Working Class Roots

May 31, 2008 at 4:43 pm 1 comment

Young Audie is the son of working parents.  Here is a photo of his mother, Pip and her owner/handler Heather Houlahan at work on a recent search (click on the photo to read the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article about this search).

His father, Boston, is a working cowdog out in Oregon.  You can see photos of Boss here:

The health and working background of his parents were a deciding factor in adding young Audie to our family.  As my friend Geeske wrote:

You are going to invite a living being into your house for maybe over a decade. Thorough research will not guarantee — but will increase the chances of a happy outcome.

Yup.  Its a big decision, not one to take lightly.  There are some excellent tips for finding a good breeder in this article from Border Collie Rescue.


Entry filed under: dog, dogs, health, puppies, puppy. Tags: .

Is the Dog our Closest Animal Kin? Animal Farm Revisited?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Audie's Gramma  |  May 31, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Comment — swear to doG — from a new wannabe SAR handler (another unit, good unit), as we tried to coax his American show-bred German shepherd over some simple obstacles in which his wobbly spider legs kept tangling:

    Me: “Well, he’s having a problem because he isn’t bred to work, and his body isn’t really suited to this”

    Handler: “You mean I should have bought a puppy from that working dog breeder?”


    The show breeder had given the handler a cull puppy that wouldn’t make it in the show ring because she wanted to include “we breed search and rescue dogs” on her website.

    The dog never became operational, of course. But I bet that’s still on her website.

    The working dog breeder wanted money for his working pups.

    Gift horse, anyone? Check that mouth out thoroughly. The $1000 that handler “saved” by taking a free showdog instead of buying a well-selected, appropriate pup translated into months and months of frustration and wasted effort, not just for the handler, but for his teammates and other SAR people who tried to help. It unnecessarily stressed the dog, who ultimately did not enjoy trying to do something he was not good at. All that time was stolen from every lost person who needs a useful search dog to save his life. The handler did not acquire a new dog and become a useful resource — he got frustrated and quit. With a suitable dog, I think he would have stuck around and become a lifesaving rescuer.

    While choosing a companion is not fraught with such dire consequences for others, an ill-considered choice has a decade or more of resonance for the owner. Or not. It may just be a death sentence for the mismatched dog.

    Audie was a great choice for you because of his healthy, robust, mentally active working parents. For someone else, that mentally active part often spells disaster. English shepherd rescue is quite busy enough patching up those wrecks. But healthy and robust and sane should be everyone’s prerequisites when looking at the parents of their potential dog, whether it’s an imported working-line rottweiler or a Japanese chin.

    I chose Pip’s parents two years before she was born. Told their owner to let me know when she was going to have a litter from those two. AMRG got two operational SAR dogs out of that litter.

    Pip is a bit of an overachiever, even by working dog standards. She has two full-time jobs (SAR dog and trainer’s assistant), does both wilderness and disaster work, has raised two litters, has several hobbies (stock work, frisbee, groundhog murder, whoring for petting), serves as Chief of Staff of our pack, and is a fantastic companion.

    We chose her from her litter because the bitch pup that we didn’t take was going to go to a pet home, and we saw what a disaster it would be for her to be that one when we tested the litter.

    Here are more photos of Pip:

    And Boss and friends:

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