They say that planting a tree is an optimistic and unselfish act – even as you plant it, you know that it will mature 10, 20, 30 years later, whether you are around to see it or not.

There are lots of other acts of optimism. Building or buying a house, planting bulbs, having children.

Getting a dog.

While many people have some romantic notion that the puppy they buy or adopt will magically become a steadfast and loyal companion, others know that it takes a lot of work, consistency, patience, and love, to make a good dog.

It takes appropriate breeding – while it is possible to simply be lucky, responsible breeders work very hard to select for breeding the healthiest dogs and those who are best suited temperamentally to do the work for which the breed was developed. They breed for structure, for type (who wants a Saint Bernard that looks like a Whippet?), and to avoid as much as possible the health issues to which their breed is prone.

And they work hard to make the right matches of their puppies to potential owners, knowing that the relationship that begins with ooohing and aaahhhing over the cute bundles of fur will be a relationship that will last at least as long as that dog lives, and probably a lot longer.

A breeder is optimistic that the puppies will be healthy, the bitch will survive and take good care of them, the new owners will love their dogs even more than the breeder loves his or her own.  The breeder will be there to answer questions, offer guidance and support, laugh with them and, in the end, share their grief.

And in the wake of that grief, which breeders and owners alike know all too well, responsible breeders will optimistically keep trying to breed the healthiest, strongest, best dogs they can, and owners will smile at a little ball of fur and imagine the training, the late nights, the chewed shoes and cell phones, the carpet cleaning, the vet bills, the worry and the pain, and tell the breeder “I would love to take that one.”


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