To the Editor:
Re: “Behold the Humble Mutt” (Susan Braudy’s Diary, April 1), there is much to love about mixed breed dogs, but nothing is black and white like a Dalmatian’s spots. Beauty in dog breeding is more than skin deep. I am neither a breeder nor a show person. I chose my purebred from a show breeder because I loved the characteristics of the breed and I wanted a healthy dog.
I was blessed with a dog of beauty that strangers in the street stopped to see close up. They gave her no ribbons—only love and pats.
But like people, she was more than a pretty face. Her temperament was gentle with babies but she could roughhouse with her fellow canines. She lived for 16 years with minimal health issues. She died in her sleep.
I, too, found myself at Westminster looking at a variety of dogs that I knew would never fill the void in my heart. I saw many of the same breeders I had met 16 years earlier. Anyone who has bred and shown animals knows that it is not a way to make a fortune. And a good breeder will be there for the lifetime of their dogs. Most require that if you ever need to give up your dog, you will return your pet to them (no matter what the age). Breeders who sell dogs that will not be shown require that they are spayed or neutered before they go to their new home.
The American Kennel Club is not just for purebred animals. The AKC teaches responsible ownership with its “Canine Good Citizen” program, and agility and obedience programs, all of which are open to dogs that have no papers. The AKC also teaches about the origins of the breed so that potential owners can match their lifestyles with the needs of the dogs.
Buying a purebred dog is much like an adoption. The potential buyers are scrutinized, as Ms. Braudy stated when she tried to buy from Roy Cohn. She took his remark as snobbery. But he was being responsible (and he certainly didn’t need the money from the sale). By the way, when I was a child I met the Duke of Windsor. He held his pug close to his face as any one of us would. At that moment, he was not a former king, a breeder or a show competitor. He was simply man who loved his companion.
Mixed breeds have their share of health issues, but their imperfections are not scrutinized in a show ring. I would encourage all to visit a shelter to find a companion. But choose each other. Dogs do not choose you for the way you look, and neither should you choose a dog for that reason. But if you love a breed, go to a shelter, too. If that fails, then go to a breeder.
It is true that I made the choice to bring another purebred into my small apartment (not a North Shore mansion, and no balcony). But this was done with the care that comes with any lifetime commitment. Long live all of God’s creatures.
John C. Jeannopoulos
Upper West Side
To the Editor:
I fully concur with Ms. Braudy’s disgust with dog breeders (“When will we start shooting dog breeders?” she asks—facetiously, I’m sure). Forgoing Ms. Braudy’s “call to arms,” I call for a more peaceful, temporary moratorium on all dog (and cat, for that matter) breeding until the shelters in this country are near empty. For those who must have a purebred, up to 25 percent of all dogs living in shelters and with rescue groups are pure breeds. Breed-specific rescue groups can be found at www.petfinder.com, Rational Animal’s “Trails to Tails” 2010 map (www.rational-animal.org) and through simple Google searches. Lastly, although Ms. Braudy has every right to love little mutts, I would like to mention that in New York City, the great majority of the dogs euthanized at Animal Care & Control are medium- to large-sized mixes that greatly deserve love and life-saving adoption as well. Please, don’t breed or buy while shelter animals die.
East 75th Street
Letters have been edited for clarity, style and brevity.
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