Facebook Groups

Reading my favorite Facebook posts which are “Down East Portuguese Water Dogs”, “Dunham Lake Australian Terriers” and “Australian Terrier International”, I am realizing that each page really represents the the owner of the page more than the group. All three pages love dogs, have good information on them and are involved in the showing of American Kennel Club registered dogs. But yet, all three are so very different.
DownEast Portuguese Water Dogs is mostly involved with breeding and showing of their dogs in many different categories. Obedience, rally, conformation and many things that I know nothing about. I joined this group because I love both the managers of the group. They are experienced, they love their dogs, they are careful about where they place their puppies and they work with them in all sorts of ways. I don’t have a Portuguese Water Dog so I’m somewhat confused as to why anyone would want to go out on a boat and throw orange things at the dogs. Actually, I can’t even swim. Perhaps they could start a life saving training program for them. Maybe there is one already! However, what I do notice is that everyone in this group is totally involved with their dogs. None are chained to doghouses and all are worked with and loved and watch TV on the couch with their owners. These are people that love their dogs and want them to excel in what they were bred for. The people that are involved and communicate with each other in this group are not Presidents that bought a PWD just to be a family member taken care of by an employee. This is a group that is serious about their dogs and I applaud them.
Dunham Lake Australian Terriers is a group that is more social. Although there are many “show” people that contribute, there are more “pet” people. The pictures are more from proud parents and if you are in the group you better darn well “like” the pictures of some of the homeliest Australian Terriers that you have ever seen. Since many of the people don’t know everything about the health and care of dogs and many of the people actually DO know much about the care and health of the dogs intelligent questions are asked and people that have been through the same problems or have read something about the problems are more than willing to share the information that they have so that the answer seeker can have some help in solving the problems. Not all people know that their Vet is trying to help but does not know everything and hints and suggestions from the group that are passed to their Vets can help a great deal. There is a lot of love in this group also. When someone’s dog passes that we have seen pictures and heard stories about for years passes, it hurts us all. When someone is having personal problems and shares them with the group, again we give advice and encouragement. When someone shares that they are having a litter or going to a dog show we all share the excitement and thrill of new puppies or a nice win. (or even a “no” win but a great effort and performance).
Australian Terrier International is a group that has been needed for years. I do have and love the Australian Terrier because I think they like all four feet on the ground (or in the ground) just as I do my two feet. None of this diving off piers into ice cold water to pick up an orange thing. Because the Australian Terrier is not one of the very popular dogs there is a small gene pool. Combining this gene pool CAREFULLY with European, Russian, Australian, etc. gene pools perhaps we can get back to healthier dogs. When I bred Aussies 25 years ago, no one was willing to fess up to the problems in their lines (what, start over?) and artificial insemination was not common and was very expensive. 25 years later I come back to the breed with the thought of breeding again and I see HUGE Aussies with the same problems only with a bit more confessing going on. The question is whether we are going to combine the gene pools and have the world’s Aussies have health problems or are we going to combine the gene pool and cull out the health problems. I pray that it is the later. There are some absolutely gorgeous Aussies out there (with health problems) and unfortunately, because people want to win at dog shows, the don’t care as long as they get the ribbon.
Australian Terrier International (ATI) is a way to get in touch with people worldwide and listen to their stories and the health problems with their pet dogs so that you can avoid those breeders that have the health problems. Again, unfortunately, you rarely hear of health problems in the show dogs. Although we need the judges to tell us whether we are “kennel blind”, the judges can be persuaded just as politicians to choose an unhealthy (or just plain ugly) dog and can also just not know of the health problems of the dog they choose.
At the moment, I have an Australian Terrier bitch that is way over the standard size but she is healthy, she has the best head I have ever seen, the largest ears, the best front and rear and her tail has not been docked. I have had other Aussies that were beautiful and then had a nightmare litter. So who do I choose? The one I have and breed her to a smaller, healthy dog. It has always been a rule of mine to have a Championship on any dog I breed so that I know that a third party has looked at them and approved them. I now believe that it is frosting on the cake to have a Championship. I just want them healthy. To me, at this time, this is the most important issue because I love the breed.
So, going back to Facebook, I truly believe that the groups that are on Facebook are what the owners want. I give credit to all three of those owners. They keep in touch and read the postings so that they can keep troublemakers out of the groups, they join in with their knowledge, and for whatever reasons, they are the ones responsible for making those groups successful and my hat is off to them. Thank you, you three!