The Conversation

Copyright © 1999 Walt Zientek

(Telephone rings at 11:30 PM.)

Breeder: (Sleepily) Hello?

Everyman: Hi. I'm calling about lab pups and someone said that you are the best
professional breeder around here.

Breeder: Er, well thanks, I guess, but I'm not a "professional" breeder. I'm a hobbyist
breeder. I have a real job. I don't make a living breeding dogs. It isn't my intent to...

Everyman: I see! Not good enough?

Breeder: No, that's not it at all. Breeding is an art, not a busin...

Everyman: I get it, slow market, huh? Supply and demand?

Breeder: (Patiently) No, not at all. I have a long waiting list and...

Everyman: Waiting list? How the heck long is this list? Christmas is coming and I want
to surprise the wife with a blonde lab! She's got three days off to train the puppy and
all before we all go back to work at the Plant.

Breeder: (Still patient) Please be patient with me for a moment while I explain a few
basics about buying and owning a dog, responsibility, training, reputable breeding
policies, no Christmas placements and a little about labs themselves. Sir? Sir?

Everyman: Huh? Sorry, I was getting something. (Loud 'snap' of a pop-top) Gulp. Ah!
Now, what were you saying?

Breeder: Well sir, labs come in three colors: black, yellow and chocolate.

Everyman: So you don't have blonde? What about white or silver?

Breeder: You see sir, those are just descriptive names for various shades of the three
colors. Yellow labs can go from nearly white to fox red and chocolates come in a wide
variety of shadings. What some are calling 'silver' has been declared to be a variety of
chocolate and there is some controvers...

Everyman: So how much are you charging?

Breeder: Well sir, when someone has passed our buyer's screening criteria, it depends
on whether they are looking for a Show dog or a pet quality companion.

Everyman: Your what? Hey, I ain't looking to get into Med school here or become the
pope or anything, I just want to get a dog as a Christmas present for Lulu-Mae!

Breeder: Well sir, all reputable breeders do everything to ensure puppy placement in
excellent homes. We guarantee our dogs because we do all medical checks on the
sire and dams. We CO-own most show prospects and have a spay-neuter agreement
on companion dogs. We also...

Everyman: A what-neuter agreement? Nobody takes the jewels off the boys around
here! No way I'm turning my boy into a sissy dog!

Breeder: But sir, (Exasperated) with the number of dogs abandoned to shelters and
the number of unwanted litters produced every year, I feel...

Everyman: Hey, are your dogs registered with the ACK?

Breeder: All litters are registered with the AKC. You, if approved, would be allowed a
'limited' registration.

Everyman: Which means?

Breeder: Basically, that you could not breed your dog and register pups from that
breeding because...

Everyman: Whoa Lady!! You mean to say that I fork over a couple hundred big ones
to get a dog and you are going to tell me that I can't make a few bucks by breeding it?

Breeder: (Very exasperated) Yes sir. But the reasons for that are...

Everyman: Listen lady, if I go down to the mall off of I99 and drop in to the Puppy
Playpen, will they have labs? If I buy a lab from them, do I get real papers? Can I
breed that dog and make a buck?

Breeder: (Angrily) Yes! But then you would be supporting puppymills and horrible,
inhumane practices and...

Everyman: Lady, you don't have a dog ready for Christmas, you screen my application,
you limit the registration, you make me snip the manhood right off of the dog. And to
top it off, you are afraid of the competition. Why do you bother to advertise?

Breeder: Advertise? I don't advertise! I only sell through referrals and reputation! Sir.
I have been VERY patient and have tried to educate you to the facts of reputable
breeding and responsible ownership and it seems that we are getting nowhere! It is
the middle of the night and I would like to try to get some sleep. I have a job to get to
in the morning. Is there ANYTHING else I can do for you before I hang up?

Everyman: Well. there is just one more thing.

Breeder: What might that be, sir?

Everyman: What exit off I99 is the mall?

(CLICK) (Dialtone)

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Last modified: 8-19-2000

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