REGALWISE SHEPHERDS

On This Page:
Ten Commandments for a responsible dog owner
"I am your puppy"
"How Could You?",  a story 
Seven Good reasons to have your pet spayed or neutered
Planning to get a Christmas Puppy? 
"Twas The Night Before Christmas"  

 

Ten Commandments for a responsible dog owner

  1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years, any separation from you will be painful for me. Remember that before you buy me.
  2. Give me time to understand what you want from me, don't be impatient, short-tempered, or irritable.
  3. Place your trust in me and I will always trust you back. Respect is earned not given as an inalieable right.
  4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment, I am not capable of understanding why? I only know I have been rejected, you have your work entertainment and friends I only have you.
  5. Talk to me sometimes, even if I don't understand your words I understand your voice and your tone, "you only have to look at my tail".
  6. Be aware that however you treat me I'll never forget it, and if it's cruel it may affect me forever.
  7. Please don't hit me I can't hit back, but I can bite and scratch and I really don't ever want to do that.
  8. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right foods or I've been out in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak, I may be just dog tired.
  9. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old and may also need love, care, comfort, and attention.
  10. Go with me on difficult journeys, never say, "I can't bear to watch" or "Let it happen in my absence". Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, irrespective of what you do I will always love you.

© Stan Rawlinson 1993
Dog Behaviourist and Obedience Trainer
www.doglistener.co.uk
0208 979 2019

 

I AM YOUR PUPPY

I am your Puppy, and I will love you until the end of the Earth, but
please know a few things about me.

I am a Puppy, this means that my intelligence and capacity for learning
are the same as an 8-month-old child. I am a Puppy; I will chew
EVERYTHING I can get my teeth on. This is how I explore and learn about
the world. Even HUMAN children put things in their mouths. It's up to
you to guide me to what is mine to chew and what is not.

I am a Puppy; I cannot hold my bladder for longer than 1 - 2 hours. I
cannot "feel" that I need to poop until it is actually beginning to come
out. I cannot vocalize nor tell you that I need to go, and I cannot
have "bladder and bowel control" until 6 - 9 months. Do not punish me
if you have not let me out for 3 hours and I tinkle. It is your
fault. As a Puppy, it is wise to remember that I NEED to go potty
after: Eating, Sleeping, playing, Drinking and around every 2 - 3 hours
in addition. If you want me to sleep through the night, then do not
give me water after 7 or 8 p.m. A crate will help me learn to
housebreak easier, and will avoid you being mad at me. I am a Puppy,
accidents WILL happen, please be patient with me! In time I will learn.

I am a Puppy, I like to play. I will run around, and chase imaginary
monsters, and chase your feet and your toes and 'attack' you, and chase
fuzzballs, other pets, and small kids. It is play; it's what I do. Do
not be mad at me or expect me to be sedate, mellow and sleep all day.
If my high energy level is too much for you, maybe you could consider an
older rescue from a shelter or Rescue group. My play is beneficial, use
your wisdom to guide me in my play with appropriate toys, and activities
like chasing a rolling ball, or gentle tug games, or plenty of chew toys
for me. If I nip you too hard, talk to me in "dog talk", by giving a
loud YELP, I will usually get the message, as this is how dogs
communicate with one another. If I get too rough, simply ignore me for
a few moments, or put me in my crate with an appropriate chew toy.

I am a Puppy; hopefully you would not yell, hit, strike, kick or beat a
6-month-old human infant, so please do not do the same to me. I am
delicate, and also very impressionable. If you treat me harshly now, I
will grow up learning to fear being hit, spanked, kicked or beat.
Instead, please guide me with encouragement and wisdom. For instance,
if I am chewing something wrong, say, "No chew!" and hand me a toy I CAN
chew. Better yet, pick up ANYTHING that you do not want me to get
into. I can't tell the difference between your old sock and your new
sock, or an old sneaker and your $200 Nikes.

I am a Puppy, and I am a creature with feelings and drives much like
your own, but yet also very different. Although I am NOT a human in a
dog suit, neither am I an unfeeling robot who can instantly obey your
every whim. I truly DO want to please you, and be a part of your
family, and your life. You got me (I hope) because you want a loving
partner and companion, so do not relegate me to the backyard when I get
bigger, do not judge me harshly but instead mold me with gentleness and
guidelines and training into the kind of family member you want me to
be.

I am a Puppy and I am not perfect, and I know you are not perfect
either. I love you anyway. So please, learn all you can about
training, and puppy behaviors and caring for me from your Veterinarian,
books on dog care and even researching on the computer! Learn about my
particular breed and it's "characteristics", it will give you
understanding and insight into WHY I do all the things I do. Please
teach me with love, patience, the right way to behave and socialize me
with training in a puppy class or obedience class, we will BOTH have a
lot of un together.

I am a Puppy and I want more than anything to love you, to be with you,
and to please you. Won't you please take time to understand how I
work? We are the same you and I, in that we both feel hunger, pain,
thirst, discomfort, fear, but yet we are also very different and must
work to understand one another's language, body signals, wants and
needs. Some day I will be a handsome dog, hopefully one you can be
proud of and one that you will love as much as I love you.

Love,
Your Puppy


May be posted, reposted, cross-posted and used with permission as long
as credit is given. Copyright 2000, by J. Ellis - Southern Shadows Rottweilers.

Dear Friends - What follows is a new essay I've written, which I hope will 
help change some minds among those who consider animals disposable. 

That's not you, of course, but if it only sits in your in-box, then it is 
just "preaching to the choir." I hope you will post it where it can be read 
by those most in need of its message, distribute it to your address books, 
and cross-post it to other lists. 
You are welcome to distribute it any way you like, just please retain the 
title and copyright line. 

"How Could You?"
Copyright Jim Willis 2001 <jwillis@bellatlantic.net> 

When I was a puppy, I 
entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. 

You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple 
of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad," 
you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" - but then you'd 
relent, and roll me over for a bellyrub. 

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were 
terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of 
nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and 
I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks 
and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone 
because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the 
sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day. 

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more 
time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you 
through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad 
decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in 
love. 

She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" - still I welcomed her into our 
home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you 
were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. 
I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother 
them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most 
of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to 
love them, but I became a "prisoner of love." 

As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and 
pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated 
my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and 
their touch - because your touch was now so infrequent - and I would have 
defended them with my life if need be. 

I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, 
and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway. There had 
been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a 
photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few 
years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from 
being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my 
behalf. 

Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will 
be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right 
decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family. 

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. 

It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the 
paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged 
and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a 
middle-aged dog, even one with "papers." You had to pry your son's fingers 
loose from my collar as he screamed "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take 
my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him 
about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about 
respect for all life. You gave me a goodbye pat on the head, avoided my 
eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a 
deadline to meet and now I have one, too. 

After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your 
upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. 
They shook their heads and asked "How could you?" 

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules 
allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, 
whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you - 
that you had changed your mind - that this was all a bad dream...or I hoped 
it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I 
realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy 
puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. 

I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded 
along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She 
placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My 
heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense 
of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was 
more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, 
and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. 

She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her 
cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years 
ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the 
sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, 
looked into her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?" 

Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry." She 
hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a 
better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to 
fend for myself - a place of love and light so very different from this 
earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with 
a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not directed at her. It was 
you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for 
you forever. 

May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty. 

The End 

 

Seven good reasons to have your pet spayed or neutered.  

1. For every baby born in the United States, seven puppies or kittens are born. Obviously, there can never be enough homes for them all.

2. A male dog can smell a female in heat up to seven miles away. Unaltered males are frequently lost, stolen, or hit by cars as they travel in search of females. Neutered animals are less likely to roam and fight.

3. Spayed and neutered pets live longer, healthier lives. The risk of prostate, breast, and uterine cancer is reduced or eliminated. Spaying and neutering does NOT make your pet fat or lazy.

4. Eight million pets are put to sleep each year in animal shelters across the US Even if you find homes for your pet's litter of kittens or puppies, that means fewer available homes for the many other unwanted pets.

5. In six years one female dog and her offspring can be the source of 67,000 puppies. In seven years, one cat and her young can produce 420,000 cats.

6. Spayed and neutered pets are better, more affectionate companions. Altered animals are less likely to bite or have temperament problems. Neutered cats are less likely to spray and mark territory.

7. Few things are sweeter than the face of a young puppy or kitten. Yet only one of every five animals born will find a home. Most end up at animal shelters after their owners grow tired of them or find them too inconvenient.

To help solve this ever growing problem, please have your pet spayed or neutered and let others know of the pet overpopulation problem. Every litter prevented means more homes for the dogs and cats that already exist.

If you want to breed your dog for the children to see "The Miracle of Birth", may I recommend buying a video that you can pop in the VCR at your convenience.  Here's a link to one you should probably check out:  http://www.angelfire.com/mi/woodhaven/video.html

Here is a page with a couple of hundred links about what's involved in responsible breeding.     http://www.dog-play.com/ethics.html

Planning to get a Christmas Puppy?

I found this information (I didn't write it, wish I had!) and thought I'd share it with everyone. It's mainly for those of you planning on getting someone a puppy for Christmas!! Those of you who are smart already know not to. WARNING: this is long!

To many people, a puppy is the perfect symbol of the true spirit of Christmas. A puppy represents wonderment, innocence, exuberant energy, unconditional love, hope for the future. These are the sorts of gifts that many of us wish we were able to give one another. And that is a good thing. In an increasingly violent, horrifying, mind-numbing and impersonal world, Christmas time reminds many that there are more important values, that there is hope and love, that joy comes from giving of oneself more than it does from taking. To many people, these values bring to mind the loyal, loving, uncorrupted, hauntingly simple innocence of a puppy.

Indeed, many advertisers and artists have noticed this connection. Images of cozy family Christmas mornings often include scenes of floppy-eared puppies peering innocently out of a colorful gift box, their eyes wide with wonderment and awe. As the scene continues, the puppy stumbles preciously over mounds of gift wrappings, to the great amusement of delighted children who rush to hug the youngster and receive big wet puppy-slurps in return. Mom and Dad smile knowingly in the background as the true meaning of life is celebrated before their eyes. What could possibly be wrong with this picture?

Nothing. As art, as fiction, or as advertisement, it captures a lot of the symbolic spirit of the Christmas celebration perfectly. The appeal of this scene is like that of Norman Rockwell's paintings. As advertisement, it works. It sells products, even those totally unrelated to dogs or to Christmas. As fiction it warms people's hearts. What's wrong, though, is what happens when real people try to re-enact this warm loving scene in their own homes with a real, living puppy playing the role of a prop in this mythic family life-drama.

I am not against dog ownership. I have two dogs myself, and I think the world would be a lot better place if more people had meaningful relationships with dogs. My concern here is with the future of those living beings, those adorable puppies with child-like eyes who show up as gifts on Christmas morning. While images like the one I described may look irresistibly appealing in pictures, art, advertising or fiction, the future for those real-life puppies who start out under the Christmas tree, in all probability, will turn out to be fairly grim. Groups as diverse as, and often at odds with one another as, the Humane Society of the United States, canine behavior experts, the American Kennel Club, PETA, Animal Rights Activists, breed rescue groups, veterinarians, obedience training instructors, and most reputable breeders of sound, healthy dogs, are in strong agreement that live puppies should not be given as Christmas gifts. Here are some of the reasons:

THE ATMOSPHERE OF CHRISTMAS MORNING FRIGHTENS THE PUPPY.
People who study canine development and behavior have found that puppies, like children, go through developmental stages. The first fear/avoidance period in a puppy's development occurs roughly between 7-12 weeks of age. However this is also when the puppy is developmentally best capable of leaving its litter and beginning to form bonds of attachment with its new family. Most breeders agree that this is the right time to send a young puppy home with its adoptive family. However, it is also extremely important not to over-stress or unduly frighten the puppy during this vulnerable time. Fears learned during this first fear/avoidance period can be very, very difficult to overcome later, even with the very best training or behavior modification techniques. In other words, traumatic experiences at this point can have a permanent impact on your puppy's personality as an adult dog.

Your puppy's experiences of leaving its mother and litter-mates, and its arrival in its new home and introduction to its new family, can permanently affect its ability to bond with and trust humans. The puppy needs to be introduced to its new home and family during a relaxed and quiet, gentle time, with a minimum of loud noises, flashing lights, and screeching children, ringing phones, visiting company, and other types of general hub-bub. Christmas morning is absolutely the worst time, in terms of the puppy's developmental needs, for introducing this newly-weaned youngster to its new family.

THE TIMING TEACHES CHILDREN THE WRONG VALUES.
Many families who value pet ownership do so at least partly because of what children can learn from the family pets in terms of care and responsibility, love and loyalty, and respect for other living beings. But think of what happens to the rest of the toys and gifts that start out under the Christmas tree. By Valentine's Day, most of them have been shelved or broken or traded or forgotten. The excitement inevitably wears off, and the once compelling toy becomes something to use, use up, and then discard in favor of something newer.

A living puppy should not be thought of in the same category as a Christmas toy. Children need to learn that a living puppy is being adopted into the family - as a living family member who will contribute much, but who will also have needs of its own, which the rest of the family is making a commitment to try to meet. A puppy who makes its first appearance as a gift item under the Christmas tree is more likely to be thought of by children as an object, as a thing-like toy rather than as a family member. This will not teach one of the most valuable lessons there is to learn from a puppy, which is respect for living beings and concern for others in the form of attention to their needs.

A GOOD BREEDER WILL NOT SEND A PUPPY HOME ON CHRISTMAS MORNING.
Responsible breeders - those who guarantee the health and temperament of their puppies, and who are abreast of current knowledge about canine health, genetics, socialization and development - already know these things and will not send a puppy home with its new owner on Christmas morning. If you were to be able to obtain a puppy from someone who actually let you have it on Christmas Eve so that it could appear under the tree on Christmas morning, that should tell you something. It should warn you that you would be getting your puppy from someone who does not know enough about canine behavior and development to be in the business of breeding or selling puppies.

You would be much better off acquiring your newest family addition from a breeder who knows enough about dogs, and who cares enough about the particular puppies that he breeds and places, to insist that you take the puppy home under conditions which would be best for the puppy. If your breeder does not insist on this, you are purchasing a puppy from a breeder who does not know or care enough about his "product," to be in that business, and you should acquire your pup from someone else instead.

THE PUPPY GROWS UP AND HAS NEEDS.
Many people have a somewhat romantic view of what dog- ownership is like. This romanticism can become exaggerated by the warmth and loving kindness associated with the Christmas season. People who have not had dogs before, or who have not had dogs since they were themselves children, or who have recently had a dog but one who was a canine senior citizen trained and socialized to the family's ways long ago, often are completely unaware of how much work it is to raise a puppy from infancy into a good adult canine companion. They may have mental images of happy times romping with the dog on the beach, or curling up in front of the fireplace, of playing Frisbee in the park or of hunting with a loyal companion. All these are things they might well eventually enjoy with their canine companions. But they may have temporarily forgotten, or perhaps not ever really have known, how incredibly much work it takes to raise and socialize a dog from puppyhood to that point of mature canine companionship.

Unlike cats, who generally do not need extensive training and socialization, dogs require a huge commitment from at least one person who is prepared to teach the dog what behaviors are expected of him, under a wide variety of circumstances. Adults may believe that they remember a Faithful Fido from their youth who seemed never to need training; Faithful Fido always seemed to "just know" what was expected of him. But those adults were children at the time, and they did not necessarily see all the work that their parents and others put into training and socializing Fido.

Professionals who deal with dogs regularly, call this common fantasy the "Lassie Syndrome." That is, everyone hopes for that imaginary dog who has E.S.P. and who automatically knows how to behave in human company without needing any training. In other words, they want a dog like "Lassie." But "Lassie" was a fictional character. "Lassie" actually was owned and trained by Rudd Weatherwax, one of the most hardworking and successful professional trainers of dogs in the history of US television and film. Rudd Weatherwax spent his entire lifetime training "Lassie" to do those things which looked spontaneous in the fictional story lines. No real, non-fictional dog is actually like that.

Real dogs not only must be housetrained - most owners are aware of that need; they also must be taught not to chew the furniture, taught not to jump on their owners, taught not to play-bite, taught not to bowl over the toddler, taught not to dig holes in the yard, taught to come when they are called, taught not to eat the homework or the woodwork, taught not to swipe food off the table, taught not to growl at strangers or bark at the mail carrier, taught to walk on a leash without dragging their owner down the block, taught to allow their toenails to be cut and their coats to be groomed without biting the groomer, taught not to shred feather pillows and down comforters, taught not to steal the baby's toys, taught not to growl at their owner's mother-in-law, taught to sit, stay, and to lay down when and where the owner tells them to, and to wait there until the owner says they may get up (absolutely essential commands for the dog's own safety), taught not to escape out the front door or out of the yard or out of the car when the owner looks away for just a second ... all of these things and many more are not "natural" canine behaviors; they must be taught by owners who are willing to spend the time and the effort doing so.

The reason I mention this is because lack of owner knowledge about the amount of work required to socialize, raise, and train a puppy, is one of the main factors contributing to a huge national problem: the problem of adolescent and young adult dogs being "given up" by owners within the first year or so of having acquired the animal. Untrained, unsocialized puppies might be "cute" and "natural" but they are tolerable only for a few weeks, if even that. Then they start to be nuisances. Then they start to be major problems. Sooner or later they become downright dangerous to themselves or to their families and neighbors.

It is often between the ages of 7-14 months that the dog (sadly, reluctantly) is brought to the pound or to the vet for euthanasia by a frustrated owner as an "uncontrollable" dog, or as a dog with "behavior problems." Or perhaps it is taken to a shelter in the faint hope that it will be adopted by someone else. (Chances are almost certain that it won't; nobody else wants an untrained, unsocialized dog's behavior problems either.) By that age the untrained dog is a full-grown and unruly adolescent. It might have bitten a family member, or threatened a neighbor's child, necessitating the involvement of a town animal control officer. Or the dog may have run away and been hit by a car. Or it may be adopted into a series of homes, one after another, none of which can adequately control it, until it finally winds up on death row at the pound.

These tragic dogs, those wonderful canines known to generations as "Man's Best Friend," never had a chance. According to statistics kept by the Humane Society of the United States, the majority of puppies and kittens born in the United States never reach their second birthdays, even though their natural lifespans should be many times that length. They die from being hit by cars, euthanized by owners, starving or being fatally injured in fights with other animals - including wild animals, some rabid in many areas - after having run away from their owners, or being taken to shelters, pounds or vets, where they are "put to sleep," usually before the age of two. In other words, many, many canine deaths are squarely the responsibility of owners who did not understand what it would involve properly to train and socialize their puppy, or who did understand, but did not do the necessary work.

IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.
"Christmas puppies" often are impulse purchases, in a spirit of love and giving and generosity that goes with the season, but without the hard self-assessment that goes into asking oneself if one has the time and the energy and the inclination to give the necessary commitment to raising and socializing and educating that puppy. Better to get that new puppy at a less emotionally charged time of the year, when the decision to add a dog to the family is a less impulsive and more carefully considered one, uninfluenced by seasonal generosity of spirit, which might just fade a bit after the tree comes down and the lights are put away.

If you are absolutely set upon getting your family a puppy for Christmas, consider this alternative instead: Purchase a leash, a collar, a good book on raising a puppy, a gift certificate for a veterinary checkup, a gift certificate for puppy socialization classes from one of the local obedience instructors, a book or video tape on the topic of how to select the right dog for your family (there are several, including even a computer program that purports to help you do this), or a gift subscription to one of the dog-oriented magazines.

Wrap these up and put them under the tree. As family members unwrap the various pieces of the "puzzle", their delight and anticipation will grow. They will gradually understand what this present is! Then, after the Christmas tree is taken down and the frenzy of the holiday season is behind, the family can once again enjoy together the anticipation and excitement of discussing and selecting a breed, selecting a breeder, selecting an individual pup, and so on. This will increase the family's mutual commitment to, and investment in, the well-being of the newest family member. It will be a project the family has done together, which is a wonderful way for any adoption to commence. This will not decrease the enjoyment of your new puppy; I guarantee it. It will increase it by many fold. And it will be a better start both for the puppy, and for the long-term relationship between dog and owner(s). A dog with a good introduction to its adoptive family is much more likely to become a long term companion rather than just another tragic statistic.

ANDREA

"Twas The Night Before Christmas"

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, With no thought of the dog filling their head. And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Knew he was cold, but didn't care about that.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Figuring the dog was free of his chain and into the trash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below, When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But Santa Claus - with eyes full of tears.

He unchained the dog, once so lively and quick, Last years Christmas present, now painfully thin and sick.. More rapid than eagles he called the dogs name. And the dog ran to him, despite all his pain;

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN! On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Let's find this dog a home where he'll be loved by all"

I knew in an instant there would be no gifts this year, For Santa Claus had made one thing quite clear, The gift of a dog is not just for the season, We had gotten the pup for all the wrong reasons.

In our haste to think of the kids a gift There was one important thing that we missed. A dog should be family, and cared for the same You don't give a gift, then put it on a chain.

And I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight, " You weren't giving a gift! You were giving a life!"

-Stacey Vincent -------

CHRISTMAS RETURNS

Santa comes quietly long before dawn
While shops are still busy and lights are still on
While dinners are cooking and kitchens are warm
And children count presents they'll open by morn.

He slips past the trees in windows aglow
Through the gate to the backyard As icy winds blow
To find the pup he brought last year Chained up in the snow
And, kneeling, he whispers, "Are you ready to go?"

There are too many stops like this one tonight
Before the beginning of his regular flight
He leaves not a note or footprint in sight
Just an unbuckled collar On a cold Christmas night.....

AUTHOR UNKNOWN

From Laura Hamrick, Qui me amat, amat et canem meum. - St. Bernard De Clairvaux, "Sermo Primus" 1150

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