A Frustrated Breeder Asks, Why Didn’t You Call?


AKC Gazette breed column: A distinguished breeder discusses the long-term bond that should exist...

AKC Gazette Breed Column:

A distinguished breeder discusses the long-term bond that should exist between breeder and buyer:


I received a phone call from a lady who owned one of my Pharaoh Hounds. She had Cairo since he was a pup, and he was now going on 14 years. She had called a few times a year, keeping in touch, and also whenever she had a problem concerning Cairo. When this happened, sometimes I told her to call her vet, and at other times I told her what I would do to solve the problem. But mostly we ironed out the wrinkles of daily life with an active dog.

She had so much pleasure from this dog and intended to keep him at his best as long as possible. On this latest call I was able to immediately make a positive suggestion, since one of my old ladies once had behaved the same way. Cairo’s owner was amazed that she had never thought of the same simple solution.

What struck me was how easily Cairo’s problem was solved, only because his owner has kept in touch with me. And then I thought about the many dogs who suffer because their owners do not keep in touch with their breeders. I thought about those dogs whose owners simply give up and bring the dogs to shelters.

Years ago my daughter, Laurie Laventhall, rescued an old Pharaoh Hound bitch from a shelter some distance away from us. The hound had been turned in by an elderly couple who gave no information about her. With help from PHCA Rescue, we were able restore Goldie’s health, but placing an elderly dog is not easy, and we ended up keeping her as one of our own. Goldie lived out her life with us. What bothers me is, why didn’t her owners call her breeder?

Then there is the story about a pup I had sold and whose owner I had kept in touch with. When he was 2 years old, I checked to see how he was doing, and she told me he was just fine. However, a few months later, a veterinarian called me to tell me that the dog had been brought to him to be euthanized. Thankfully he called me instead, and I placed the dog in a new home within 48 hours. He became a much-loved housepet, and a certified therapy dog as well. He lived a long and happy life. As for his former owners—why didn’t they call?

Just recently, we were informed that an 11-year-old male whom we had bred was in terrible condition and in desperate need of a new home. He was still owned by the people we had sold him to, and while they had kept in touch with us while he was young, when they had their most recent problems, they did not call us until his situation had become awful—and they still never told us how bad it was.

Regardless, we offered to take him back, and yet then we heard nothing more from them. Since he was living thousands of miles from us, we called PHCA Rescue for a local contact and got immediate cooperation. Thanks to the coordinated efforts of several Pharaoh Hound rescuers, he has been placed in a safe home, where his condition is improving daily and he is very much loved.

There are many stories I could tell which involve other breeders as well as me, but I think I have made my point. What we all cannot understand is why, when we make ourselves available to assist in problems that might arise, do so many people not call for help or advice?

In most cases, they have paid a considerable price for the dog, and still they are willing to lose out by not seeking the assistance of knowledgeable, experienced people. Economic reversals are to blame in some cases, and we can understand the reasons for giving up a family pet of long standing.

What we cannot understand is the lack of communication between a pet owner and the responsible breeder who would be willing to help if only she knew of the problem. Rita Laventhall Sacks, Pharaoh Hound Club of America