This past weekend dog lovers descended on the “Thanksgiving Classic Cluster” in Springfield, Massachusetts. This cluster of dogs shows is presented by the Springfield, South Windsor, Holyoke and Windham County kennel clubs who join together to offer four days of dog shows at the Eastern States Exposition, home of the iconic “The Big E” fair. Amongst the more than 2,500 purebred dogs representing 167 breeds at the shows, were dozens of darling puppies.
Dog shows are put on by volunteers who then give a part of the proceeds to needy canine causes in their communities. Yes, dog shows are fundraisers. But the best by-product is meeting all the puppies! There is nothing cuter than a ring full of wagging and wiggling puppies waiting to kiss anyone who calls their name. Every size and shape were on hand, from the handsome Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen to Miniature Longhaired Dachshund in the hound puppy ring. There was the large Great Dane and the little Chihuahua, and of course, everyone’s favorite, the Golden Retriever puppy.
Count Our Blessings
During the annual turkey tradition many are faced with the “Let’s go around the table and say what we are thankful for” routine. Heard are the familiar refrains of spouse’s and parent’s names and the occasional ‘good health’ thrown into the mix before consuming an 8,000 calorie meal. But this year when asked that question, my reply will be, “I’m thankful for puppies!” Everyone at the table will giggle and laugh but to someone who has spent a lifetime “in dogs” I really mean this as something serious.
I’m thankful for all the dedicated responsible breeders who plan and lovingly raise litters of puppies. I’m thankful they have spent decades of scientific study in health research, genetics and pedigrees. I’m thankful that when families want a happy, healthy purebred puppy, that meets their needs and lifestyle, they can find one at the home of a responsible breeder. I’m thankful that purebred puppies come with predictable personalities, sizes and coat types, making a lifetime match with a new owner’s needs a very simple and rewarding process.
I’m thankful for the hundreds of breeds (and therefore puppies) in the world. This past weekend I met a 15 week-old Pumi puppy. What’s a Pumi, you say? An adorable Hungarian herding breed with a soft coat like a Poodle and erect ears with floppy tips that give it the cutest expression ever. I melted when I met a 6-month-old Maltese puppy so tiny with its white flowing coat, yet so calm you could cradle him in your arms. Then I met a 17-week-old Norwich Terrier puppy all the way from Finland. His hardy coat, “like a hedgehog” the owner said was a tactile delight. Oh, did I mention the puppy kisses? I am thankful for all of them.
Puppies for the 21st Century
These breeds all had a fundamental purpose to help mankind survive the millennium. Whether to help us with hunting for food, guarding our farms and flocks, or just keeping us warm at night. Some simply being small enough to fit up the sleeve of a royal princess’ robe to ward off the chill in the palace at night. Today I’m thankful for their 21st century purpose. The Pumi is going into Agility, a fast-paced and athletic dog sport to keep her owner active. The Maltese belongs to a senior couple who needs a small lapdog to keep them company in retirement. The Norwich Terrier will be bringing genetic diversity to a breeder’s responsible breeding program. Each puppy has a story, each breed has a purpose. I am thankful that in America each new puppy owner has the freedom of choice for the type of puppy they want.
I’m also thankful that there are smart people who combat and defeat proposed mandatory spay and neuter laws of all puppies sold in America. If that were to happen, eventually, there would be no more puppies. And that would be a very sad world indeed.
So this Thanksgiving I’m thankful for all the puppies and the people who love them. I’m thankful for the volunteers that put on dog shows so the public has easy access to learn and meet scores of breeds and breeders on any given weekend. And I’m thankful for the breeders who preserve and protect them for future generations to enjoy. I am thankful that after the Thanksgiving meal there will be a purebred puppy curled up by the fireplace for everyone to enjoy.