In 2012 I found my way to Puppy Guides of Snohomish County and in December I was given puppy #6 to raise. Since then I've raised puppies 6,7,8,9, and 10 with Puppy Guides and have become a co-leader of the group.
I'm under no illusion that I'm the best puppy raiser ever. Or even that I'm an extraordinary handler. I have been fortunate to work with the most incredible and talented leader I know and she is able to read dogs and handle them with astounding success. All this is to set up my credentials so you know I've been around the block a little when I tell you: I HATE THE NUMBERS GAME.
Granted. I'm very proud of the fact that I've raised 10 puppies. However, in puppy raiser world it has somehow became ok to engage in puppy raiser shaming. Not direct shaming, but more bragging that makes someone else feel inadequate. No one would ever intentionally do it...raisers are generally some of the most caring, kind, selfless people I know. But I've started noticing comments from people on social media.
"starter puppies don't count"
"oh...well you're co-raising"My favorite (and by "favorite" I mean I hate it) question is
"how many of your dogs have made it?"What do you mean by that? If you mean how many have graduated as guides, I'd have to think about it. But here's my question.....why does it matter? With the exception of the people who are genuinely curious about statistics, the goal is to see if the question asker has had more "successful" dogs than the person they're asking. My answer to that question is "all of them!" Every single one of my puppies have become happy dogs. To me, that's success. You want to talk about how many guides I've had? Maybe to judge my raising abilities? I can tell you, you are definitely a better raiser than me based on the numbers. In the past 5 dogs I've had it all.
Maybe I'd feel differently if my numbers looked better. But hey, I've learned a lot from my crazy puppies. Maybe #11 will teach me something new.