Queen Elizabeth Pocket Beagles was first only me. But I soon realized I couldn’t make the dog breed by myself. It was too big a project, overwhelming to try to do on my own. The responsibility for what I’d started weighed heavy on me. The numbers of dogs it took to maintain all the lines was intimidating. And the dogs needed more attention. I felt bad for them because they all wanted to be house pets. I was on a farm but even my neighbors were even mad at me. The original beagles I’d used were full-blooded hunting dogs and they were howlers! But I kept going with it because the puppies I’d made were so happily received–their new guardians encouraged me to keep it going. They loved their temperaments. It proved I was headed in the right direction to make a better breed of beagle to be a house pet instead of a hunting dog.
I loved what I’d started and wanted their bloodlines to endure. But this was too big to do, impossible on my own. So I began placing mated groups of dogs with trusted families that would share my vision. And that is how our breed foundation was born. We became a support group to each other. And the dogs continued to evolve and eventually branched into five different dog breeds. It has become more important than ever to have diversity in people working with them from separate home bases. It protects the bloodlines. When we need to improve the lines and someone has something good, it is shared. We plan together. It has been a cooperative effort to improve them. Through a decade of careful cross-breeding, within our many bloodlines, we strive for unity in what the dogs will become as they subtly change in looks with each new generation. But our combined effort to make the breed recognizable also becomes a solitary endeavor.
Each breeder within our foundation must make it on their own. And times are harder than ever to be able to survive by breeding dogs in this weak economy. We have to pay our bills. We have to eat. Hunger threatens to make us lean and mean. It demands us to be competitive. We keep an eye on what people outside our organization are selling on the net. We watch how our co-workers are marketing their dogs within our own website. And each breeder continually tries to improve our own bloodlines and take the best pictures so the customer will pick ‘our puppy’. We need the sales to support our individual breeding programs. We need the sale to support our family.
Self-promotion can be ugly. It eats away at the supportive relationship we had with with our co-workers. It makes us believe we are being undercut. Or leads to resentment if we believe we work harder at what we do than another person. It makes us think about striking out and doing it on our own. That’s a dangerous path of thought. We start to forget why we need each other.
There are so many new breeds being made all over the world. We are winding down in the designer dog craze. There is a trend to go back to the basics when there is less spending. So many of the simple cross-breeds and designer dogs are going to fade away. Without organization the breed will meet its natural death. It will die when our dogs die, and the years of effort we made to perpetuate them will go to dust too. I know the people in our breed foundation don’t want this to happen. It is not enough for us to simply have been making money from puppies. We have a vision. We are making a real dog breed. It has qualities and merits of its own that are too good to lose. We want to see it through to be even closer to its ideal. We care about the breed. We can get recognition for our breeds if we stay unified. It’s become our legacy to the world.
Our foundation of breeders keeps everyone heading in the same direction. In creating the small dog breeds we selectively bred for good health, easy going temperament, and loving devotion. We wanted them to be kid safe dogs. In the process we discovered we’d created good natured small dog breeds that make ideal emotional support animals. Our foundation’s purpose is now reinvented through the Get-A-Wag program.
We donate therapy dogs to children and adults with special needs. We are more than dog breeders. The Get-A-Wag program becomes our main focus. We are serving others and showing through free donations that our breeds are well suited to be therapy dogs. It validates the sacrifice of time, energy, and effort we sometimes take away from our own families in our devotion to our breeds. It keeps everything in perspective and gives us a greater life purpose. But we will have to remain team players. We can’t develop the unique dog breeds and take them to the height of service through the Get-A-Wag program on our own. We share a common bond. Our family of breeders remain our supporters, our allies, and we need each other to succeed.