The Storm before the Calm
My last post left off with an image of a young girl trying to save the baby birds by possibly destroying them. She was trying so very hard to save the birds, with the best of intentions, but probably with the worse of outcomes. Many times, I receive phone calls from possible clients and I can see the same thing happening again. I answer their questions and I hope I can get through to them so that they can begin to comprehend the difficulty of what they are asking me to do. They often will say things like “I really want to rescue a dog” or "I don’t want a show dog.
I just want a good dog for my children. “They are somewhat surprised when I ask what will the primary function of this dog be. What do you see him doing for your family? It is usually a simple response” I just want a pet”. Many times I will ask what size they would like the dog to be or any characteristics that are important to the caller. I am usually surprised by the simplicity of the response. I just want a good-looking great dog. In my private thoughts, I think- and you believe that will come from a rescue? A pup that has had a tough start, with little hands on experience, somewhat limited training, that could be heath compromised and probably is emotionally traumatized. I wish that the outcome for rescue cases were as optimistic as these potential new owners hope. I do believe that we, as experienced breeders and dog handlers can make a real difference in many a rescues life, we can certainly give them a better chance than most.. But should you take a chance with your family and children? Many times the baggage is just too great. The health issues alone can be overwhelming. Let me stop here a moment with these thoughts and share a recent rescue story that is true.
This is the story of Gracie one of our white labs that lives with a family member in North Carolina. Gracie is a love and she is one of our Earth mother ”Baily” pups. She has been nurtured all her life. She was bred and raised at Legacy-Labs and then my sister Karen came from North Carolina and took her home to be with her family. Gracie grew up as a loved and cherished family member. At no time has Gracie been anything but loving and well behaved. If anything, Karen, my sister would say that she is too submissive. She had a hard time training her to sit, as Gracie would just “Rollover” turn tummy up for a good tummy rub. This is a very submissive dog. I would describe her a super smart, low drive, never a hunter to be, a great family pet with no aggression in her and somewhat on the submissive side. This is what we all believed of Gracie.
Two neighborhood girls, two sisters, loved Gracie. I believe they were 6 and 10 years old. The two sisters would come over several times a week and ask Karen if they could take Gracie for a walk. Karen always sent the girls on their way with Gracie. This had been going on for quite a while. This particular day, when the girls came over and asked to walk Gracie, was just like any other day. The girls gathered Gracie and put her leash on and off they went. They were just walking in their neighborhood and Gracie knew the way. The girls and Gracie had no idea that a block away, the neighbors had adopted a 100-pound rescue dog.
We will call him Rescue Roger. As they all walked on their walk, Rescue Roger aggressively barked and went running toward the girls. The sisters had no idea what was coming. Roger came after the two little girls and while the older sister was screaming for help and trying to hold on to Gracie, Roger had gone after the other, younger sister. Gracie is a big girl. She is at least 75 pounds and when she saw this dog aggressively going after the child, she broke lose from the older sister and went after Roger. The dog had the little girl down on the ground and was biting her in the face when Gracie took on Roger. Roger outweighed Gracie by at least 25 pounds. Gracie and Roger were in a serious life or death fight. With Roger’s full attention on Gracie, The older sister was able to grab her younger sister and run for help. Things like this happen in a second.
A minute later people were running from all directions to help. The new owners had “no idea” that Roger would do this. Gracie was bitten and her white coat bloody. The ambulance came for the younger sister and although she was ultimately fine, she had to have stitches in her cheek and face. Gracie was cared for and she ultimately recovered. I don’t even want to think of what would have happened had Gracie not been there.
This is true story. There are so many unfortunate things that happened on this day that allowed this to happen to the sisters. Of course, the new owners had no idea Roger would attack. How could they know? There isn’t a history that comes with mature dogs. We all so want to do the right thing and try and help all the animals in shelters. EVERYONE with a heart understands this. It’s so sad for everyone involved in this situation. All had the best of intentions, but the outcome was a disaster.
We put a lot of faith in rescue groups. Typically however, they are under funded and overworked. They all thought Roger was an easy good-natured dog. How could they know, that he thought he was protecting his home from Gracie. How could anyone know he thought he was doing his job. Probably as he had been taught earlier in his life. When an animal is triggered. There is no training that will undo this. Gracie simply reverted to who she was, a wonderful dog that was a protector, and Roger reverted as well to what he was.
I know that there are positive experiences with rescue animals everywhere. I applaud those families that were able to accomplish this. I only want all families to ask themselves, if they are educated enough, to handle a potential problem, if it were to occur. I don’t know why we continually take risk with our families and children for large animal rescues. I strongly feel that the entire story needs to be told. Large animal rescues are not for a family that has little or no experience with dogs. In this case the rescuers, were almost responsible for a serious injury or even worse. Too many kind families are just to naïve to understand what can happen have answered many potential clients questions about rescues situations with questions for them. Are you equipped financially to deal with the health issues these dogs often come with?
When we talk about breeding great dogs, some basic understanding of genetics must be understood. Without trying to bore you all to death, Genetics simply stated explores what traits can be reproduced by selective management. I have really enjoyed some recent publications that share case studies that many animals are good cases for domestication. In a recent edition of National Geographic’s, a case study for the past 50 years has created beautiful foxes as gentle and domesticated as any dog. What is amazing to me is, they have shown this to be true in as few as 6 generations. They started with wild foxes, and thru selecting the foxes with the desired traits, they produced foxes that will easily or naturally tend towards domestication. I mean tail wagging, face kissing foxes.. In a secondary study, they separated the wildest foxes, with no tendency towards domestication, and have produced foxes that not only act completely different, but also LOOK completely different than the domesticated foxes. It seems true, that domestication brings changes in physical characteristics as well. Those of you that have read other writings by me, know that I really seek what we as humans, find as endearing traits. I am thrilled to see a case study that backs this up. Once we understand why as dog is a great dog, the challenge of reproducing it, becomes a clearer, easier picture
So where do we start?
In all cases with animals, temperament or disposition must come first. As sad as it is to say, I have had to place stunning, drop dead gorgeous labs, after they were neutered, into a home that was suitable because they just didn’t have the right temperament. They were either too hyper, or too protective.. I can’t use a dog that is not 100 percent trustworthy. Dogs that tend to be extreme in any one area, be it beauty, or hunting, have usually been selectively bred for these traits. I have to ask myself. Is there a down side to having to much of a trait. Many times the answer is yes. A hunter that is a great hunter can be extremely hyper and have too much drive for a family pet. A friendly family pet will not have enough drive for a serious hunter. The requests we receive are so different. That’s is why it becomes so important for a family to give me any special needs or requirements they require in a potential pup. All the pups always find great homes, but it’s very important that we discuss what you need in your family pet. I had one wonderful family that needed a service dog to continually break her falls. The dog’s job was to keep his owner from taking a hard fall and injuring herself any further. He would literally put himself between her and the ground. For a time, our client wanted a Labradoodle as they are non-shedding (great dogs by the way) and her lab’s shedding had become an issue in her mind
It took some time for her to realize, a light framed dog like a labradoodle would injure itself trying to break her falls. Labradoodles aren’t built for that job. We needed a heavy boned strong male for this family as a therapy dog. This is a clear example of building a dog for the purpose it should serve. We continually out cross our dogs lines to infuse traits that we feel they need, or can use improvement on. In the case of labs that are white, you have already eliminated 95% of the dogs available. There are so few really white labs. Then we need genetic testing to be clear, and hips to be clear of any abnormalities. It narrows the dogs that we can choose from to almost none. So many times I have been heartbroken with a great-minded dog, showing all the intelligence and kindness that I need. And then he fails in the genetic testing. It just breaks my heart. Another great dog eliminated from the gene pool, neutered and sent to a suitable home. It has come to the point, where rarely will I infuse a line into our line of dogs, until they are at least 18 months old. It is only in the last few years that I can say we now offer white labs, of superb disposition, genetically sound, stunningly beautiful and the final piece to this equation-Championed Lined pedigrees. It has taken over 20 years of breeding to finally accomplish this. However, this is really only the physical potion of raising and selecting a puppy.
Hopefully, as I begin to explain what it takes to make a great dog, you will begin to realize, it doesn’t happen often by accident. The vast majority of our dogs have gone on to be all their families needed and more. So when I began my quest to breed great dogs, where in the world did I start? It really comes down to this. Once the physical attributes have been met thru both the sire and dam, I believe all great pups come from great mothers and sires. I have a collection of great dogs. They have repeatedly shown me what it takes to duplicate the traits that they have. First and foremost a great dog is also a great parent. It makes since. MY canine parents are emotionally strong. I don’t mean average strength. I mean really strong. My mothers are able to feel and equate sadness and joy. They have pride in accomplishment. They can problem solve. They are devoted family members and will seek us their human family in times of need or stress. I can tell countless stories, but one of my funny favorites happened years ago. I had an injured Arabian mare that was really crippled. I needed to put her down, and I was working up the strength to do so. When we moved to our ranch, it was winter and we didn’t have all the barns and facilities built yet. Dabrelle, our old crippled mare had gotten herself caught in a tree somehow. She couldn’t get out. She had a companion lab that always watched after her and went most places on the ranch with her. He was one of our very first labs we called Shack “Legacy Sugar Shack”. That night when Dabrelle didn’t slowly wander up for dinner, I started looking for her and Shack was barking like a crazy man. Now Shack never barked unless there was a good reason. I called for Shack and he wouldn’t come. Now that never happens. I make my way to the back of the ranch and find Dabrelle not only caught in a tree, but she was tired and trying to lay down in the pond, which would have caused her to drown. She could never have gotten up in the mud. I don’t know how long he did this, but he nipped at her and irritated her enough that it kept the old mares attention on the “crazy” dog and not on her growing discomfort and pain. He easily saved old Dabrelle that night. We were able to untangle her and get he safely up the bank and back to the barn Shack was jumping for joy and delight. He analyzed that situation and realized that she was in different types of trouble. He understood that if he left, she wouldn’t make it. He disobeyed me, to save her. Shack was able to “problem solve” .He came up with an answer to a potential problem that he had never encountered. He acted correctly and decided what was the greater- good. What a smart, emotionally stable dog.
These are the emotional strengths that we are trying to keep in our dogs.. This is what I feel is absolutely critical .Yes they may have basic skills to learn, such as potty training and basic commands, but on the whole a great dog will enjoy and love her pups in the manner that she loves her human family. The nurturing that young pups get from their mothers is critical for the pup becoming a great pup. If you breed animals, you will see this is true in many creatures. My great horses will often have the best foals ,as far as attitude temperament and trainability. I constantly watch my pups, not only for what you as a client may need in a dog, but I am looking for a potentially great mother. All pups trust their mothers first. It’s the first thing they learn after eating. A great mother is able to separate and feed her pups by groups. If you were to mark the pups, as I have often done, the skilled mother will always separate the same groups together. She insures that a large litter is well fed. A young mother is literally clueless to these concepts. I have to show her to separate and assist her with her pups. A great mother will learn this quickly.
They learn from an early age to trust their mothers and their human family with an unshakable bond. They see the mother’s interaction with us as caregivers and mimic the behaviors that they see. If they see the mother always bright and happy and tail wagging when we come in the door, then they behave the same way. If we keep the mother and her pups clean , then this becomes their base line for life. I always explain to my clients that a puppy raised to be clean, will become very distressed if there is fecal matter or urine in their bedded area and they are forced to lay in it.. It is almost cruel to force them to lie in it as many poorly designed crates do. You should always have a crate at least for the first 5 months that pulls out to clean with a subfloor. Very quickly, the pups become used to following the mother with the joy of seeing their human caregivers.
They can scoot or walk as young as 2.5 weeks. I start teaching the pups simple things, even at this age. They learn to recognize and come to my voice. We communicate with them constantly so that they hear our intonations and know what they mean. At 4 weeks lessons begin in earnest. Pups are taught to calm and relax by stroking. It’s really a lot of fun, because as we are teaching one up we are watching for tendencies with the entire litter. Each puppy becomes an individual starting at 4 to 5 weeks. WE let them stabilize at this point for a week or so, so that we can really see who they may grow to be. Once we start weaning at 6 weeks, then they are introduced to beginning stresses. They don’t get what they want. When they want it. Finally as they begin to understand that all their food doesn’t come from mother, they really begin to form the bonds with their caregivers. AS they continue to grow, they begin to BLOOM. BLOOM is such an important concept.
Bloom means that they grow in confidence daily. Bloom means that they can handle a degree of stress with confidence that you would expect of a pup that age. Bloom means the pup reaches out for you emotionally can feel them do this, as most of the good breeders can. We will constantly watch for a pup to explore emotionally and then we reinforce this behavior. What does this look like? Puppy will often crouch or show submission, as he is unsure of what to do. By rewarding him with words and stroking, we encourage him to push thru his timid behavior and conquer the presented problem. WE teach the puppy to trust. WE really reward and encourage eye contact at this age. The puppy will learn so much by learning our expressions, smiling, laughter, frowning. All these skills are a part of blooming. It’s so important that they learn to trust and handle a degree of stress in an acceptable manner. Then pup can then handle the transition to a new home, and the family that purchases the new pup is well on the way to having their great dog.
When we trained and showed horses all over the country, I repeatedly would get the call for a “kid broke” “bombproof” horse ”Just for my kid to ride around on” .The going price that buyer would want to pay was 500 to 800 dollars. I would always smile to myself and kindly respond, when you find them, I will pay you thousands for them”. I am not sure why our society has the idea that the animals we bring into our homes and into children’s lives, should be the cheapest of animals. “I don’t want a show dog” means I don’t want to spend a lot, yet I want it to be genetically sound, great disposition, trainable, and above all safe for my family. I just don’t know what to say to those phone calls.
When I restructured my breeding program, this companion animal became my primary goal. Since I had missed the mark so miserably the first time around, I decided to become very analytical about what really was a great companion animal. I spent weeks searching and watching, listening and learning. I balanced intelligence with beauty, trainability, mystical undefined skills like “heart”, I studied what really makes a dog want to be loved and seek human companionship. What personality traits do we all want to see? What makes us look into a dogs face and know that he has a soul?
These thoughts were all in my mind as I started my search for what my new companions would be. I also wanted a beautiful dog. I spent a lot of time what makes a beautiful dog. Its always expression, high set ears, breed standard to some degree and a certain charisma that comes with a confident dog that is secure and well loved.. Its difficult to put all the thoughts that I have in my head down on paper, but its easiest to say that we all know a beautiful great dog when we see one. You don’t need to be an expert. You see him walking down the street. He will always stop people in their tracts and we will turn to look and watch him go. They are creatures of amazing grace and beauty. A beautiful well-trained dog is a joy for all his families’ life and that leads easily into 15 years. That is such an amazing length of time.
I often watch the show “dog whisper” . Cesar has a lot of great basic ideas and skills. Folks on TV are amazed that he has a Pack of 19 or dogs that all behave well. He points out that they are all spayed and neutered. He brings out a critical point. Families just do not realize how dangerous a dog can be, if that dog chooses to be dangerous. Labs are 90 to 100 pounds of pure muscle. If they seriously want to hurt or injure, they easily can. They can kill another animal in a few seconds with just a snap of the neck. I have been around difficult animals for the past 30 years. I have been injured and in and out of hospitals due to animal injuries. Mistakes are often physically costly and painful. A dogs temperament must be the primary emphasis. Labrador retrievers are big dogs. I believe breeders would do the breed a huge service to remember how important a child’s safety is, when they breed. Dogs with the wrong temperament should not be used in any breeding program for a family pet. It’s that simple. At our ranch, I have 2 breeding groups. The male and his females can run together on our acreage and all are well behaved. They respect the human authority and are naturally lovable happy dogs. Caesars Pack is neutered and they all get along. I have easily 1000 pounds of labs out playing at one time. They are breeding animals and not neutered, yet they will get along and be respectful. This is how important temperament and quality of emotional stability is to me.
So when we started with our new group of pups and family members, we hit the jack pot. I used all the skill that the horses had taught me, I coupled this over the next 10 years with beauty and infused characteristics to me, to make a great family dog. The results of the dogs you see now go back almost 30 years of breeding. I have great dogs. I have great family dogs that are beautiful to look at, graceful when they move, eyes that will see straight thru to your soul, strong healthy, emotionally stable dogs.
When you call me and I ask you what you need your pet to be, I hope you will say with pride, I want a great family dog! We understand, because even a dog used to hunt, or a dog used for special needs, should be a great family dog as well. I believe it is not surprising that from our great family dog breeding program, we also have now AKC Champion hunters, and search and rescue and therapy dogs. We have dogs with amazing skills and attributes for their families. These skills developed from the dog to grow and be the dog that family needed. MY dogs will have the emotional strength to do the best that they can for their families. That is what has made them so successful in their secondary fields like hunting or therapy. I sum it all up by saying “GREAT DOGS make GREAT PUPS” and its so very true. I hope that as you read this you can easily see how this doesn’t happen overnight. I will say that I am so glad that I tried again. OUR DOGS bring us so much joy and add a depth to our lives that we treasure. I hope that as you begin your search for your Family pet, these words will assist you in finding ”your” great dog. Then your lives will be truly blessed.
Who and How
Welcome to Legacy-Labs
I am very happy to finally have a way to give you some of the thoughts and philosophy about
our dogs. It occurs to me, that although many of you have met me briefly, you might want to
know something about me. Who am I?
What qualifies me to give you my thoughts and perspective on our great dogs?
I believe we are all born with passions. As long as I can remember, mine has been animals.
My family will tell you many stories, but the one story that seems to sum it all up is about a
little girl, maybe 7 years old.
She was terribly worried about the birds in the trees that lived in the forest that surrounded our home. I remember the adults talking about the new shopping center that was about to break ground at the end of our street. I had spent years in the forest growing up. I had climbed the trees and watched the birds building nest. When I understood that construction would mean TEARING DOWN THE TREES... I was beside myself. I was only a young child, I didn't understand that it might take years to build the shopping center. I only knew that there were baby birds in the nest that I had watched the parent birds build. I had watched the nest be built, saw the eggs and I saw the baby birds. I tried to explain this to my parents, but they couldn't possibly understand how upset I was. I woke up the next morning and told them I was going to save the baby birds in the woods. My parents smiled, and said have fun. What else would you say to a 7 year old? I ran to the end of the road, and to a huge old tree where I knew the nest of baby birds were. I carefully climbed the tree, and ever so gently, took the nest from the tree. I gently placed the nest in a basket that I had brought with me. I was so excited as I had the baby birds, and in my young mind, I had saved them from a certain death. I can remember the look of shock on my parent’s face, when I showed them the nest of birds. They were so upset with me, as you can well imagine. My aunt, who was about 15 or so said, " She told you what she was going to do this morning and you told her it was OK. You didn't listen to her. She was trying to save the baby birds!" Eventually all was explained to me. The trees would be safe for many years. Construction takes “A LONG TIME" and these baby birds were safe in their nest with their parents. I had done a terrible thing taking the birds from the parents. The baby birds wouldn't survive in our home. They had to go back to the tree. I remember thinking, as I walked back to the woods, how could everything have gone so terribly wrong? Would my baby birds be ok? I climbed back up the tree and carefully put the nest back, almost exactly where it was. To this day I wonder if they made it. I believe they did. I wasn't allowed back in the woods for weeks, as my punishment. I did sneak back though, and the nest was empty. The babies were gone. They had flown away.
I tell this story, because, we are all born with passion. I believe that people wont be happy until they truly follow their hearts and develop their innate gifts, which in my case, was a love of all creatures. Now.. As we fast forward thru the years. I was a "horse crazy" teenager. I was always late coming home to dinner, as I would wait until my neighbors horses would come up from pasture and I would swing up on them bareback and ride them as they ran away. The hard part was getting off while they were running. I never new or cared if the horses were trained. I brought home all strays. I ran away from home when I was about 9 years old. For at lease 2 hours (smile), because my parents wouldn't let me keep another stray dog I had brought home. I was so upset because they didn't even know I had ran away. So you have to admit.. this is not just entirely normal behavior! Eventually and somewhat sadly, I did grow up and become more "normal". I finished high school, was accepted into "THE UNIVERSITY" of Texas and graduated from college. I seemed to excel in school in genetics and biology. YET-there was no longer any more time for my animal concerns.
When I was in my 20's, my husband and I moved to Sunnyvale Texas. Sunnyvale is a wonderful area! It’s the country in the middle of the city! There were horses, and barns and chickens that laid eggs. And suddenly-all that passion I had as a child growing up, came pouring back to me in waves. We had a new home in a small development. I loved our new house. And at the end of the road on the very street we lived, was open pastures and horses and land and trees! I think at that point. I realized I was missing something terribly important.
I remember waking up on a certain morning, sitting up in bed, thinking" I can have a horse". With that thought, there was no turning back. I had never owned a horse. I had no experience with a horse. Couldn't halter a horse. REALLY I KNEW NOTHING of horses. I had a horse within a week: ) With my horse, came the freedom to explore my love of animals. We lived in Sunnyvale for a few years and had our children, a lovely daughter and son. One morning. I woke up and said, “We all need land. We need room. We need a home with enough facility to enjoy the animals. And so we moved!
WE moved to Forney Texas. We have now been here over 25 years in the same home and ranch that many of you have now visited. The one horse became 40. Over the years, I learned to show and train our Arabian horses to the national level. We earned more national titles that I can count. I trained Arabian horses for years professionally. I hauled horses and trained their riders to become some of the top riders in the country. I learned a LOT about horses. I learned about their reflexes, their strengths, and their thoughts. I learned that although I enjoy all horses immensely. I really enjoyed great horses. I learned that great horses- are few and far between. I really studied what makes a horse great. Why are they different? What separates an average horse from an exceptional horse. Are they smarter? Are they prettier? What is it that makes a show judge-And different judges.. Pick the same horses over and over again. You learn to develop an eye.
Now, you know you can't travel to horse shows, without a dog. When we moved to Forney, I had decided to start raising Labrador retrievers. OH MY! It might best be said I learned how NOT to raise Labrador retrievers. I found 2 puppies, I studied bloodlines.. And I though I was ready! What a disaster! I had purchased strong hunting lines. I never asked the all important question" What do I want this dog to be and do for my family" Like so many families that I talk to. I just thought ALL DOGS were PERFECT DOGS! They are all beautiful. Surely just MY LOVE alone is all they need. With all my love, they will turn into the perfect family dog I need. BOY was I naive! At the end of 5 years, I found good homes for all my dogs. I started over. I really think this is the very first time I had FAILED at completing my goal. I failed miserably!! I was so upset and angry at myself! Why didn't I use the trained eye that I had developed over the years with horses and apply the knowledge to the dogs. I was very finished with the thought of Labrador Retrievers. You learned VERY quickly with horses. If you purchased the wrong horse, it was a serious mistake. Horses like dogs, have huge issues with aggression, health issues, temperament, sensitivity, intelligence and just plain talent and common sense. I REALLY NEVER BOUGHT a horse with issues, unless I was confident I could re- school it. EVEN then, you learn to be very careful. Horses can kill you. What do you do if you have a "Bad horse" ? There is no one that wants it. There is no shelter for horses. Horses are expensive to keep, extremely labor intensive. A bad horse buy is something you will live with for a VERY LONG TIME! You simply can't find it a new home. This was very important knowledge! I had learned these lessons from the best and yet. It never occurred to me that dogs were very similar. I had become the child in the forest. Once again, I was saving the baby birds-For all the right reasons, but with potentially disastrous results.
There are great breeders and then there are terrible breeders. If a bad breeder knows his kennel is full of a terminal disease…lets use distemper as an example, where do you think he takes those cute puppies too? He knows it will take a few weeks for symptoms to develop, he doesn’t want to pay to have these puppies euthanized, and he can’t afford the care. He takes all the puppies to different shelters in the area, for the expense to be born by the public. Unknowing families adopt these puppies not knowing they are caring potentially fatal and highly contagious illness. The results are heartbreaking. Thousands of dollars spent, trying to save the puppy and ,the family is devastated by the loss of there newly adopted pet. Again, not all situations are like this, but as out economy tightens, and all struggle to make ends meet, this scenario is more common now that it ever was in the past. These are the possible problems you could face. Are you able to handle these situations? Can you deal with an animal that has emotional issues or health issues? Do you have the experience to understand all that is involved?
As we begin a brand NEW YEAR, 2015.. I love to think back over the year. What did I accomplish with my animal goals. Did I meet them or exceed them? I often walk thru my ranch asking if there is more I can do for them. In the horse world we call it being BARN BLIND. If you think you have the best there is , and no way to improve, then you are truly barn blind. That is why I wanted to start this blog. There is so much going on in the animal world. And really, so few of us keep up with the updates. There are so many issues that we as breeders don’t talk about and then there are issues that we talk to death about! Many of these issues I will talk about in a later post. I am truly saddened to feel the need to discuss some of the negatives of possible pet ownership, but in discussing all issues openly and honestly, we can hope to be proud of this years accomplishments when reflect back next year. Now I bring you back to the little girl in the tree, trying to save the baby birds. Do we learn from our mistakes? How do you restart and identify what you personally want from your animals? Once you, as breeder have identified what qualities you don’t want, It becomes a little easier to narrow down the qualities that you absolutely must have.