Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Choosing Your New Best Friend

I would like to share with you how I chose Chance, or rather, how Chance was chosen for me.

I have always loved the Australian Shepherd breed. I spent considerable time reading about the breed and talking to other Aussie owners. I know other Aussies and have always admired their intelligence, willingness to learn, and their zest for life. I wanted a dog that I could train for what I love most, interaction with people. I have had a long desire to train a therapy dog.

I took the time to contact several breeders and talk with them about their dogs. I finally found a breeder that I immediately connected with, Charlotte Upchurch of Peace Creek Kennels in Winter Haven, FL.

When I first spoke with Charlotte I told her what I wanted to do with my dog. She told me that the Australian Shepherd would be an excellent choice. She asked me a few questions about what I wanted, male or female...did I want a Standard or a Mini...etc. I explained to Charlotte that I really wanted the best personality fit. After we spoke awhile she said that she had the perfect fit for me and invited me to come and meet Chance.

I did make the journey of about an hour and a half from my home in Gulfport, to Winter Haven to meet Charlotte and all of her Aussie family. She let me meet all of her dogs and then introduced me to Chance. It was a mutual love at first sight! He came out eager to meet me and as I walked the grounds he would scamper off to play with the other puppies for awhile and come back to check in to see what I was doing. He didn't push himself on me, but rather, he came up as though he was choosing me. I loved that about him.

The best thing I can think of is to be chosen and to choose your new best friend in just that way. Don't fall in love with coat color, eye color, or markings. Fall in love with the dog. Talk to breeders and tell them what you are looking for, what you want to do with your dog, ask them if you can see several dogs and puppies when you visit. The best breeders spend years, and considerable money, dedicated to the betterment of the breed. Sit down with as many as you can and let the puppy pick you. Dogs have an incredible instinct for people and will automatically gravitate to someone with a personality much like their own. What you get is the "perfect fit".

I am so grateful to Charlotte for her dedication to the Australian Shepherd, for her desire to match puppies with the right families, and for becoming my friend and mentor. I value her advice and wisdom. I hope you will find your new best friend in just the same way.

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