Quality kennels - it's not about the numbers.

The difference between a puppy farm and a responsible kennel:

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This is the dog feeding board a friend posted tonight. Yes, there are a lot of dogs on there (although one dog is accidentally listed twice, can you see which?) and yes, they really do have all these dogs on their property. But they are not puppy farmers. How can you tell?

For one, every dog has a name, reflecting their personality. What does that mean? It means every dog is a family member. They're not listed as Puppy 1, Puppy 2, Grey Male Husky, Large Female Malamute, etc etc, because that's not how they identify their dogs. They laugh that people are surprised when they can tell whose "voice" is who's. Just as most of us know the different voices of our own family members.

Also, you know the saying "don't name the turkey or you'll be eating bread & butter on Christmas Day"? This family don't need to distance themselves from these dogs' fates, because they are going to fight to give every one the best life possible.

For another, you can see from the board that every dog has a personalised diet. The aim is to make certain every dog is in the best possible health for that dog. They are different ages, different breeds and have different exercise regimes - there's no "one size fits all" program here.

Lastly, if you know anything about dog food, you know the brand listed is one of the top of the range kibbles - there's no skimping here.

What you can't tell from the board, is that several of these dogs are rescues - surrendered by people who couldn't cope when their cute puppy started shredding the couch while they worked long hours,

- surrendered by irresponsible breeders who were threatened with legal action for the cruelty of having large numbers of dogs in inhumane conditions, 

- surrendered by loving owners who grew too elderly or infirm to give their dogs the quality of life they deserved. 

But, looking at the board, you can't tell which ones are rescues being fostered short term, which ones are the up and coming stars on sledding teams, or which ones are much loved elderlies who don't run so fast anymore. Because these dogs are lucky enough to live with people who don't care - all the dogs get the love and care they deserve, regardless of their role or status in the kennel. 

So, next time you hear about a big kennel, don't assume that they're puppy farmers or dog hoarders. Look at how they treat their dogs and you'll quickly be able to tell if they're running a business or a family home.