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Heavy Petting

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re way off the mark.

There are times when the supply of available puppies exceeds the demand for them. When this occurs, breeders must work extra hard to find suitable homes and are genuinely happy when a “pet home” comes along.

The desire of “pet people” to own a purebred dog may help to explain how individuals of those lesser-known breeds find their way into communities all across America.

The first time I met a Komondor on the street was a memorable occasion, I assure you. The young dog’s owner told me he’d always wanted one, so he made it his business to find one. This was in the days before everyone had Internet access. The delight his dog’s breeder must have experienced upon receiving his telephone call can only be imagined: “I’m sorry, but have I heard you correctly? Did you say you’re looking for a Komondor? A pet Komondor? Tell me, have you ever even seen a Komondor?” As he related his story to me, I could see the love and admiration he felt for his dog. It wasn’t hard to understand that this was the only breed that suited him.

On another occasion, I met a couple walking down the street in the center of town. The man was pulling a red wagon that contained – I kid you not – a very geriatric Dandie Dinmont Terrier. I stopped to ask them about their doe-eyed passenger and was told that they’d bought the dog while they were still in college. The woman said she’d read about the breed in a book. She’d found a breeder at “the Montgomery” dog show. “Have you heard of it?” she asked.

Any breed may be found just around the corner. I’ve seen several Bedlingtons on the street, an American Foxhound in the city park, a Glen of Imaal in a parking lot and a family of Thai Ridgebacks – at the Liberty Bell, no less! None of these dogs were show dogs. Instead, each was ¬the treasured companion of someone who cherished his or her particular breed. They were beloved pets.

Through the years, I’ve had many chance encounters with rare and unusual purebreds. Have I mentioned the time I ran into a Neapolitan Mastiff in front of the dry cleaner? Now that was some heavy petting!

Written by

Dan Sayers started “in dogs” through a chance encounter with a Springer Spaniel in 1980. A student of dogs ever since, he’s shown Spaniels and Hounds in the conformation ring and breeds Irish Water Spaniels under the Quiet Storm prefix. A dog lover with a passion for the creative arts, Dan has worked as a freelance writer, photographer and illustrator for many years. His feature articles and columns have appeared in Dogs in Review, Dog World and the AKC Gazette, and his design work has appeared in dozens of publications in North America and abroad. An interest in all things “dog” brought Dan to Best In Show Daily, where he gets to work with the most dynamic group of fanciers every day. He lives in Merchantville, New Jersey, with his partner, Rudy Raya, Irish Water Spaniel, Kurre, and the memory of Oscar, a once-in-a-lifetime Sussex Spaniel.
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