Yesterday was the first morning this Spring I have left home in the early hours to go milking and did not have to light up the outside of the house to open the gate and leave the property. The full moon had woken me at 2.30 am, as I struggle to sleep unless in pitch dark and when I got out at 5 am with the sky clear and the moon casting its silken glow upon the countryside, the birds had been obviously duped it was dawn already and as I opened the back door to let the dogs out, I was greeted by a plethora of bird song. The dawn chorus was in full swing and by the sound of it there was many courtships and conquests to be settled and territories being disputed. The first morning this Spring I've heard such song from our feathered friends and hopefully its a good omen. The swallows made a welcome return last week, and now arrive each evening, lining up on the telephone line at the front of our home and then dive bombing the front of our house as they catch insects, giving us an aeronautical display that makes the red arrows look clumsy. They come back each year to nest and shelter in our stables and are always very welcomed guests.
I have been putting out food for the birds and scattering a bit over the lawn, which seems to have come to the attention of Mr and Mrs Hedgehog, so we have had some fun last thing at night running the dogs out. You suddenly hear a lot of barking and then notice where the barking is directed, a ball and as you get closer you realise its a very prickly ball. They really don't like sharing the garden with the hedgehogs but there's not a lot they can do about it when an animal is so well armoured. Dolly rolls on them, in frustration but a few treats in my hand, a call and me walking on with intention, they soon leave Mr and Mrs Hedgehog to get on with their nocturnal ramblings.
Spring is slowly arriiving here in rural North Devon and the countryside rebirths itself. Spring and Autumn are lovely seasons but Spring at a push is welcomed in with a little more joy, as it is followed by Summer and hopefully the sun on your back giving a welcome repreive before the hardship of Winter.
Dolly had her last clandestine meeting with Reggie on the 19th April and we will get her booked in for the 17th May for a scan being 28 days from her last mating. All going well we should be looking at a couple days either side of the 21st June for arrival of this litter. So fingers crossed and its a waiting game now.
I have yet to have news of Ysobel and Dolly's scans which where done on the 12th March. I was told and it is stated on the information about the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Brain Scanning Scheme a four week turnaround for results, we are now just over six weeks, so if I have not heard any thing by this weekend, I will chase them up at the beginning of next week.
A bit of news I recieved a couple weeks ago from the Kennel Club is they have received from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accreditation to certify dog breeders. You can read the article from the Kennel Club website at http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/4842
Now in this article they state that 1 in 5 puppies come from a puppy farm and with the relaxing of bringing puppies in from Europe I believe that figure is already out dated and it could soon be half of dogs coming from puppy farms. I feel between a rock and a hard place with the Kennel Club. I joined the Assured scheme around four years ago. I've never been inspected and I've yet to meet a breeder on this scheme that's been inspected. The Assured Scheme, or any schemes such as the council licencing for breeding kennels is only as good as it is implemented and at the moment I feel as other breeders, this scheme is falling short of what we hoped it would do. I joined it not to promote my dogs and me but hoped supporting the scheme that it would eventually help to improve conditions for breeding dogs and bring more awareness to the public about puppy farming because we talk a lot about the puppies and the rearing of them before they are homed but the Kennel Club should be telling you how the puppy is the slightly luckier one in the puppy farm equation, the puppy gets to leave the puppy farm but its the mother's that my main concern lies with and she will be lucky if she ever leaves her 2 by 4 cell alive and if she does manage to get out alive, these dogs are often so psychologically damaged by their up bringing, actually being free can become their biggest nightmare. Not once do they mention the mother's in this article and miss making people realise when you think that you have rescued that puppy farmed puppy by buying it, that you perpetuate cruelty to its mother, you have created the demand which keeps the mother's incarcerated. The Kennel Club need to stop the softly softly approach as now we see the borders down for importing pups, we have to really get the word out and and preach to the unconverted, not endless sermons or as they call it seminars to the converted. The public need to be educated about the underworld of puppy breeding and fast.
When I said, "I feel between a rock and a hard place with the Kennel Club," its that I do understand them keeping the fee low to join the Assured Scheme at the beginning to get breeders on the radar but why has the bar not been risen since. It only cost £15 for the first year and £10 annual after. Yes, that's right I pay a paltrey £10 a year and I can put Assured in front of my pups, I have never been inspected and under this scheme I can sell you a puppy from a mother who is only 12 months old, the Dad can be any age, so if he's willing and fertile, he could be just 7 momths old and the only health test this Cavalier puppy's parents will of had to have done is their eyes tested, which will set me back around £42 a dog. They recommend a lot for Cavalier breeding but don't demand it. This scheme enforces nothing for Cavaliers in any manner which improves the serious health problems in this breed. For Cavaliers the scheme has not progressed. Now I have suggested to the Kennel Club in their recent survey that I would happily pay upto £200 a year to be an Assured Breeder if that's what it wants to actually become a scheme that does what its called and that all recommendations became the rule and an inspection a least every two years with random spot checks with breeders, so you could be on occasion checked twice in a two year period. I also suggested that a crossbreed register to record parentage of crossbreed dogs is needed. Unless you mean business Kennel Club, I don't know whether I feel I can support something which I feel is not doing what its title implies and misleading the public. I now feel that I am at an impasse with the Kennel Club. Do I throw in the towel and walk away from this scheme or do I stay with it and hope that although slow to blossom it may turn into what I had first hoped for it. Does the good outweigh the bad ?
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“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Puddin' and Teagol, waiting patiently to flush a patch of kale, December 2019
Hello, I am Jane!