Santos: The fallacy of the broken window


LET me be clear, all dogs, as all creatures should be, deserve a happy life. But breeding them do not really make them happy. I have known a lot of well-meaning people who rationalize that their companion dogs should be bred to experience the joys of making love to be totally happy.

In fact, breeding dogs present a lot of dangers. There is the possibility that one of the breeding pair may contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) – yes, even dogs may contract STDs. One STD is the Canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT), a transmissible cancer. Another is brucellosis which causes impotence in dogs and abortion in pregnant bitches. There is also the possibility of the dam having complications during whelping.

One dreaded condition in golden retrievers is the canine hydrops which is the abnormal accumulation of fluids in the fetal sacs and which may lead to fatal complications for both the dam and puppies. Another is the need for an emergency caesarian operation during whelp.

But more than the health complications in breeding and whelping, there is a more important concern why dogs shouldn’t be bred out of a whim. It is a concern that escapes or is ignored by ordinary pet owners but a concern that is insidious because it has the potential to negatively impact generations.

When substandard dogs are bred, structural faults; hereditary diseases, and behavioral issues, may be unknowingly passed down to generations and which in turn will be very hard to eradicate. To illustrate, a golden retriever may have an average of eighth puppies in a litter. Even when only one parent has a physical and/or mental faults and/or a hereditary disease/s then all the resulting progenies will have a higher chance to inherit these defects.

Imagine when these puppies are also bred in the future. These are the reasons why “genuine” dog breeders, in order to stem these indiscriminate breeding practices, have an accompanying “No-Breeding” contract when placing most of the puppies that they bred.

When breeding dogs then, especially the pure bred dogs because of the breed standard that each breed of dogs should be adhered to, it is paramount to screen for mental, hereditary diseases and structural faults of the dogs that are planned to be bred. These stringent prerequisites, obviously, would require an extensive knowledge about the dogs being bred and entail an enormous amount of time and money. These explains why well-bred puppies are hard to come by and the pet shops are not the place to be when planning to have a well-bred puppy.

There is another compelling reason why, when planning to show and breed dogs that one must really start with a very good dog. Obviously, the perfect dog does not exist. But when a substandard dog is used for breeding, with so many issues that is, then a breeder would have to bred-up. Breeding-up is a practice to pair your (substandard) dog to a presumably better dog that hopefully may provide the characteristic/trait that your dog lacks.

For example, if your dog has a poor shoulder layback, then you will find a mate that is known to produce offspring with good shoulder layback.

Imagine if your dog also has weak topline (a backbone that sags at the midsection), cow hocked legs (rear), and unbalanced angulation (front and rear legs), then several generations may be needed to produce a sound puppy. And we are only talking about the skeletal structure. What if your dog further exhibits poor temperament and health? Then generations more of breeding would be needed.

In a way, by starting with a mediocre dog, you would have “destroyed” the breed rather than improving it. And the resources you would be using to restore the breed through generations of breeding would have been used acquiring a well-bred dog instead.

In a way, this coming election is a form of breeding purebred dogs. Our vote will give birth to the next breed of public servants who will lead the nation in the next three to six years.

Will we use our vote to elect candidates who have the desired characteristics and traits to improve our economy, strengthen our judicial system, protect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of our citizens, defend our patrimony and address corruption?

Or will we use our vote to put candidates in power who will add to the breed of politicians who enrich themselves, have no reservations about being dishonest, divide our people, ignore the rights of the poor and powerless, abuse the law, place our economy in disarray, give up our territories, and are subservient to foreign governments?

Are we really a nation of martyrs willing to spend a considerable amount of resources to allow the emergence of a broken government and fix it subsequently? Or are we a nation of heroes who will now choose a sound government this time around?

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