Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

New family member

OK, time to woman up.

This blog is definitely breaking news to just about everyone who knows me so if that includes you, take a deep breath.

First I need to let you know that: 1) I'm not losing my mind, nor am I 2) becoming one of those women who ages ungracefully, filling their homes with all sorts of cats and dogs who happen to wander through the door.

Take a look at this little 6-pound, 7-month old guy and tell me you could resist! Look at those eyes. Even in photos, his eyes look into your soul. In person, it's eery but exciting.

Temperamentally he is an angel. In fact, that's his name. Angel.

His right hind leg was operated on and looks a little crippled now, but it will be completely healed and normal in about 3 months.

And it's not my fault I had to have him. At all.

My "friend" Julie Clemen, who runs the modest but champion-filled Rise N Shine Poms in Washington state let me know she was looking for a great home for him. Just take a peek.

Just take a peek, right. Sigh. He's now the newest member of the family.

I have to tell you I'm not a fan of people who let unneutered or unspayed animals procreate without a plan to place or care for them.

Or irresponsible breeders of any dog or cat; too many don't care enough about the puppies or kittens they create and too often their "purebred" dogs or cats have serious health and psychological problems.

Puppy mills and backyard breeders who only breed to sell dogs - forcing females to have litter after litter until they die - should be shut down.

On the other hand, Julie is exceedingly conscientious about the care of each dog and pays plenty to keep them healthy, happy and housebroken and to find excellent homes for her pet Poms.

To support her "habit," the love of Pomeranians, she and her family built a boarding kennel for small dogs so if anyone needs to leave their small breed pup (20 pounds or less), they can be roomed, fed, medicated, exercised, petted and spoiled- er, I mean cared for at The Little Paws Boarding kennel!

My pups have stayed at places supposedly for small breeds and IMO there has been too little protection or supervision, so Little Paws comes at the right time and for the right price.

One of the Little Paws exercise pens---->

Julie, while not a veterinarian herself, certainly knows about medically caring for dogs with any condition or problem and works closely with a veterinarian she considers "superb."

I'm totally against irresponsible backyard breeders and I think people who operate them and puppy mills should be charged with felony animal abuse, receiving very long sentences when convicted. One of my actors got a "purebreed" bulldog puppy from a backyard breeder recently who was sold as a healthy pet, but in fact suffers from serious health problems. The "breeder" won't take any responsibility for the dog's diagnosed congenital condition(s) or even answer my actor's phone calls.

A woman in the Seattle area was recently arrested after running a backyard breeding operation that produced unhealthy "purebred dogs," sold them for a lot of money and took no responsibility for their conditions or care.

If you have had this experience, please report it to your local sheriff, animal control officer or police. If you paid more than $500, it's felony territory! You won't have to relinquish your puppy if you want to keep him or her, but you can help build a case against irresponsible "breeders" who need to be put out of business.

Likewise sick people who steal dogs for ransom or to sell for drug money or whatever need to know that it is a felony offense if the dog is worth more than $500 and most actual pure breeds are these days.

And believe me, responsible breeders who love the dogs they raise want these animal abusers out of business because they actually care about the animals and feel these bad breeders are a poor reflection on all breeders.

When looking for a pure breed and you're new to choosing? Speak with several breeders and the great ones will become apparent immediately.

Julie also works with Pom rescuers, so Poms who need rescuing and new homes for whatever reasons (often people have died and not left proper instructions for the care of their canine companion left behind) can be helped. You can look under "rescue" and fill in the breed you may want to find pups that need rescuing in your search engine.

Note: people who work in rescue operations finding new homes for pups are generally extremely careful about placing rescued pups to make sure their new home will be healthy, happy and permanent.

I don't consider Pomeranians or any small breeds "lap dogs." They are dogs who need to be trained just like any Doberman, Pit bull or breed of any size or temperament to be good citizens, appropriately social and well-behaved.

Too many people who adopt social breeds like Labradors or lab mixes somehow think they will become automatically trained, but unless they have lots of care - as much as a young child - and socialization? They can get out of control and ignorantly destructive as they grow larger.

I know because I was a volunteer for two years at the Seattle Animal Shelter and worked with probably hundreds of them. By that I mean I took a few minutes to train them and they were *wonderful.* I made it clear to potential owners what it would take - time and training - to keep them sweet and well-behaved so they could have a great experience with the dog.

So many people have told me how much they want a Pomeranian after meeting mine. Well, let me tell you, these dogs are not born this way (although I think Julie has a special gene in her pups with which they can instinctively wrap us around their little paws ... ;-). They need time, attention, training and lots of patience and love.

My Allie Cat?

Same thing. So many people have commented on what a wonderful kitten she was and cat she has grown to be. Once again, what makes her that way? Time, patience, training, affection.

She's a fabulous little cat with her own personality, but needed direction and redirection and praise and affection to make her "happen" as she grew into a full grown cat.

Since we have taken dogs and cats, who used to be wild, self-sufficient animals, out of their natural habitat and domesticated them, I believe we have a responsibility to protect and care for them.

And, I'm pleased to say that I have become a better person for having these little non-people in my life.

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