “Chuck” Trotter. Beast again took Winners Dog/Best of Winners for his fourth major and completed his conformation championship!! His sister Me!Me! and housemate Nox fared better under Mr. Trotter than the previous day, taking 4th and 3rd in BBE respectively. Sadly, Boo was still invisible in the specials line-up.

Borzoi Beast finishes his championship