Our family has never had a puppy. As a matter of fact, even growing up, I had a number of dogs, and none of them were puppies. I’ve always been the “find a dog in need and adopt it” type. =) Our last dog, Babe, was a yellow Lab who we adopted at eight years old. She was a former breeder dog, and was retired. She lived with us four years before we had to make the decision to euthanize her at home. I miss her so very much.
Labs are one of the most gentle, sweet breeds. We absolutely loved Babe, and she was like my sixth child. After she passed away, I honestly didn’t think we would get another dog for a long time, if ever. But sometimes God crosses peoples’ paths, and you just have to go with it!
Superman and I had already decided we did not ever want another dog that sheds much. Living in a smaller home with five kids, Babe’s hair was a thorn in my side. No matter how often I swept and vacuumed, there was always more hair to be found. One of the reasons we were intrigued by Labradoodles was that they combined two of our favorite things: Labs and low-shedding or non-shedding Poodles.
But I want to answer something I know is on a lot of peoples’ minds: Why get a dog from a breeder when there are so many wonderful rescue dogs available for adoption?
There are a few reasons.
1. We have always “done” rescue.
I’m not sure if this will make sense to anyone, but as I said before, every dog we have ever had has been a rescue dog. They have all been wonderful, but each of them had their quirks, mostly related to their history before we adopted them. Sometimes it was aggressive behavior with other dogs, or separation anxiety or excessive chewing, but it was always something.
Now, don’t get offended at this comparison, but just as our children (who we adopted out of foster care) came with baggage, rescue doggies often come with baggage too. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, it’s just that it’s something to consider when adopting a rescue. It can be exhausting breaking bad habits and trying to rectify the fact that someone hurt these dogs before we got them. And honestly, we wanted to start from scratch. For once, we wanted to get a dog from the beginning so we could do our best to give it the love and support it needed from day one. It doesn’t mean we’ll have a perfect dog, but we’ll have a much better chance of training it the way we want. But I didn’t want to just get a dog from any ol’ breeder. I’ll tell you in a minute why the breeder we picked is more than just the average Joe.
2. We really wanted a Labradoodle.
Again, we love the fact that the Labradoodle breed combines a few of our favorite types of dogs. Yes, there are other breeds included, and so some people refer to them as “mutts,” but the other breeds are intentionally included in breeding, with careful thought and planning put into making sure that the right bloodlines are bred together. Plus, they’re just so flippin’ adorable.
I looked online at some Labradoodle rescue dogs, but it just never quite felt like it was the right fit. And so, enter, our breeder.
Jo of Serenity Springs Labradoodles and I just happened to connect over the Internet. After talking to her, I knew she was the breeder we wanted to go with. You know how I know she loves her dogs like children? One of the features she has for those who adopt dogs through her is a puppy cam that’s live every day from 9 am to 9 pm! At any time, our family could log on and watch the puppies grow. Many times I got to sit and watch Jo interacting with the puppies. She was so gentle, kind, and patient with them, I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that she was giving them the best possible start.
But Jo is much more than a breeder. Her personal story touched me so much, and I wanted to share it with all of you!
Tell us a little about yourself–where are you located, how long have you been breeding dogs, etc.
I am retired from a law enforcement career of 20 years. My husband Ron was raised on a working farm, and now works for Cal Trans. We live in Orland, a small farming community, located in Northern California about 90 miles north of Sacramento. We have had Labradoodles as pets for about 7 years now. This is our 5th year of breeding Labradoodles. After the death of my son in 2011, following his battle with cancer for almost 5 years, we decided to start raising Labradoodles. Our goal was to help raise money by donating back a portion of each puppy adoption toward cancer research.
**I have to interject here to say that one of the reasons Jo and I connected is that just as I refer to my hubby as Superman, she called her son Superman. As you can see from the photo above, Mark had a smile that would light up a room, and truly was a Superman, serving his family and community in law enforcement.
What made you decide to breed dogs?
After being a Guardian Home for another breeder and learning about the whole breeding process I became more fascinated with this concept. So I decided to take on the challenge of breeding Labradoodles. I was very lucky to have a seasoned and well-respected breeder to be my mentor.
After owning a Labradoodle as a pet we just fell in love with the breed, their temperament, and the fact they are low to non-shedding and very smart.
Tell us about the organization you raise funds for.
When my son was sick he was treated by Dr. James Berenson located in West Hollywood, CA. He and his staff specialize in treating patients with the type of cancer my son had, “Multiple Myeloma”. They have their own research center dedicated to helping find a cure for Myeloma and other bone cancers. It’s called The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research.
If someone is looking into adopting a Labradoodle, what advice would you give them?
We are so excited about raising our sweet dog! And I’m thankful to have found a new friend in Jo. I think this is the beginning of a very special relationship!